Yes! This is in fact the first step to undertake when starting to write the proposal. There are over 250,000 donor agencies in the world and most of them have very specific criteria for what types of organizations they fund. If a proposal on land rights in Nepal is sent to a donor who only funds maternal health projects or a donor who only funds projects in Africa, then the proposal will be automatically rejected, no matter how great the proposal.
Organizations should conduct proper research to understand what the donor is looking for before applying. Thematic area, geographic range, typical grant size, type of support, etc. are all important factors to consider when determining prioritizing which donors to approach. Do not waste time sending out mass proposals.
In addition, research the application guidelines of the donor. Find out if there is a format the proposal must follow or a deadline for submission of the proposal.
Can I use the same proposal multiple times?
Each project, NGO, donor, etc. is unique. Since a proposal is directly linked to these things, each proposal should be unique as well. It is perfectly reasonable to use an old proposal as a template or base from which to make edits and changes, however these changes should be significant. It is not recommended to plagiarize past proposals or send the same proposal out multiple times with just a few words changed. Even when seeking funds from different donors for the same project, each donor will have their own preferences and application procedures that each proposal should follow.
How do I start writing a proposal?
Do not start writing a proposal with just a blank page. Prior to the writing stage, a lot of research must have been done. Research should identify a problem, the solution to the problem, and the steps in applying the solution. Research on the background of the problem, specific location and beneficiaries, as well as similar programs implemented before, are all important pieces which should be at hand while drafting the proposal. Additionally, it is very helpful to have a list of potential donors interested in the project area the proposal should be personalized to. It is also good to go through internal documents on the project, budgets or marketing materials for the NGO which may be included in the proposal.
Take all the above information and create an outline or draft of the proposal. Many experts also recommend creating a logframe at this stage as a basic flow of how the project is going to work. Once the problem and solution are both thoroughly understood and all the background research is ready, the challenge will not be in writing the proposal but in presenting the proposal in a way donors will understand and approve.