What's a Concept Paper and How to Write It?

What Is a Concept Paper?

A concept paper is a summary of project or issue which reflects the experience, interests and expertise of the organization or writer. Generally, a concept paper serves for providing an in-depth discussion for a topic which the writer holds a strong position with, often aiming at getting funding for the project.

The terms "proposal" and "concept paper" are usually used interchangeably because they could be used for the same function. You can also use the concept paper as an instructional tool developed from extensive research or committee input. It could also be an outcome from a current project. Besides providing guidance for the implementation to a program, concept papers could also include philosophies, best practices and other relevant issues.

How to Write a Concept Paper?

  • Acknowledge the sponsoring organization's role in the project. You should demonstrate by stating the nature of the involvement of the public or private organization in the project.
  • Describe your organization or team. Explain what the core objective is for your project.
  • Identify the problem. The reason why funders read your concept paper is because of their shared interests regarding the problem. So describe what the core issue is, explain it in details in order to convey your expertise and background for the issue.
  • Use an assessment of the methods previously applied. You could include a report for the past successes on similar projects.
  • Explain how to meet the needs. Give the service, program or product a description using concise and clear language. Make sure the readers will understand the language easily and avoid the use of technical language if the audience is non-technical.
  • Make an Outline for the Objective You Intended. The solution you have could save money, benefit advance learning or solve health issues, so make sure to include the quantitative details.
  • List all the necessary resources for offering the services. You could include the materials for building a product, or what type of personnel is required for providing the services. By providing a detailed list, you can demonstrate your readiness for providing the service or product.
  • Establish the timeline for delivering the services. Explain the timeframe needed for the product to be delivered, and services to be managed for the project. Your timeline should be efficient yet realistic.
  • Specify how much fund you request. You can research to find out about the budget amount that is available from your funding organization. You do not want to ask for an amount that is not realistic.
  • Describe the outcome to summarize your concept paper. Use a few sentences to close your paper and ensure that the sponsoring organization will meet the objectives.
  • Don't forget to include your contact information. Provide your name, website address, phone number, email address and physical address.