Advanced: EU Resources for Volunteering
Course Code: 0PMV3_EN
Advanced: EU Resources for Volunteering
Author/Source: IDP - Lorenzo Costantino, Gulia Costantino
Tags: Develop a successful proposal, Drafting the Proposal, Draft a sound budget
Starting: 02/09/2015 Ending: 02/09/2017
Develop a successful proposal
D.U. 1.1First steps in project development
The development of a project proposal corresponds to the Formulation phase of the Project Life Cycle.
As reported in the Basic Level of this course in EU Project Management for Volunteering, a detailed project design has to be done, including:
• Management and coordination arrangements
• Financing plan
• Cost-benefit analysis
• Risk management
• Monitoring, evaluation and audit arrangements
The preparation of the proposal has to be carried out in collaboration with partners following a detailed plan that outlines the type of work, how it will be organised, timing, budget, roles and responsibilities of the various partners. In addition the plan must also answer the following questions, essential to the proper development of a project proposal:
• WHO does WHAT and WHEN?
• WHO checks the quality of the proposal?
• WHAT documents to fill-in and attach to the proposal?
• WHAT application form?
• WHO signs the documents?
• WHAT are the submission procedures?
Planning is the basis for managing and consequently of monitoring the project from the inside (by the project partners) as well as from the outside (by evaluators).
The objectives of the project proposal answer to one question: why are we undertaking this project?
Define goals referring to the context of European policies. Keep in mind that objectives are usually divided into two categories in the application forms:
• General objective
The objective in the long term beyond the duration of the project. Normally indicated by the following verbs: to contribute, improve, enhance, facilitate, implement ...
• Specific objectives
Specific objectives are to be achieved during the project.
In order to develop a successful project proposal make sure that the objectives are realistic and their achievement is verifiable within the project since progress of the project will be measured against performance indicators both internally (i.e. by project partners) and externally (i.e. by the funding agency).
Results are what we are going to achieve during the project which may coincide with the deliverables of the project. Deliverables are various outputs produced in the course of the project. A deliverable can be the explanation of a result, a report on a specific activity, a prototype, etc.
Results can be:
• Tangible: prototype platform, software, publications, reports
• Intangible: for example a proven added value
In EU projects results serve to quantify and qualify the project and are therefore essential in a successful proposal.
In simple terms: who does what?
The project proposal has to follow a detailed plan and has to be developed in collaboration with all the partners in the consortium.
Each partner has to have a clearly defined role and project results need to be connected to partners. The project will be carried out by the consortium and all the responsibilities are shared: this helps to avoid possible project dysfunctions.
D.U 1.2 Work Breakdown Structure
Work Packages and Tasks
In project management, a Work Breakdown Structure (WBS)is a deliverable-oriented breakdown of a project into smaller components. The breakdown of activities in sub-activities allows their management and organisation in a more efficient way.
The project is divided into Work Packages (WP), considering a WP for each main outcome of the project. The structure and number of WPs may vary depending on the complexity of the project and the division of roles and responsibilities.
Each WP contains:
• The description of the objectives
• The content of the work, which can be further divided into sub activities called Tasks
• The expected results
• The responsibilities of the various partners in performing the work
While the features of WPs are:
• Homogeneous activities of each WP
• Similar scale between WPs
• Clearly defined objectives for each WP
• Highlight contribution to the objectives of the project
• Relations with other WP
Please find below an example of a Work Package
A progressively increasing number is given to WPs and to the tasks forming each WP as from the figure. Also, the number of deliverables is a function of the number of Tasks included in the WP: each Task produces a Deliverable. The structure of all the WPs of the project form the Work Breakdown Structure.
Milestones are important control points in the development of a project. For example, a milestone may occur when a major result has been achieved, and if its successful attainment is required for the next phase of work. Another example would be a point when the consortium must decide which of several technologies to adopt for further development. Other examples of milestones can be: the signing of a contract, the adoption of guidelines, the end of the tests of a plant.
The Gantt chart is a bar chart illustrating a project schedule mainly used in project management. Gantt charts illustrate the start and finish dates of the activities within a project as indicated by the Work Breakdown Structure.
The Gantt chart is constructed from a horizontal axis - representing the total duration of the project, divided in days, weeks or months - and a vertical axis – representing the tasks or activities making up the project.
Find below an example of a Gantt Chart:
Drafting the Proposal
D.U. 2.1 Structure and Approach
Before drafting the project proposal a deep analysis of the following documents is required:
- Call for proposals
- Guide for Applicants/Programme Guide: provides detailed information the procedures of submission, eligible costs and categories, financial conditions, evaluation criteria
- Application form: note that application forms vary from one programme to another
- Regulation establishing the funding programme
The Application Form is the template to be completed when submitting a project proposal under a EU funding programme. Be aware that each programme and each sub-programme has its own dedicated application form. So before completing all its sections, check that you are using the right form.
