Topic 2: Writing an informative concept note

A concept note serves as a brief document outlining the core elements of your project, providing a snapshot of your proposed initiative to potential funders. It is often preferred by donors over complete proposals as it offers a concise overview and allows them to quickly evaluate whether their interests and plans align with yours.

The purpose of a concept note is to help the funder assess your program and determine its fit with their priorities. While many funding agencies do not have a standard template or required format for concept notes, it’s crucial to ensure that you use the correct template if provided.

Benefits for Your Organisation:

  • Feedback and alignment: A concept note allows you to receive feedback from the funder, ensuring that you are on the right track and that your project aligns with their goals and criteria.
  • Organisation of thoughts: It forces you to organise your thoughts, plans, materials, and information cohesively, helping you articulate your project’s objectives and strategies effectively.
  • Practical design: Moving beyond theory, a concept note delves into the practical mechanics of program design, outlining how your project will be implemented and what outcomes you aim to achieve.
  • Avoid overwhelming funders: By providing a concise overview, a concept note avoids overwhelming potential funders while still building interest in your project.

Standard contents of a Concept Note:

  • Name and contact information for your organisation
  • Title of proposed project
  • Context: Brief background information on the issue or problem your project aims to address
  • Rationale for the Proposed Project: Explanation of why the project is necessary and timely
  • Project Goals and Objectives: Clear statement of what you aim to achieve with the project
  • Project Strategy/Activities: Overview of the activities and approaches you will use to reach your objectives
  • Expected Results: Anticipated outcomes and impacts of the project
  • Innovation: Explanation of how your project differs from other or earlier initiatives
  • Organisational background, including expertise and experience
  • Budget Estimate: Rough estimate of the financial resources required to implement the project

Preparing concept notes:

When preparing a concept note, ensure that each section is clearly articulated and concise. Focus on highlighting the most important aspects of your project and demonstrating its relevance and feasibility. By adhering to the standard contents and guidelines, you can effectively communicate the value and potential impact of your project to potential funders.