FIRST's focus is short-term and medium-term projects. Technical assistance projects range in size from a few thousand dollars up to US$500,000 and, exceptionally, more. The majority of projects supported to date have been between US$100,000 and US$200,000.
FIRST gives preference to projects with the following characteristics:
- Likelihood of achieving the stated project objectives; of practical, tangible results; of successful implementation; of measurable impact and of replicability elsewhere.
- Well-defined proposals of high quality, with realistic expectations.
- Showing strong elements of additionality, rather than substitution.
- Catalytic, likely to lead to follow-up TA work; leveraging other resources, now or later.
- Short - to medium-term nature (6-18 months).
- Cash or initial contributions of 10 percent from recipients.
- No "core funding" (sole or primary source of funding of a start-up or an up- and running organization).
- Projects that are "demand-driven" by entities from countries, regions, multilateral development banks and industry associations; rather than "supply-driven" by industrialized country consultants, Bank staff and the like.