Before developing your program idea into a concept note, it is worthwhile to invest time and energy into conducting proper research. Research plays an important role in enriching your concept note and brings depth to your writing too. Typically, you might need to put in some research on the following aspects:
- Needs assessment: It would mean using primary and secondary research to build the context, to define the problem and to establish the need for the solution that your program is proposing. You may already have this data with you based on your previous work or pilot projects, but it is good to put your organizational data into a larger perspective too. So make sure you spend some time doing this background research to enrich your concept note.
- Donor research: Detailed research about your prospects is crucial. It enables you to understand the priorities of the donors and sets you up for the concept note application process. Conduct this research in a strategic manner- to assess their funding cycles, funding and shortlisting criteria, past and current projects and funding history, their organizational structures and board structures, and other relevant information that you can get. This can help you in assessing whether you tick all the boxes or not, what you can do to align your project concept with their priorities, and also in the application process.
- Best practices and domain knowledge: You can take your concept note a notch higher if you learn from the best practices in similar contexts and domains from across the world.