Key Actions by:

Standard 5: Early engagement with donor to inform design.

Engage donor prior to and (as possible) during project design and proposal development to encourage a manageable and realistic project scope, budget and timeline in line with donor priorities.

Respond to donor feedback and questions on the proposal promptly and professionally.

  • Why

    Pursuing a donor call for proposals is usually a highly competitive process that may extend beyond the submission of the proposal. The donor may ask for clarifications, or suggest or require revisions to the proposal. Proposals can be won or lost in the process of responding to donor feedback. CRS should treat this moment with the same seriousness as development of the proposal itself. Responding promptly, completely, and professionally to donor feedback and questions:

    • Demonstrates CRS’ responsiveness and respect for the donor’s schedule.
    • Highlights CRS’ capacity to manage in a professional and timely fashion.
    • Enhances CRS’ competitiveness in the proposal process.
  • When
    • Depending on the donor’s timeline
  • Partnership
    • Donor feedback may affect a partner’s proposed scope of work (for instance, if the donor wishes to scale part of the project up or down). Review such feedback with the partner, and work with the partner to prepare the appropriate information and response by the donor’s deadline.
    • Update partners on donor feedback, even if it does not directly affect a partner’s scope. When possible, engage partners in shaping the response to big-picture questions related to technical approach, targeting, etc.
  • When CRS is a sub-recipient
    • Respond promptly and completely to requests from the prime for input or feedback based on the issues letter or other donor feedback the prime receives.
    • Request the prime to share the issues letter or equivalent. If they are unable to share the full issues letter, request excerpts relevant to CRS.
    • Support the prime as appropriate to respond to bigger-picture questions and issues.
  • Emergency projects
    • Follow the same process in an emergency project, telescoping as needed to respond in shorter timeframes.
    • Update and engage Humanitarian Response Department (HRD) staff when responding to donor questions.