5+ Basic Proposal Outline Templates

Writing proposals have different requirements in different sectors and organizations. Corporate agencies and private foundations usually follow stricter formats and while non-profit organizations and the academic institutions have their own structure, proposal samples are often written with an outline first before they are finalized and submitted to a board.

Elements of a Good Basic Proposal Outline

If you’re writing a project proposal or a business proposal crucial to a company’s growth, they have to be framed and based on the organization’s mission statements, brand identity values, and long-term goals. However, you have to make sure that you can write a proposal without the expense of your organization’s interests. Furthermore, if there are people who are judging the value (or lack thereof) of your proposal, you’ll need something which would get them interested.

Below are the most important elements of a proposal outline:

1. Project Description: What is your proposal all about? Have you come up with your title yet? These are the first things you need to consider. The problem should have enough focus for it to be researched or feasible in one study. It shouldn’t be too ambitious and it shouldn’t lack promise either. If this isn’t funded yet, there’s a great chance you’ll be working on your own with limited (financial) resources for the most part. Where will it be located? Who or what will you be investigating? Whenever possible try to come up with one or two research questions.

2. Introduction: Your introduction needs to be compelling enough to grab the reader’s attention right away and make them want to keep reading. This is the time to focus on the client, their issue, and the results they’re looking for; this isn’t the place to spotlight your company.

3. Challenges: You can’t solve a problem that you don’t understand, and people won’t hire you if they think you don’t get it. Demonstrate your grasp of the situation; include some research or refer to related experience your company has had with a similar project. The focus here is on the client and their challenge, not your team.

4. Solution: This is where you draft the solution your team had come up with, along with notes about the design in planning how you can overcome the client’s challenges in business or the project’s challenges. Define how it will work and the benefits that the organization can expect. You can keep this section with fairly high quality so that when your proposal is in its final stages, the client can read the specifics.

5. Proof: Discuss how your firm or your team of experts, your services or product is a perfect choice and what the client need and why you think you’re capable and more than qualified to do the job. You may have enough experience in providing the right solutions to help other companies with similar challenges and it could be a special skill that needs the services of a third party like yours. Write down why your business can make this a successful task and deliver the results that the client needs.

6. Call To Action: This section is your chance to convince your potential client that their best chances for success are in hiring your company and using your team’s expertise. Remind them what sets you from the competition and reinforce the idea that your solution is the best one that will get them real results.

5+ Basic Proposal Outline Templates

Project Proposal Outline Template

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Basic Proposal Outline Template

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Proposal Outline Template

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Business Proposal Example

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Sample Proposal Outline

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Sample Business Proposal

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Steps to Write an Excellent Basic Proposal Outline

Writing a great proposal is a crucial skill for many fields and occupations from the academe to business management to science and technology. Before finalizing a proposal, an outline is needed to make sure that the proposal submitted to the board gains support for your plan through informing the right people. Your ideas or suggestions have more chances of getting approved when you have a well-designed proposal which is only possible if you start with an outline following these steps:

1. Define your audience: Make sure that you think about who your audience is what they know and don’t know about your project details or when you write your outline. This is going to help you set your focus on the ideas you have, make them tangible and present them in the most convincing way. It’s good to assume that your readers will be reading in a rush or just skim through the pages and not be predisposed in giving your suggestions any special attention before it is finalized. The secrets are in developing efficiency and persuasiveness.

2. Follow the elements of style: Convincing proposals can use emotional appeals, but should always rely on facts as the bedrock of the argument. For example, a proposal to start a panda conservation program could mention how sad it would be for the children of future generations to never see a panda again, but it shouldn’t be limited to that. It would need to base its argument on facts and solutions for the proposal to be convincing.

3. Add a schedule and a budget: Your proposal is the representation of an organization’s investment. To convince your readers that you and your team are worthy of that investment, provide a piece of complete, detailed and accurate information about your timeline and budget. They need to know that the solution or project you’re proposing is going to be feasible in all important areas.

4. Wrap up with a conclusion: This is not the proposal yet but if you want your final proposal to be convincing, you should write a conclusion that reflects your introduction, sufficiently wrapping up the general message. If there are risks to your proposal not making it through, you should be able to address them. Make an outline or summary of the advantages and benefits of your proposal and drive your points home by stating how the benefits would outweigh the costs. It’s important to make an impact that leaves your audience thinking positive results in advance.

Tips in Designing a Basic Proposal Outline

Writing an outline before an actual proposal is similar to but not exactly the same as crafting an outline for an essay or producing a report.

Here are some helpful tips:

  • Avoid the use of jargon: There are abbreviations that you can completely eliminate if they make the outline complicated. Write in plain, direct, business or academic language as much as possible. You don’t need to be overly sophisticated just to make a point. For example, instead of stating “for the reason that rectification of a workplace imbalance is a priority,” you could simply write, “let employees go.”
  • Edit your work: It may just be an outline to you but it sure doesn’t hurt to be meticulous in writing, editing, and designing the proposal right from the beginning. Revise as necessary to make it clear and concise, ask others to critique and edit it, and make sure the presentation is attractive and engaging as well as well organized and helpful.

Basic Proposal Outline FAQs

How long should an outline be?

If you’re writing a standard research paper of 15-20 pages, your outline should be no more than four pages in length. While you’re writing your outline, it’s also helpful to already include a tentative list of different sources.

Why is it important to develop an outline before finalizing the proposal?

An outline allows the writer to choose the main points, organize his writing into a logical order and make sure that each point or idea can be fully developed and backed. An outline is also something that helps the writer get back on course when he or she is stuck in the final stages of writing the proposal.

What is a business proposal?

A business proposal is a written offer from a contractor or seller to a prospective client. Proposals in business are often the deciding step in the complicated sales process because it’s what the buyer considers more than the cost or price in the transaction or purchase.

Writing an outline before submitting the proposal as a researcher or a prospective client may not be the deciding factor of the proposal getting considered but it does make a huge difference if you really want to put your offer on the table and make it more convincing. Writing, in general, requires that we stay organized, focused and not lose our main ideas and key points as we try to persuade an audience-whether it’s the research panel or the client that what we’re offering to study or do is more than feasible.