The Application Form is usually composed of more than one section to give to the evaluator the whole picture of the project. For example, the following ones are the sections composing the Application form for Cooperation for Innovation and the Exchange of Good Practices, Strategic Partnerships for Higher Education under Erasmus+ programme:
• General Information
• Participating organizations
• Description of the project
Application Forms are usually structured along three main sections:
1. Formal Part / administrative data
2. Description of the project
How to proceed? Work in a parallel and coordinated way taking care of the administrative part and the preparation of the project (description of the content and budget) at the same time.
The first section of the form is usually the formal part in which insert administrative data, including:
• Summary Information and administrative data describing the applicant and the participating organisations (partners)
• Company name
• Legal status
• Headquarters address
• Name of the responsible person for the action
• Name of the legal representative
• Summary of the main goals and mission of the organisation
• Grants previously received from the EU or other institutions
• Financial capacity of the applicant (financial statement)
• Technical capacity of the applicant (CV)
• Certify the previous experience in managing EU funded projects
The composition of the descriptive section of the application form may vary substantially from one programme to the other. However it has some constant elements considered essential in the project:
• General and specific objectives and priorities of the project
• Target group (number and type of persons to whom the project is directed)
• Macro-activities’ division (Work Packages) and planned activities
• Calendar (timetable)
• Management structure of the project
• Identifiable and measurable results
The definition of the budget is a crucial point when preparing a project proposal. A project budget must be realistic and its definition starts after having specified expected results, activities of the project and what will be the role of the partners.
(See Module 3 dedicated to the drafting of a sound budget)
Before submitting the application you have to make sure that you have all the documents and formal data as requested.
To facilitate the administration of all the concerned documents the preparation of a checklist is highly recommended. See below, as an example, the Checklist within the Erasmus+ Form for Strategic Partnerships for higher education:
As mentioned before there is no standard application form and the documents to attach to the application are not always the same.
In this case the attachments are three:
1. the Declaration of Honour signed by the legal representative of the applicant organisation as mentioned in the application.
2. the Mandates Letters of each partner to the applicant signed by both parties (recommended).
3. the timeline for the project activities and outputs using the template provided (Gantt Chart of the project proposal).
Any project proposal should clearly justify its relevance and impact from a EU point of view; typically this can be described by making direct reference to data, policy documents and other relevant – and reliable – information.
Make references to relevant EU policies demonstrating how your project will positively contribute to the solution of a major problem. Use EU sources !
Draft a sound budget
D.U. 3.1 Budget - definition and drafting
Definition of budget
Eligible costs, also called eligible direct costs, are costs actually incurred by the beneficiary of a grant which meet all of the following criteria:
• are incurred during the lifetime of the project, with the exception of costs relating to final reports and audit certificates;
• are indicated in the estimated overall budget of the project;
• are necessary for the implementation of the project which is the subject of the grant;
• are identifiable and verifiable, in particular being recorded in the accounting records of the beneficiary and determined according to the applicable accounting standards of the country where the beneficiaries established and according to the usual cost accounting practices of the beneficiary;
• comply with the requirements of applicable tax and social legislation;
• are reasonable, justified, and comply with the principle of sound financial management, in particular regarding economy and efficiency.
For certain types of projects a flat-rate amount of the eligible direct costs of the project is eligible under indirect costs, representing the beneficiarys general administrative costs (e.g. electricity or Internet bills, cost for premises, cost of permanent staff, etc.) which can be regarded as chargeable to the project. (Source: Erasmus plus Programme Guide 2015)
Eligible costs are generally classified along predefined categories, as follows:
• Travel and subsistence
• Other costs
• General costs (overheads or indirect costs)
Each EU programme has its own specific funding rules. Nevertheless, as a general principle, the budget should be developed starting from the tasks and activities defined in the Work Breakdown Structure following a clear idea of the project and of each expenditure items.
• Staff: based on the involvement and on the activities assigned to each partner;
• Travel and subsistence: starting from the Gantt chart and calendar of activities indicate the budget from the number of meetings foreseen, their venue and the persons participating from the partner organisations;
• Equipment: depending on the financing rules of the programme, the purchase of material essential to the activities of the project can be allowed and eligible (for example the purchase of a computer);
• Sub-contracting: sub-contracting is allowed depending on the financing rules of the programmeindicating the proportions of the purchase of a specialized activity that cannot be carried out by the consortium. An example of a purchase of a service is the organisation of a meeting while of a good is the printing of project gadgets;
• Other costs: costs involved in the project but do not fit into other categories, for example the insurance expenses;
• General costs (overheads or indirect costs): each programme has its own rules concerning general costs usually indicated with a percentage of the direct costs usually 7% of the eligible direct costs.