Making Proposals Competitive

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General Guidelines

Organizations should expect intense competition for ECA institutional grants, but the following basic steps will help your organization submit a competitive proposal.

Solicitation Process Overview

  • Read the NOFO application instructions thoroughly, tailor your proposal to the NOFO, be specific and demonstrate your organization’s commitment to the project.
  • Review and proofread your proposal before submission. Make sure you meet all the technical requirements of the NOFO. For example, did you complete the required application forms? Is your budget in the proper format? Confirm that your proposal addresses each of the review criteria.
  • Before writing your proposal, discuss your ideas with the program officer or the embassy's public affairs section identified in the NOFO.
  • Explain how your organization will deliver the best quality program, benefiting both foreign and U.S. participants for maximum impact.
  • Demonstrate your experience and expertise, not only in managing programs, but in the relevant region(s) of the world. If you do not have the requisite experience, consider partnering with an organization that does have expertise in international exchanges.
  • Make sure your budget submission is clear, specific and adds up correctly. Follow the NOFO's guidelines on the minimum amounts of cost sharing and the maximum limits on administrative expenses.

ECA will provide details explaining why a proposal did not receive funding, which may help with future submissions.