Phase 1 Tools

Project Identification and Design ensures that project teams understand the opportunity for funding, design a project to address the proper needs of a project, create a proper logical analysis and, ultimately, design the best intervention strategy of the project.  Many donors have pre-established proposal formats but project teams can benefit from many of the tools below before that step.


Concept Paper

As the first decision gate, the concept paper is a great way to foster dialogue with key stakeholders when your project is just an idea.  It will help create buy-in with management and other internal staff.

Concept papers can vary depending on the organization and nature of the project.  The key characteristic, however, is that it is SHORT.  Just list the key points, the details will be worked out later.


Opportunity Assessment

Have a concept or hear about a grant opportunity? Just because it has been posted doesn't mean your organization should pursue it.  Take some time to fill out an Opportunity Assessment Form to see if this prospect aligns with your org's risk tolerance, is appropriate based on skill sets and capacity, whether you have the needed resources, etc.  Not only is this a great tool to assess whether you should pursue the opportunity, but it is a great way to communicate with initial stakeholders.


Needs Assessment Planning

The very first question to ask when designing a project is "What is the need that will be served in conducting this project?". Our own perspective makes an objective assessment difficult so the next question we ask ourselves is  "How can I be certain my assessment hits the 'needs' target?" A complete needs assessment is critical to your design, reduction of organizational risk and project failure and often the beginning of your collaboration with key stakeholders.


Needs assessment Template

Be sure to answer the questions of THE WHY, THE HOW, and THE WHAT of your project needs assessment.  The tool will walk you through the information you need, the number of perspectives and the assessment tools to help you plan for the required resources.


Problem / objectives Tree

MCD's favorite way to conduct a Problem Tree analysis and Objective Tree development is to gather key project stakeholders, including partners when possible, to engage in the process. Participants write their ideas on Sticky notes, which are placed on Flip Chart paper for everyone to see and analyze together. This provides opportunity for full participation for maximum learning while increasing collaboration and promoting shared understanding.