What is the difference between funding activity, program, tenders and grants, and contract award reports?

Firstly, why do we include all the reports on the one page?

By including information from the early, pre-tender stages of the funding lifecycle alongside active tender opportunities, and later shortlist or contract award information, the goal of the funding search page is to allow members see specific funding opportunities within the surrounding funding environment.

And now to the actual question. Many members new to development funding ask what these reports are, and what the difference is between them, here is a summary of the main differences.

The information within the Funding Activity database contains information sourced from press releases, media outlets, donor country strategy reports, operational updates and direct insights from our team based on outreach to major donors, foundations, private sector entities, media, and philanthropies. It presents information relating to decisions on funding, partnerships and initiatives, to allow members keep up to date on the the broader trends that might impact their strategic priorities, and also on new opportunities in advance of the formal bidding stage.  

A donor releases a program report before the tendering process begins. The report shares project details like background, components, total budget and possible sectors of engagement. These reports share insights on possible procurement opportunities that may arise in the future, though not all development projects require procurement procedures to be implemented. They don't get into the same level of detail that tenders do. A program report does not request proposals, and is not an opportunity that you can bid on, it aims to share the goals and scale of a project.

Note, not all funders have program reports, and not all program reports may necessarily lead to tenders being released. For example, the Swiss Development Cooperation (SDC) and the Global Affairs (GA) programs don't usually have related tenders. While EuropeAid, WB, IADB, ADB, AIIB, EBRD do define a program report as an umbrella funding mechanism from which tenders are released.

Tenders are then released under the umbrella of this program report, there may be a number of separate tenders released calling for proposals for particular segments of the project, or just one for the entire project. These notices invite prospective bidders and applicants to submit proposals or expressions of interest and are the means by which your organization can participate in competitive selection processes. Tenders related to a particular program can be released at different times. While part of a larger project may have been tendered for and is now nearing completion, another part may remain in the early pre-planing stage.

The notices are classified as either tenders, grants or open opportunities depending on the nature of the contract to be awarded and the method of solicitation. Tenders refer to opportunities that allow your organization to profit from the contract implementation. These involve the purchase of goods, works and construction services. Grants are nonprofit funding opportunities that provide financial assistance toward the achievement of specific project objectives. Meanwhile, open opportunities are grants with open-ended or cyclical deadlines. They can remain open for extended periods, usually until a grantee has been selected, or in cases of cyclical deadlines, they may be reopened after the deadline has elapsed if deemed necessary by the funding agency.

Contract awards and shortlists include information on projects that have been awarded to particular organizations, or organizations that may be shortlisted to be awarded the project. Generally the information on the project is brief, and the report refers to the project title, location, funder and amount. This information is often used by members to discover potential partners and competitors, as you can easily identify who has worked with which donors in particular regions, and on specific topics.