When you write an proposal for project funding, you always have to explain who the project beneficiaries are. But what exactly does this mean? And why does your donor want to know this? In this article, we explain all you need to know about beneficiaries.
The project beneficiaries also called the target group or the target beneficiaries of your project, are those who will benefit from your project. They are the people whose circumstances you want to change by implementing your idea. They can be affected directly or indirectly by the project.
While beneficiaries are not typically listed in an overview parts of the proposal, information about the beneficiaries is actually very important in your proposal. This is because helping beneficiaries is the number one reason donors are willing to give money. Information about and references to beneficiaries should be dispersed throughout the entire proposal. This helps the donor to understand your project, see the importance you place on helping others, connect emotionally with the project and people, and finally decide if they support your plan. For these reasons, you should explain not only the number of beneficiaries you serve but also who they are and what challenges they face. In particular, you should directly state if your target group includes vulnerable groups of people, i.e. children, women, minorities, etc.
What is the Difference between Direct and Indirect Beneficiaries?
To accurately explain your project impact, you need to consider everyone who may benefit from the project. Here we explain the difference between those who benefit directly and indirectly.
A direct beneficiary, sometimes called a primary beneficiary, is someone who is directly involved with your project and benefits from it. Depending on your project this could be people who participated in your training, students of the school you built or women who received livestock. The important thing is that the direct beneficiaries are connected with the project. Since they are so closely intertwined with the project, direct beneficiaries should be easy to count and describe.
A indirect beneficiary, sometimes called a secondary beneficiary, is someone who is not directly connected with the project, but will still benefit from it. This could be other members of the community or from the area or family members of the participants. Most projects are not planned around indirect beneficiaries, and so they are more difficult to describe precisely.
Here are some examples to make the distinction more clear:
- Your project builds toilets for 20 individual households. The 20 families that receive toilets are the direct beneficiaries. The entire community is the indirect beneficiary, as the general hygienic conditions in the village improve.
- 50 farmers learn how to grow trees in a soil erosion-prone area. These 50 farmers are the direct beneficiaries of the project. Communities living downhill are the indirect beneficiaries, as their fields and water supplies are also affected by the erosion.
- You give out sewing machines to 15 women and train them in sewing. These 15 women are the direct beneficiaries of your project. Their families are the indirect beneficiaries, as the extra income the women will earn will benefit them as well.
Can beneficiaries only be people?
Most donors will say beneficiaries must be living people – plants, animals, or the land itself are not included.
The goal of some projects may be to conserve the rain-forest, find homes for street dogs, preserve cultural heritage sites, remove plastic waste from oceans, save wild tigers, etc. It may seem like no humans benefit from these projects – in fact, some may appear to directly hinder human development. However, even in these projects, humans do benefit. This may be from preserving cultural ties to the land, increasing human health, and happiness, preserving an ecosystem and food chain that includes humans, building future research opportunities, increasing economic possibilities, etc.