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How we assess your proposal

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Global Affairs Canada rigorously assesses proposals before funding projects to make sure public funds are used effectively.

We assess both preliminary proposals and full proposals as a whole. We read the complete form to see how strong a proposal is.  Applicants should be as concise as possible.  There are no penalties for not filling the maximum page count of the application form.  There is no need to repeat the same information in different parts of the forms.

The assessment process for both calls and unsolicited proposals is not competitive. We do not rank the proposals received.

We look at how well a proposal responds to the assessment criteria descriptions (the statements following each assessment criteria).  For example, two projects in different sectors, both responding to their respective environmental analyses, would present very different results statements, activities, indicators, and resources.  Assessors would still look at how appropriately each of the environmental sustainability criteria descriptions is addressed in those proposals.

Based on how well a proposal responds to each of the assessment criteria, it is given an overall rating of Strong, Acceptable, Needs Improvement, Weak or Unacceptable.

We use a comparative assessment process for calls.  This is described below.

Calls for preliminary proposals assessment process

There are two stages of application and assessment in this type of call.  The first stage of the process focuses on a preliminary proposal, and the assessment is comparative.  In the second stage, full proposals are invited, received, and assessed on their own merits.

Stage 1: Comparative assessment of preliminary proposals

Once the call is closed, preliminary proposals are examined in three main steps:

  1. Eligibility check
  2. Initial merit assessment
    • We only review the preliminary proposals that pass the eligibility check in this step. We assess using the preliminary proposal assessment criteria listed below, plus any additional criteria specific to a call, as published on the call page.  The preliminary proposal is not considered in the next step if the initial assessment determines it is not strong enough, based on its own merits, for us to consider inviting a full proposal.
    • A fiduciary risk check using the financial statements submitted is part of the initial merit assessment. If the financial stability of the applicant is questionable, the preliminary proposal may not proceed for further assessment. If the applicant’s financial statements show that the applicant could experience difficulty managing the amount of funding requested, the preliminary proposal may not be further assessed. The initial calculation used is:        

      Is the (annual total revenue) equal or less than (the funding requested divided by number of years of proposed project)? This ratio is indicative of both burden on the applicant and risk for the management of Canadian taxpayers’ funds.

      The financial statements may also be examined to see if the organization holds sufficient funds to cash manage through the last 5% of their proposed project. Global Affairs Canada contribution agreements generally specify that 5% (or more) of the total contribution amount is held back at the end of the project until all project activities are complete, including final reports.
  3. Best fit analysis
    • Because we usually receive more proposals than we can fund, we identify a package of proposals at this step that – together - best meet the objectives of the call.  The strongest preliminary proposals are considered first, but are not automatically chosen. We look at how each project is designed and its strengths relative to other strong proposals.  We avoid similar or overlapping projects and try to ensure the appropriate geographic and thematic coverage to meet the call’s objectives.
    • All other things being equal, preference will be given to proposals that:
      • demonstrate innovation
      • offer a higher percentage of cost share
      • demonstrate financial support from other organizations, including private sector sources, to amplify the impact of potential funding from Global Affairs Canada for development results.

After this comparative assessment of preliminary proposals, we invite a limited number of applicants to submit full proposals.  An invitation to submit a full proposal does not guarantee funding, and preparation of a full proposal is not funded. Because we know the effort that goes into completing a full application package, we only invite those applicants with the best chances of receiving funding as a result of the call.

We do not provide applicants with detailed feedback on their preliminary proposal.  Limiting feedback on preliminary proposals enables us to respond to applicants and advance the whole process much more quickly than would otherwise be the case.

Stage 2: Full proposals assessed on their own merit

Only invited applicants proceed to the second stage of a call for preliminary proposals. Once we receive the full proposal, we assess it using the full assessment criteria listed below. Invited full proposals are assessed on their own merits - the assessment is not comparative.

An invitation to submit a full proposal does not guarantee funding will be offered.

If the full proposal submitted is not strong enough, it will be rejected.

Some variation between the preliminary proposal and the full proposal is to be expected, as more extensive consultations are undertaken and monitoring plans are developed in the preparation of the full proposal.  However, if these variations are significant, affecting the project’s alignment with the objectives of the call or its ability to complement other projects, it will be rejected.

If we invite a full proposal and it is rejected, the applicant may request detailed feedback.

One or more applicants who passed the initial assessment step but were not originally invited to submit a full proposal could be invited to submit a full proposal at a later date.  This would happen if:

  1. funding for the call was increased; or
  2. one or more of the full proposals originally invited had to be rejected.

In either case, we would decide who to invite to submit a full proposal based on the best fit analysis.

Unsolicited proposals assessment process

Your unsolicited preliminary proposal will only be assessed if:

  1. At a glance, it is clearly aligned with Canada’s Feminist International Assistance Policy and Global Affairs Canada’s priorities;
  2. Cost share is proposed; and
  3. There is programming space within Global Affairs Canada programs to accommodate the proposed project.

You will be notified if your preliminary proposal will not be assessed. Do not submit the same preliminary proposal to Global Affairs Canada more than once in the same fiscal year (April 1 to March 31).

Preliminary proposals are assessed on their own merits using the preliminary proposal assessment criteria below. As well as looking for how well the preliminary proposal responds to the assessment criteria in terms of the proposed project, Global Affairs Canada will also examine the financial statements submitted as we do in calls.

Based on the results of the initial assessment, you will receive a letter inviting, or not inviting, submission of a full proposal. While you may choose to submit a full proposal even if not invited, it is strongly recommended that you not invest time and resources in developing a full proposal unless invited, as the chances are very poor that your full proposal would be assessed or receive funding.

If you do receive an invitation to submit a full proposal, the invitation will include a full proposal form, budget table and a list of other documents to be included in your application package. When received, these materials will be assessed using the Full Assessment Criteria below.

Preliminary proposal assessment criteria

A preliminary proposal is neither a concept paper nor a fully developed proposal. We do not expect you to conduct extensive consultations to complete a preliminary proposal. That said, a preliminary proposal must be based on enough analysis (possibly including initial consultations) to be sure that, if you submit a full proposal, it will be the same project you presented in your preliminary proposal, not one that had to be significantly changed based on further consultations.

A. Rationale for the initiative

B. Gender equality

C. Human rights

D. Environmental sustainability

E. Managing for results

F. Responding to risks

G. Organization ability relevant to the initiative

Full proposal assessment criteria

Proposals are assessed as a whole. We read all of the information in the application package to assess criteria, not just the information in one section of the application form. Information should not be repeated in multiple sections of the form.

A. Rationale for the initiative

B. Gender equality

C. Human rights

D. Environmental sustainability

E. Managing for results

F. Responding to risks

G. Management of plan

H. Organization ability relevant to the initiative

I. Financial information

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