Appendix II: Proposal Guide

Suggested information to include in a full proposal.

Proposal Information

  • Proposal title

  • Requested funding amount in USD

  • Project term in whole months e.g. 3, 6, 12, or 24

  • Legal name (This would be the name of the person or registered organization receiving funds from OTF)

  • Commonly used name (This would be the name of the person or registered organization receiving funds from OTF)

  • Primary point of contact (The person responsible for the project and support, if different from above)

  • Primary point of contact’s e-mail address and phone

  • Address of the individual or organization including city, providence/state, postal code, and country

This should be a concise statement explaining what this proposal is for, its key goal(s), and target audience(s). Comparable to an executive summary or abstract, this section should only be a few sentences long, keeping a relatively high level vantage point, without jargon, and written with a broad audience in mind.

Describe the relevant political, economic, or social environment as it affects freedom of expression in the country or region that your project addresses. Identify the needs or problems that exist and explain how your project will make an impact as it addresses those challenges. Provide a synopsis of the proposed project goals, describe what is novel/revolutionary, and include answers to the following questions:

  • What is the problem you hope to address?

  • How is it done today? And, what are the limitations?

  • What are you trying to do, using as little jargon as possible?

  • What challenges will you confront during this effort?

  • Who will care and what will the positive effect be if you are successful?

Includes a deep technical description (if appropriate). Outline and address technical challenges inherent in the approach and possible solutions for overcoming potential problems. Discuss mitigation of technical risk. This section should demonstrate a deep understanding of the technical challenges and present a credible (even if risky) plan to achieve the effort’s goal. As applicable, this section should answer the following combination of Heilmeier and Internet freedom questions for each proposed capability/technology:

  • What are you trying to do? Articulate your objectives technically and succinctly.

  • Explain what is new in the approach and why will it succeed?

  • Describe how the proposed effort uniquely advances Internet Freedom and will ultimately assist freedom of speech and expression

  • Describe how the proposed effort increases or decreases censorship and where new censorship could occur because of this effort?

  • Is the solution buying tactical breathing space for existing problems or driving toward convergence by changing the playing field?

  • If the solution buys tactical breathing space, explain in a substantive way how the maximal amount of breathing space is gained for the minimal cost.

  • If the solution drives toward convergence describe how the solution radically alters the landscape in ways to negate traditional adversary censorship approaches/efforts.

  • How does this solution incentivize the adversary? If the solution were deployed, how might the adversary use the solution to further their own goals?

  • What are potential unintended consequences of the proposed solution?

  • What is the asymmetry for this solution? Given an attacker and defender of the proposal, explain which role is more advantageous (effort, cost, time, etc.) and why? Explain briefly for short, medium and long‐term strategies for both the attacker and defender point of view.

  • If you were to have to defeat your own effort, how would you go about it? (Note: it is perfectly acceptable to identify deficiencies in the effort. It is not acceptable to believe that there are none.) Who could benefit from this technology?

  • Be specific and cite actual use cases.

State the specific objectives you hope to achieve through the proposed activities. In many situations, an objective is similar to a milestone. The objectives should address the specific needs or problems identified in earlier sections. Often, one to five objectives are sufficient. In most cases, OTF pays projects on completion of an objective.

This section should demonstrate a deep understanding of each objective, its challenges, and introduce a credible (even if risky) plan to achieve the objective. If the objective is technical, outline and address technical challenges inherent in the approach, possible solutions for overcoming potential problems, and discuss mitigation of technical risk.

Each objective should be specific, measurable, attainable, relevant and time-bound (S.M.A.R.T.): reasonably measurable, and therefore capable of being evaluated; limited in scope and time; and identify specifically what will be achieved with the funds requested for the particular project. Also, be sure to distinguish objectives from activities. For example, “to hold a workshop” is a proposed activity while “determine the online safety awareness and literacy of the population” is an objective.

Suggested Format

Objective 1

  • Paragraphs and/or bullet points

Objective 2

  • Paragraphs and/or bullet points

Objective 3

  • Paragraphs and/or bullet points

Describe the planned activities of your project i.e. description and name, type (e.g. application version, video, website, report), event (e.g. code sprint, workshop, training), planned approach, what does accomplishment look like, duration, and associated objective. If the project requires funding from more than one source, please describe any other funding you have obtained, or hope to obtain.

