The Request for Proposal is issued by the funder with a specific purpose in mind. The purpose for the grant is the heart of the matter. While other sections of the Request for Proposal fill you in on information that will help you contour your application to the preferences of the funder, the purpose section gives you an insight into what your application needs to reflect.

In the purpose section of the RFP, the funder will provide for potential applicants the reasons why this project or undertaking is being posted. It is at this point that an applicant must decide whether or not to pursue the opportunity. The most meaningful factor in this decision relates to the mission of your own organization. If the purpose stated by the funder is incongruous with your organizational mission, or does not seem to be aligned with your values, you are much better off not following through with the application.

One of the most glaring mistakes that are made by applicants is trying to fit their beliefs into the set of values laid out by the funder. When you try to develop a project around the values of the funder, it simply will not work. You will not truly believe that your program will actually work, and you will be prone to mistakes during the completion of the application.

In addition, you will face numerous delays throughout the process and find yourself, ultimately, challenged by the time parameters of the application.

Here is an example of the purpose of a grant:

�Bronx County has always been a provider for those less fortunate, and has instituted programs for residents to regain their status and become productive members of society. However, the number of homeless people in the Bronx has become a vexing problem to the community in recent years. We feel that these individuals need a place for food and shelter, a place where they can receive the supports they need so that they can return to normal living and make a positive contribution to their County and society.�

Next week, we shall explore another section of the RFP and its relevance to your application.