While the proposal is often thought of as the first step to receiving a grant, it is also one of the last steps in the project planning process. This means there is a lot to do before jumping right into proposal writing.
Have a project plan
Writing a proposal can be a good exercise in fleshing out project details. You should have some project details written out for internal use only which can be later re-purposed for the proposal.
The NGOs that conducted good research in the very beginning often have much higher chances of success. Research is important to make sure you understand the problem to be addressed, the local context, the potential donors, etc.
Having direct contact with a donor can be critical for any proposal’s success. However, networking can also be important for building ties in the community, with other NGOs, etc.
By conducting these three steps, you will have the majority of information you need ready to go even before you begin writing the proposal.