If the project activity includes an events, provide the following information:

  • duration (number of days or hours per workshop or seminar)

  • planned topics and formats (lectures, discussions, brainstorming, role-playing, code sprints, hack-a-thons etc.)

  • number and profile of expected participants, speakers, and trainers

If the project includes code, application(s), publication, or website(s), please describe:

  • philosophy and purpose

  • how content will be created (in-house, outside contributors, translation, re-printing, etc)

  • target audience(s) and mechanisms for developer, reader, and/or user feedback

  • expected circulation or download numbers and distribution or usage numbers

  • permissive or non-permission license for usage

  • for sale or without charge

  • length and frequency of each new update, issue, or new posting

Suggested Format

Objective 1

Activity 1

  • Paragraphs and/or bullet points

Activity 2

  • Paragraphs and/or bullet points

Activity 3

  • Paragraphs and/or bullet points

Rationale for the proposal cost should provide a detailed breakout of how the money will be spent and how prices and rates were determined. Provide labor costs, miscellaneous expenses, materials, hardware, software, required to complete activities. Note, OTF pays on completion of activities and deliverables.

OTF may ask the proposer to justify listed rates by providing examples of equivalent rates for equivalent talent, past commercial or government rates, or previously approved rates.

Please list all materials, supplies, equipment, and software. OTF may request as an attachment at least one quote from a vendor for any equipment and software requested in the proposal.

Suggested Format

Objective 1 - $16,000

Activity 1.1 - $6,000

  • Labor, Software Developer, 5d - $4,000

  • Hardware, Spectrum analyzer, 1qty - $2,000

Activity 1.2 - $10,000

  • Travel, 5 participantsSoftware Developer, 5d - $9,000

  • Venue, Spectrum analyzer, 1qty - $1,000

Describe how the project is going to maintain its operations, services and benefits beyond the proposed timeline and OTF funded effort. What are the proposer’s medium-term to long-term goals? What is the proposer’s vision and support strategy? How is the proposer going to ensure the work is not lost beyond this support?

Cost sharing and/or matching is not required but will be carefully considered – most likely positively. Please provide a list of the supporters, whether the funding is still active or proposed, the level of support you received, type of support i.e. grant, contract, service license and a short description of the projects being funded. Indicate whether this support is monetary or in-kind, domestic or foreign. Also, provide the names and contact information for any other funding organizations to which this proposal is also being submitted. Of specific importance, indicate if you have received funding from other government or government funded organizations, in particular RFA, the BBG, Department of State and/or USAID.

Describe your organization or individual’s qualifications for this particular project, including its history and past work. If appropriate, provide information about its mission, size, geographical reach, professional, and social character, and registration or incorporation status, including date. Identify the key individuals, whether paid staff or volunteers, who will be in charge of carrying out the proposed project and describe their most relevant qualifications, biographies, and links to resumes/CVs.

Please provide names and contact information for two or more individuals who know you or the organization’s work or the work of its key staff and volunteers.

Please include information on:

  • What other projects address similar problems?

  • How do these projects relate to this project?

  • How do these projects complement this project?

  • Are any of these projects competitive? If so how?

  • How do these other projects compare to this project i.e direction, philosophy/values, and features?

Identify related current and/or future involvement and interactions with the Internet freedom community. This includes Internet freedom, human rights, ICT, information security, or cyber security research efforts, products, reports, tools, etc. that have been contributed to or presented publicly at conferences, online, or that have been adopted to widespread use in this broad community. Provide brief descriptions and the dates of release or disclosure.

Please include information on:

  • Will the project have a measurable set of evaluation criteria and milestone metrics against results?

  • Are these metrics both quantitative and qualitative? If no, why not?

  • How difficult will an assessment of success or failure be?

  • What metrics will the project use to demonstrate success or failure?

  • Will these metrics be made publicly available?

  • How frequently will these metrics be updated?