Call for proposals & terms of reference
This is a subsection of the fundraising lexicon developed as part of the GFMD MediaDev Fundraising Guide.
Calls for proposals are often termed as “open calls”, meaning that they are effectively open for all eligible organisations to apply.
They are distinct from calls which have already been through a short-listing process and are, therefore, only open to a pre-selected group of applicants. In addition, some donors use the term “open calls” to describe grant programmes which are continuously open – i.e. that do not have submission deadlines and accept applications as long as funds are available.
The idea is to ensure that global budgets can be properly spread across core priorities.
Effectively, applicants need to demonstrate that they have the resources, experience and methodologies needed to achieve the project’s goals as well as a deep understanding of the operating environment and context in which the project will unfold.
The financial offer should also be competitive but this is not simply a question of undercutting the rival consortia. Usually, the scoring matrix is weighted in favour of the technical offer, so a very strong proposal can win a tender, even if the financial offer is not the lowest of those submitted.
ToRs vary enormously in the level of detail presented, ranging from just a few lines to dozens of pages.
In the case of two-stage competitive tenders, this document may be published only after the applicants have been short-listed.