Capture the Concept

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You’ve done your research and identified areas of alignment with a potential funder. You’ve translated the relationship into a value statement. Now it is time to organize all of that work into an easy-to-understand document. It’s time to create a concept paper. Concept papers communicate important points at a glance. To do this successfully, concept papers: use a limited amount of text; use a lot of graphics; and bold main points. Be careful not to get too detailed. Focus on the value you bring and the outcomes you’ll achieve. You want to pique their interest so they’ll ask, “How?” Be prepared to tell them!

Concept papers easily communicate your value-add.

When you hand out a concept paper to a room, recipients should immediately understand who you are, what you do, and why that should be of interest to them. The most important points to communicate in a concept paper are the outcomes you will achieve and the value those outcomes will add to a funder’s mission. Concept papers should entice a potential funder to want to know more.

Communicate main points simply, while using an assortment of visual aids.

Concept papers are skimmed, not read. Someone should be able to interpret the main points of this document while you speak to them. A successful concept paper uses a limited amount of text, puts important points in bold, and employs a lot of graphics. The reader's attention should be drawn to points that declare, "This is an opportunity for you, funder!"

Click to open interactivity Call out boxes communicate short and long term outcomes.

Call out boxes communicate short and long term outcomes.

Please use the attached sample Concept Paper as a guide to begin creating your own Concept Paper.

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