USAID Proposals

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					                                                                                                                   The Instit

USAID Proposals


The mechanisms for competition used by USAID are:
-   Requests for Applications (RFA)
-   Annual Performance Statements (APS)
-   Request for Proposals (RFP)
-   Invitation for Bids (IFB)

In plain language, these are all “calls for proposals” issued by USAID in order to
award funding to applicants on a competitive basis.

The main difference between RFAs and APSs is that APSs allow applicants more flexibility to
propose interventions which will help achieve USAID's stated regional/country strategic
objectives, whereas RFAs tend to set out in more detail the type of intervention USAID is
expecting. Perhaps due to the attractiveness of this flexibility, APSs are highly competitive,
usually more so than RFAs.

RFPs and IFBs are for competitive tendering of service delivery contracts. This is a
type of funding opportunity that organisation has not yet entered into, although it is in
the process of analysing this option.

Calls are publicly announced on the US government website 1 (, as
well as often on the relevant country Mission‟s website.


The cost application includes:
 Detailed budget (lead and all consortium members)
 Budget narrative (lead and all consortium members)
 Standard financial forms SF424 and SF424a (see Annexes 11 and 12)


No format for the detailed budget is provided by USAID, however some guidance is
often given in the solicitation document as to line items. The design of the detailed
budget spreadsheet will need to allow for the required budget summary form (SF-
424a) to be readily prepared - that means division by:
 objectives (“grant program, function or activity” columns in section B of SF-424a)
 the appropriate budget line categories (rows a-h in section B of SF-424a)
 year (section E of SF-424a)
 quarter, for the first year only (section D of SF-424a).

1PFU monitors this website on a daily basis and communicates calls to the relevant country programmes within
Organisation. "Inside" knowledge of upcoming calls often exists prior to their posting, particularly among the
development/INGO community in the relevant country.
                                                                                                   The Instit

A sample spreadsheet design with formulas and linked worksheets, which can be
used as a template, can be found in Annex 18. It is imperative that all consortium
members and partners use the same detailed budget format. This will allow the lead
agency to present the sub-grants in the overall budget as separate budget lines. The
partner and consortium members' detailed budgets will need to be submitted as part
of the cost proposal.

A budget narrative (explanatory notes) needs to accompany the calculations, for the
lead and sub-grantee budgets. USAID expects these to be very detailed.

   organisation is required to sign a Certification Regarding Terrorist Financing before
    accepting a grant from USAID. Senior programme management (PD, RD) can proceed
    with signing this, as responsibility for complying is taken at a corporate/HQ level. Please
    contact PFU if you would like to discuss further.
                                                                                                                    The Instit

Indirect Costs

Organisation may currently (FY2006/07)2 charge 12.81% of the direct costs of a proposal as
indirect costs (all direct costs except sub-grants and capital goods - see below). See also Section
5.4 below for details on how to deal with indirect costs (NICRA) on USAID budgets.

Cost Share

Cost share is the applicant's contribution of cash, goods or services to the project, in
addition to those being requested from USAID. A budget that demonstrates an
applicant's strong financial commitment to the proposed activity is an important
review criterion.

There are no standard rules from USAID on cost share requirements; each
solicitation document will specify if it is required. When it is required, the level tends
to be between 10% and 25%. If it is not a strict requirement, it is almost always
stated as desirable. Applications that include a cost share (or a higher percentage
than that stipulated) are considered much more attractive applications.

Other important points to remember about cost share:
 it may be in cash or in-kind (goods or services)
 it must come from other non-USG sources
 any of the consortium members/ partners may contribute to the overall cost-share
 expenses of a collaborating organisation with project objectives that are essential
   to the project's activities may be counted as cost share (called "project
   collaboration" cost share). This will need sufficient justification. The most
   obvious/common example of this might be national government ministries.
 expenditure of cost share must be reported on during the life of the project
 the percentage or amount of cost share is specified in the grant/co-operative
   agreement and therefore becomes a contractual obligation
 USAID requires grantees to have tracking and monitoring mechanisms in place,
   for in-kind contributions as well as cash. Cost share must be verifiable from
   grantee's records.
 if the specified level of cost share is not achieved by the end of the project, it is
   possible for USAID to request the outstanding amount be paid to them.
 cost share procedures are increasingly being audited by USAID.

      Financial reporting details are specified in the Schedule of the agreement/contract.
      Although financial reporting requirements vary somewhat from grant to grant, and
       therefore the agreement/contract must be read, most will include the following:
          Quarterly reporting
          Due dates within 30 days of the end of each quarter (this length of time can vary
           between USAID offices and personnel; the Organisation country programme should
           negotiate a reasonable time frame before the contract is signed)
          Use of standard formats, using SF 269 (Financial Status Report) and SF 272
           (Request for Advance or Reimbursement). The SF 269 includes cumulative figures,
           therefore the final report at the end of the grant is the same as the interim reports.

2   If you are reading this in a subsequent fiscal year, please ask PFU for the most up-to-date rate.
                                                                                                      The Instit

        Note that USAID requires only aggregate expenditure to be reported; however details
        by budget line will be gathered in organisation normal accounting procedures.
       Final reports usually due within 60 days of the end of the grant (again, negotiable)
       All reporting in US dollars.

   Prior approval for changes to the budget is required under 7 circumstances:
    1. To change any amount between project objectives, or to change the scope or
        objectives of the programme.
    2. To change a key person or allow a greater than 25% reduction in that person's time,
        and therefore salary charges, to the grant.
    3. To spend more than the total amount of the grant, i.e. get additional funding.
    4. To move amounts between direct and indirect costs, in either direction.
    5. To include any cost that requires prior approval under OMB A-122.
    6. To move amounts budgeted for direct payments to beneficiaries of training to any
        other type of cost.
    7. To award a sub-grant to any partner that was not budgeted for.
   Any other shifts in the budget are allowable without having to get prior approval or
    making a contract amendment.
   In some contracts, but only if specified in the Schedule, there may additionally be a
    restriction on shifts between budget lines of up to 10% of the total grant amount
    (however, this is rarely specified).
   The 'official' budget lines are those given in the Schedule, which are sometimes different
    from the detailed budget and budget summary submitted with the proposal. If you don't
    understand how USAID has massaged the submitted budget proposal to come up with
    different budget lines/figures in the Schedule, ask them before the contract is signed.

   Bank interest earned on advances (Organisation usually gets reimbursed) must be
    returned to USAID, minus $250 per account per year to cover administration costs.
   USAID will not cover foreign exchange losses. Gains do not need to be reported to

Close out
   USAID initiate a formal „close-out‟ process at the end of each funding agreement
    requesting submission of additional information:
       final expenditure report (SF 269)
       an indirect cost rate certification and audit certification relevant to the funding period
        of the award
       a final inventory of all assets over US$5,000 purchased under the award
       patent, copyright and royalty reports – if applicable
       confirmation that all funds have been requested and received
       confirmation that all reports have been submitted

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