Bureau of Population, Refugees, and Migration
January 3, 2018
1. Why does PRM issue calls for concept notes?
In FY 2015, the Bureau began soliciting concept notes during an initial first round of competition in a few pilot cases (Middle East region, research, and innovation) where a large volume of proposals was expected, or where multiple stages in the proposal submission process were expected to facilitate high quality submissions. PRM has continued the use of concept notes for select funding opportunities in various regions. PRM welcomes feedback on the use of concept notes (send to PRMNGOCoordinator@state.gov).
2. How does the concept note process differ from the usual calls for proposals?
Concept note solicitation is a two-step process. Concept notes require full and open competition and must be posted on www.Grants.gov. After reviewing concept notes, PRM will invite selected organizations to expand their submissions into full-length proposals with detailed budgets; however, this will not represent a commitment to fund the proposal. Selected organizations will have 30-60 calendar days after they are notified of their selection to complete their full proposals. PRM will then review the full proposals and make final selections for funding.
3. Is the application and registration process the same as for full-length proposals?
Applicants must follow all existing requirements for NGO applicants on Grants.gov (not SAMS Domestic). Applications that are submitted through SAMS Domestic in response to a Notice of Funding Opportunity (NOFO) for concept notes will be disqualified.
Dun and Bradstreet Data Universal Numbering System (DUNS) Number and System for Award Management (SAM):
(a) Each applicant is required to: (i) be registered in SAM before submitting its application; (ii) provide a valid DUNS number in its application; and (iii) continue to maintain an active SAM registration with current information at all times during which it has an active PRM award or an application or plan under consideration by PRM. No federal award may be made to an applicant until the applicant has complied with all applicable DUNS and SAM requirements and, if an applicant has not fully complied with the requirements by the time the PRM award is ready to be made, PRM may determine that the applicant is not qualified to receive a PRM award and use that determination as a basis for making a PRM award to another applicant.
(b) When registering with Grants.gov, organizations must designate points of contact and Authorized Organization Representatives (AORs). Organizations based outside the United States must also request and receive an NCAGE code prior to registering with SAM.gov.
(c) Applications must be submitted under the authority of the Authorized Organization Representative at the applicant organization. Having proposals submitted by agency headquarters helps to avoid possible technical problems.
(d) See PRM’s General NGO Guidelines for full details on the registration requirements.
4. Will PRM accept late submissions for concept notes?
No. As always, late applications will not be accepted.
5. What format should be used to develop concept notes?
Applicants must closely adhere to the formatting requirements in the Notice of Funding Opportunity (NOFO) instructions.
Concept notes must be no more than three pages long (excluding the budget summary), using Times New Roman, 12 point font, with one inch margins on all sides. There is no separate submission template – applicants may create their own documents as long as they include all information and conform to all formatting guidelines in the solicitation. A gender analysis is only required at the full-length proposal stage.
In general, concept notes must include the following categories:
(i) Brief problem statement, description of target population with beneficiary numbers, and vulnerability criteria used to identify beneficiaries
(ii) Project description, location, and duration
(iii) Proposed measurable outcomes and impact of the project
(iv) Summary of the organization and experience doing similar work
(v) Primary organizational point of contact
Summary budgets must be attached to the concept notes and are not included in the three-page limit. Summary budgets must include:
(i) Personnel allowances
(iv) Program equipment
(viii) Other direct costs
(ix) Indirect costs
(x) Total amount requested
Detailed budgets and budget narratives will be required at the full-length proposal stage.
To be considered for PRM funding, organizations must submit a complete application package including:
• Three-page concept note with one-page summary budget attached for the program period.
• Signed completed SF-424 (note: this document is in addition to the concept note and budget and not within the 3 page limit).
6. How will concept notes be evaluated by PRM?
Once the call for concept notes closes, PRM will convene a panel to review all submissions received on time and in the correct format. Concept notes will be evaluated against the requirements in the solicitation and the following criteria:
(i) Quality of program idea
(ii) Appropriate identification of beneficiary population, including vulnerable populations
(iii) Program feasibility/ability to achieve objectives
(iv) Organization’s experience and capacity
(v) Cost effectiveness
7. Once concept notes are reviewed, what happens at the second stage?
After reviewing concept notes, PRM will invite selected organizations to expand their submissions into full single-year (15 page) or multi-year (20 page) proposals with objectives, indicators, and detailed budgets for each year of the project. Selected organizations will have 30-60 calendar days after they are notified of their selection to complete their full proposals. Organizations may apply as partners or consortia; however, one organization must be designated as the lead applicant at both the concept note and full proposal stage. The second round, limited competition announcement will provide specific details.
Full-length proposals will be reviewed by a second panel using PRM’s standard NGO panel review procedures as detailed in PRM’s General NGO Guidelines.
First round, open competition → Apply through Grants.gov
Second round, limited competition → Apply through Grants.gov
8. Who is eligible to submit concept notes to PRM in response to calls?
Eligibility criteria will be detailed in each call for concept notes but, in general, eligible applicants are: (1) Nonprofits having a 501(c)(3) status with IRS, other than institutions of higher education; (2) Nonprofits without 501(c)(3) status with IRS, other than institutions of higher education; and (3) International Organizations.
International multilateral organizations, such as United Nations agencies, should not submit concept notes through Grants.gov in response to a Notice of Funding Opportunity made by PRM. Multilateral organizations that are seeking funding for programs or appeals should contact the relevant PRM Program Officer listed in the NOFO on or before the closing date of the funding announcement.