Projects and the funding for projects can take many different forms, depending on the context, the organizational structure, and strategy of the organization. While there may be different mechanisms in which projects are developed and funded, the framework from which we approach projects remains the same.
An international NGO may run a program and have several different local, implementing partners conducting the activities and doing the work that contributes to an overall programmatic goal. Frequently these programs are called projects, but in all reality, each implementing partner component could potentially be considered a project itself.
Example: An INGO is implementing a multi-sector program in a post-conflict environment, seeking to provide the targeted communities with improved access to basic services. The INGO is working with 4 implementing partners, each working on a specific sector: protection, WASH, food distribution, and shelter. Each of these sector components can be considered a project and have specific objectives that will lead to the programmatic outcome of improving the access of basic services to the targeted communities.
Some organizations may have multiple funding streams that allow a certain level of flexibility when it comes to identifying and implementing projects. Stand-alone projects are usually
funded by the organization through these alternative forms of (unrestricted) funding. Some examples may include:
• The NGO has a fair-trade store at a local shopping mall to sell handicraft products made by artisans who live in the community.
• The NGO has fundraising events that provide a source of income to pursue stand-alone projects.
Example: A group of artisans that provide products to the store needs financial training to better
manage their cash flow, financial reserve, and profits. This project doesn’t fit neatly within any
specific program at this point and therefore, stands alone.
From the profits the store is able to provide, the NGO decides to run a one-year stand-alone
project that will develop a financial brochure based on the artisans’ specific needs and context.
The output and outcome of this stand-alone project might be helpful for other projects or programs in the future. But, while designing, planning, implementing, and closing this project, its
goal was simply to attend the artisans need – with no relation to other initiatives.
In most cases, grant projects will be very focused and fall under a specific topic outlined by the
donor. Grants may come from INGOs, governmental agencies, foundations, or private donors.
Example: A local CBO receives a grant to design and implement an education project for their
community, providing after-school support to students who are falling behind in their class work.
The CBO is responsible for identifying, designing, planning, and implementing the project
intervention. Essentially, the CBO is responsible for the project from start to finish.
Projects under programs
An organization will likely have several programs running at any given time, each of which ought to have a specific program outcome. Under the umbrella of each program, several project interventions will be designed and implemented according to the program outcome.
Example: An INGO has a Gender-Based Violence (GBV) Advocacy and Awareness program with the outcome of increasing the awareness of the community on the root causes of GBV. One of the
projects under this program may be to conduct an awareness session for local community leaders
on the effects of GBV on the community. Another project under this program may be conducting
an advocacy campaign to lawmakers with the focus of changing policies at the national level.
Together, all of these project outcomes will become outputs at the program level and work
toward achieving a programmatic level outcome.