A well-written proposal is one of the main things that get any business, project, or endeavor in the door for funding and other forms of support. And in this article, we share best practice tips on proposal-writing that could be used for whatever kind of proposal document you wish to create.
In addition, we include multiple examples of free and premium proposal templates in InDesign file format. You can download any template below and use it as a base template for your own proposed projects.
Proposals matter because this is the first thing that a client, investor, professor, buyer, or panel sees of your intended project or offer. Make the most out of this opportunity and create the best representation of your idea, offer, or proposition.
But how does one do this, you may ask? In the next few paragraphs, we have simplified the proposal-writing process by sharing with you the top five elements that make an effective proposal. Read and study each element well so that you can begin to incorporate them on your own proposal designs.
1. Comprehensive Market or Study Research: A good proposal should be well-researched and should include a comprehensive basis or theoretical background. This can be achieved by conducting market research or an appropriate into of your chosen field of study (as in the case of scientific research grant proposals).
2. Organized Layout: Another quality that makes a good proposal is the use of an organized layout. Proposal documents can easily become boring when it is just filled with walls of text. Allow your reader to breathe between paragraphs by incorporating negative space, proper text spacing, and the use of readable typefaces.
3. Smart Action Plan: The inclusion of a SMART action plan is a must whether you are making academic or business project proposals. This gives the reader an idea of what you intend to do or accomplish. Specific, measurable, actionable, realistic, and time-based goals allow you and your client/reader to easily assess the feasibility of your proposal.
4. Data Visualization: Proposals often are short yet comprehensive summaries of a plan, idea, or offer. And to make these summaries as persuasive as possible, you should use data visualization tools. Using simple bar graphs, flow charts, or tables help simplify data and allow readers to readily understand the content of your proposal.
5. Standard Proposal Format: Following a standard format helps make a more effective proposal since its reader is already familiar with how such format works. Different industries follow different formats so make sure that you are are using the appropriate format for the document that you are making. The most common proposal format is the IMRAD (Introduction, Methodology, Results, and Discussions) format.
So those are the most important elements needed to create an effective proposal. Keep on studying each element and practice incorporating them into your designs.
Take a look at all the proposal template designs embedded below. Each template is fully downloadable as an Adobe InDesign file and as other download file formats like PSD, DOC, and PUB.
Here are a few more best practice tips that can help you improve your proposal documents. Study them repeatedly until you can incorporate them into your own creations as seamlessly as possible.
1. Be direct to the point: Most proposals are just skimmed over. Do not bore your reader with extraneous details and flowery words. To illustrate, if you are writing an event proposal, reveal the most important details about the event right away.
2. Maintain personal credibility: As much as the proposal’s content matters, its creator’s curriculum vitae and background also matter. This is especially important when creating investor proposals, sales proposals, or even research proposals. The person who created the proposal needs to be knowledgeable with the ins and outs of the industry they are operating in.
3. Include accurate and updated data: This next tip bears repeating especially when creating research and grant proposals. Remember, people and organizations are investing money, time, and/or resources on your big idea that can potentially help other people. Creating proposals from unfounded data will decrease the likelihood of your proposal from being approved.
4. Use a pre-made proposal template: Download and use any of the free proposal templates found in this article. When you use them, you do not need to create a proposal design from scratch and will help you save time and money in the long run.
5. Be clear about the scope or terms of the proposal: When writing proposals for an exchange of service, products, or commodities, or properties, your proposal wording should be clear on the limits and inclusions of such transaction. Failure to state the terms or scope of the proposal may result in issues with your contracts or business agreements in the future.
Are you confused about what specific kind of proposal to create? If yes, then check out this list different types of proposals. Each proposal type is curated based on the document’s end purpose.
Proposals, whether business or academic ones, may be printed on any legal or letter size document paper. In this article, most of the free and premium document templates follow the 8.5 inches by 11 inches paper size.
A pre-formatted document that contains all the layout styles, text, font files, and image placeholders needed for making a formal written offer is called a proposal template. And when this formal document is created using Adobe InDesign, it is called a proposal template in InDesign. As an InDesign template, the document file is stored as an .INDD file and may be edited using Adobe InDesign.
A business proposal is a written offer for a commercial transaction between two or more parties. A research project proposal, on the other hand, is a written summary of an individual’s plan of study in a given field or area. The latter is commonly used in academic and scientific circles.
Whatever kind of proposal you are writing, it should include the following basic information:
Creating any kind of proposal is way easier if you have a guide to follow. Use any of the free and premium document templates we’ve shared above and do not forget to follow all the proposal-writing tips we’ve shared. Don’t forget to check out the rest of our site for more information on how to create other kinds of business documents.