Here are some of the considerations and tips for preparing your application for USAID funding, or in USAID terms, preparing for a solicitation:
- First of all, go through the solicitation in-depth and detail:
Make sure you go read the solicitation in-depth and detail and make notes of the important points. Some points to be understood well in detail would be the scope of work, evaluation criteria, and eligibility criteria.
- Understand the evaluation criteria of USAID:
Review and understand the evaluation criteria and their order of importance as listed in the solicitation. Some of the criteria may include technical expertise, staffing, experience and capabilities, and past projects and successes.
- Ask questions:
Solicitations will include a point/s of contact at USAID and timelines for submitting your enquiries, if any. If any aspect is not clear, ask your questions well in time, in writing, and in a concise and clear manner.
- Demonstrate your competencies and USPs in the domain and geography:
It is important to make sure your application stands out from those of the competitors. For this, demonstrating your strengths as an organization that is expert in the domain and well equipped in terms of programmatic, financial and overall transparency, accountability and responsibility.
Some other obvious things to keep in mind are:
- Being aware of deadlines and timelines and making sure you keep track of time and submit your proposals/ applications well in time, if possible, ahead of the deadlines.
- Following solicitation/ application instructions: Each solicitation includes specific requirements and instructions for preparing your response. Prepare a checklist and keep striking them off as you complete the steps.
- Understanding of the funder: It is important to demonstrate that your organization has an understanding of USAID’s operations, goals, strategies and priorities. Review the relevant Country Development Cooperation Strategies, understand the work in your country and domain and keep up to date with its latest projects and successes.
Note: There are many resources available online with comprehensive information about working with the USAID. The best resource and the most authentic one would be: USAID itself. Here is the link where you can find the complete training and capacity building material by USAID related to its funding processes. You must also explore Funds for NGOs website for detailed resources and sample proposals as well.