• Whitney

Top Five Proposal Coordination Resources


Often I get asked by clients what the best resources are for proposal coordination. They’re looking for training for new staff, or resources to share within the organization. It can be a struggle to know what proposal coordination or proposal management training is worthwhile, when there are so many courses out there.

Training can be a difficult beast sometimes. Adult education requires a particular attention to detail and understanding of what works and what doesn’t. The trainings I’ve highlighted below vary in content and depth, but they all have something specific to offer, depending on your training needs.

1. Humentum’s USAID Proposal Development Training

Designed and often facilitated by the amazing Bea Bezmalinovic Dhebar, Humentum offers one of the most comprehensive training programs on how the U.S. Agency for International Development is organized and how to respond to USAID requests for proposals. This course will make you confident in analyzing RFAs and RFPs, proposal submission processes, setting proposal calendars, and forming proposal teams. This two-day in person training located in Washington, DC is available to members of Humentum for $790 and for non-members at $910. Online training is also offered by Humentum.

2. Foundation Center’s Proposal Writing Boot Camp

Offered multiple times per month and in a variety of cities, the Foundation Center’s proposal writing boot camp is a great overarching introduction to foundation proposals. Attracting participants from a wide range of sectors and expertise levels, this training establishes a basis of understanding competitive grants processes, from identifying prospects to developing well-organized budgets. Participants are encouraged to come with a project idea in mind, working to develop a logical model based on their own concepts, making it a very practical experience. This three-day training offered at a variety of sites in the U.S. is available for $695.

3. Shipley Associates’ Managing Federal Proposals When developing proposals for the federal government, there is no training program more in-depth than those offered by Shipley Associates. This training, geared toward experience proposal and business development professionals, is very specific to the federal acquisitions process. Participants generally cross a variety of sectors, from information technology to international development, but typically have some experience developing federal proposals. After participating, you’ll be armed with a slew of proven tools developed by Shipley which will coach you from kick-off through submission. This two-day in person workshop is offered several times per year in multiple locations in the U.S. for $1,350.

4. USAID’s Office of Foreign Disaster Assistance Proposal Guidelines Workshop Offered only once per year, the OFDA proposal guidelines workshop is the most narrowly focused trainings on this list. It is also the only training offered for free, and, as a result, tends to fill up very quickly. Participants are typically staff at international development organizations with experience working on proposals. The agency has been known to limit participants to only one per organization if the course fills up quickly. The course walks through exactly how the agency expects applicants to write and submit proposals using their in-depth guidelines. It’s a must for anyone working on OFDA proposals but would not be suited toward those who are looking for a more general proposal coordination training.

5. APMG International’s APMP Bid & Proposal Management For a more general offering, check out the long list of certified training providers highlighted on the APMP Bid & Proposal Management list. Their robust calendar may be challenging to navigate (and to view prices easily), but it offers an extremely comprehensive list of vetted training services geared at proposal management. If you’re struggling to find training available in your area, this would be a great go-to spot.

Looking at this list of resources, I can’t help thinking that there’s a persistent gap. Too often I see folks stepping into the role of proposal coordinator to support the business development team. It would be unreasonable to expect these folks – who often have distinct and separate roles – to attend a multi-day training program to learn something they only do a few times a year. I’d like to see more on-demand training and support geared toward this group.

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