This varies drastically depending on the prior experience of the organization and the type of proposal. As explained above, the proposal is one of the last steps in the project planning stage. If an organization already has all the background information prepared, taking that information and turning it into a proposal may take only a few days.
On the other hand, creating a project and a proposal from the very beginning or creating a proposal for highly technical donors such as USAID or the European Commission could potentially take months of work. Fortunately, many donors understand the difficulty involved in writing a full proposal and so often require only a short concept note in the first instance.
What is the role of the proposal in the application process?
It is important to understand that the proposal is just one step in the grant application process. What many NGOs seem to think of the proposal process:
This 3-step model is not wrong, but very simplistic and puts too much focus on the proposal as key to fundraising and implementing programs. Before working on the proposal, there is a lot of planning, discussion with beneficiaries and experts, research etc., that goes into a proposal. Proposals are very important for receiving funding from institutional donors, however it is only one of many tools needed to garner support.
A more accurate description of proposal process might look like this:
This guide will focus on the pieces that go into proposal writing, but it is also important to recognize other steps such as: research, planning and outreach which are also very important for successfully acquiring funding.