The 5 most important things to include in your concept note

November 23, 2023
5 min read
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In the realm of social impact, the concept note is your compass, guiding you through the challenging terrain of project development. Whether you're a social enterprise aiming for sustainable growth, a business looking to enhance your Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR), or an NGO seeking to make a tangible difference, a well-constructed concept note is your first step towards turning aspirations into reality.

In this comprehensive guide, we'll delve into the five crucial components that will elevate your concept note to new heights. 

1. Clear and Concise Problem Statement

Start by clearly identifying the societal issue your project aims to address. Since social enterprises often tackle issues like poverty, environmental sustainability, or education, an example of a clear and concise problem statement can be represented as: 

“In the urban slums where our social enterprise operates, unemployment rates are at an alarming 40%, perpetuating a cycle of poverty. Our project, "Skills for Empowerment," focuses on providing vocational training and employment opportunities in partnership with local industries to break this cycle and foster economic empowerment.”

In this example, the problem statement is precise, contextualized, and aligns with the overarching mission of the social enterprise.

2. Well-Defined Objectives

Outline specific and measurable objectives that align with your organization's mission. If your business is engaged in CSR you  may want to tie objectives to your core values. Here's an example:

“Our CSR initiative aims to reduce our carbon footprint by 20% within the next year through the implementation of sustainable business practices, such as transitioning to renewable energy sources and promoting eco-friendly product packaging.”

This example showcases a clear objective that is not only measurable but also aligns with the company's commitment to environmental sustainability.

3. Practical and Feasible Methodology

 Detail a step-by-step plan that takes into account the unique resources and capabilities of your organization. As part of an NGO you may often collaborate with local communities, whereas social enterprises might leverage innovative business models. An illustrative example of a practical and feasible methodology in your concept note could be:

“To address the lack of access to clean water in rural areas, our NGO will collaborate with local communities to install decentralized water purification systems. Simultaneously, we will conduct workshops on water conservation and hygiene practices to ensure the sustainability of the project. This involves engaging local leaders, training community members in system maintenance, and establishing water committees for ongoing monitoring.”

This example not only outlines the steps involved but emphasizes community involvement and long-term sustainability as practical ways to address a societal issue. 

4. Budget Breakdown

In your concept note, provide a transparent and detailed budget, showcasing how funds will be allocated to maximize impact. Align your expenses with your company's values and long-term goals. For instance:

“Our business aims to allocate a significant portion of the CSR budget towards education initiatives. This includes supporting local schools with necessary infrastructure, providing scholarships to underprivileged students, and implementing teacher training programs to enhance educational quality.”

The budget breakdown in this example demonstrates a strategic alignment of financial resources with the initiative's focus on education.

5. Impact Assessment and Sustainability Plan

Demonstrate how you will measure the success of your project and ensure its long-term impact. NGOs may focus on community engagement, while social enterprises could explore revenue-generating models for sustainability. An example might look like this:

Example: Beyond measuring improved literacy rates, our NGO will assess the project's success by monitoring community engagement and the establishment of local leadership structures. To ensure sustainability, we plan to train community members to maintain and expand the water purification systems independently. Additionally, we will explore partnerships with local businesses for ongoing support.

This example goes beyond conventional impact metrics, emphasizing community empowerment and a sustainable model through local capacity-building and collaboration with external partners.


Crafting a concept note requires a thoughtful approach. By incorporating these five important elements into your concept note, you not only communicate your vision effectively but also build trust and credibility with stakeholders. Embrace the power of a well-constructed concept note to drive positive change and make a lasting impact in your chosen field. Remember your concept note is not just a document; it’s a promise to make a difference in the world.

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