The number of applications received by the Foundation far exceeds the amount we are able to fund, which is why we do our utmost to review each proposal as thoroughly and impartially as possible based on the information provided to us. It is in an applicant’s best interest, therefore, to ensure that what they submit is in all aspects as good as it can be. We are pleased to include below some guidance that may be helpful to you in considering how your organisation might apply for an Al Madad Foundation grant.
“One of the true high points of my role is reading through applications for AMF grants- so many of the projects proposed have provided inspiration and have helped to shape the trajectory of the Foundation’s future work. We understand that crafting an effective proposal takes effort and skill which is why we take the review process seriously. By the same token, we hope that applicants understand and respect our investment of time and resources when making their decision as to whether or not to apply."
Angie Garvich, Managing Director
BEFORE YOU APPLY
1. Check you are eligible
In addition to falling within the advertised call topics, your project should also target AMF’s stated beneficial group- refugee and displaced children and young people (up to the age of 18). Applicants must be registered organisations, as AMF does not make grants to individuals.
2. Make sure your proposal is competitive
Applicants need to demonstrate why they are the ones best suited to take on this work and that their organisation is able to carry it out to the highest standard. Can your organisation demonstrate relevant experience and its ability to deliver what you propose? For example, have you been awarded funding before, and if so, for what? Have you tried to/do you intend to share your knowledge and expertise with others in the field, for example by joining professional associations, publishing papers or reports, etc? How are the practitioners involved trained/qualified to do the work?
It is also important that the proposed project will not just be covering well-tread ground but will be adding something new/answering an unaddressed question/improving on the status quo. Are other people doing similar work, and if so how is yours different? Are you familiar with existing literature/work/thinking on the issue and how has this motivated the creation of this project?
Lastly, it is vital that you demonstrate the feasibility of all aspects of your project. Do you have evidence/experience to support your approach? Is there a clear rationale? What are the potential pitfalls and how will you address these? Is the timescale realistic?
3. Get an outside view before submitting
It can be enormously helpful to discuss your proposal with a neutral party before submitting as an author can sometimes be too close to a project to clearly view its flaws. Putting themselves in the place of the reviewer can allow them to ask questions such as “is it clear?”, “is there too much technical jargon at the expense of ease of understanding?”, “is it grammatically correct and free of typos?”, etc.
A FOCUS ON INNOVATION
"We use the word 'innovation' a lot in our calls for proposals! This could mean an entirely new project, or a new element within an existing project (e.g. hiring an Art Therapist at a non-formal education centre, or starting music lessons at a school), but the innovation must be made clear. It might be helpful to think of this section of the application or concept note as your 'elevator pitch' and imagine someone basing their decision only on that part of the application. Use this space to describe what makes the project really special and a good investment for a funder."
Katharine Robinson, Director of Operations
One of the key questions we ask when reviewing an application is “is this a new direction or approach that goes beyond the 'same-old' in the field?”. The most successful applicants are clear as to the innovation element of their proposals and how this draws on their unique expertise.
Remember that a true innovation is not simply a change, but something that will significantly impact the way challenges are addressed. Before applying, you should consider things like the needs and opportunities your project will address, whether your proposal is just a direct continuation of existing work, and whether you will be making the most of recent advances in the field.
BE CLEAR ABOUT IMPACT
"In general we favour projects with a defined end-point (e.g. a vocational training course in hairdressing) or sustainable elements (e.g. training volunteer leaders to run a community singing group). So try to make these aspects as clear as you can.”
Grace Ghaleb, Director of Programmes
For us to approve a project, it must demonstrate that it will provide clear outcomes for children and/or young people, their families, the wider community, and/or the field, and that the applicant has considered how these benefits can be sustained long term or how any learning can be shared.
KEEP SAFETY AT THE FOREFRONT
We want to be confident that any project we fund will be carried out in a way that protects staff, participants, and the wider community. Applications must clearly highlight a comprehensive plan to deliver the stated activity while following best safeguarding practice and any applicable government guidelines.
While the plan does not need to be described in detail in the application itself, there should be confirmation that it will be put in place should the funding be granted, as well as a brief summary, with further details available if needed.
BE COMPREHENSIVE AND PERSUASIVE
The best applications are those that strike a balance between painting a convincing picture of the scope and impact of the proposed project while not overwhelming the reader with (often superfluous) information.
Your proposal should:
• State how your project will help to achieve AMF’s priorities
• Be easy to read and understand, and aimed at people who have specific expertise in the field as well as those who have broader experience
• Provide adequate detail so that we can understand what you’re proposing, how it will be carried out and whether it’s feasible
• Answer any questions that might reasonably be asked in reference to the proposed project
• Write in clear English and avoid technical jargon where possible, keeping abbreviations and acronyms to a minimum
• Check that you have submitted your application using the section titles, word limits and font size specified, and ensure that all spelling, grammar and punctuation are correct
BUDGET DETAIL IS IMPORTANT
We request a detailed budget in the currency of Great British Pounds (GBP) saved as one document separate from the Full Application Form. In order for your project to be eligible, the budget should include no more than 15% indirect costs Indirect costs.
Al Madad Foundation aims to engage in open and honest dialogue with prospective grantees about the costs involved in their project. Our expectation is that the prospective grantee is as passionate about stewardship as we are and that they are always evaluating and evolving to ensure that their overhead cost is the right size to operate efficiently and effectively. However, within this framework we recognise that it can be useful to have a figure in mind, and this is why we state in our Grant Application Form that in order for projects to be eligible, the budget should include no more than 15% indirect costs.
Definitions are given below to help clarify the terms used:
Direct costs are the expenses required to execute a grant that are directly attributable and can be reasonably allocated to the project (e.g. teachers’ salaries, travel expenses and educational materials). Costs that would not be incurred if the grant did not exist are often indicative of direct costs.
Indirect costs are general overhead and administration expenses that support the entire operations of a grantee and that may be shared across projects (e.g. headquarters staff expenses for work related to the project such as HR, finance and legal). Expenses that would be incurred regardless of whether the grant is funded are often indicative of indirect costs.
If your project includes a budget line for staff, please divide this by job title and state whether they will be international or locally employed. If the staff are international, please annotate your budget stating why it is not possible to employ local staff for these roles.
Please annotate any costs in your budget which might be unclear to an outside observer and any lines above £3000.
Understanding the process and outcome of our funded projects helps us to think about our work, develop new ideas, and learn through experience. For these reasons, being honest about the results of your project is very important, and details of any issues and challenges should be listed equally with what the project achieved. Evaluating the process you went through to deliver your project is as important as evaluating what your project achieved, therefore this section of your proposal should include a plan for both.
Also note that AMF creates individual reporting schedules specific to each project we fund, and uses the timeline of
achievements/outputs included in the application as a guide. It is therefore extremely important not only that your proposed timeline is realistic, but that you are prepared to submit reporting at regular/significant stages of the project.
An evaluation can be carried out yourself or by an outside party, but in either case, budget provision needs to be made at the time of submission. Things to consider could include the following:
• What kinds of information or evidence you are going to include in your evaluation
• What questions will you ask
• Will your questions be qualitative, quantitative, or both
• When and how information will be collected, and how it will be analysed
• How the results will be presented and with whom might they be shared
• How will you know if the project has succeeded and how will this be illustrated
• How will you keep on track of and avoid potential problems, and how will you adapt/change your project to accommodate them
• How will you record challenges and mistakes and use this for future learning