Businesses and private foundations usually have different requirements for writing proposals than most federal or government agencies. And while grant-giving foundations often provide an outline of the format they prefer, there is more to writing a proposal in business than just the usual structure of your skills, goals, research or general narrative.
Well-written proposals are those that are framed and based on a company, organization or foundation’s objectives, needs and mission statements without sacrificing your ability to deliver a great service or compromising your organization’s interests in the process. Additionally, if there is a detailed checklist of people who get to judge your proposal or a checklist of what the job requires, you’ll be able to write a proposal that would pique the reader’s interests, especially with the following elements included:
1. Abstract/summary: Considered by most professionals as the most important part of the proposal template your abstract should have a compelling title. If there is no required length, it should be no longer than half or a whole page max. Set your subheadings in bold letters and don’t forget to highlight the answers to these questions:
What will be done? Who is going to do it and when? How long is the proposed services, research or activities going to take? What problem or issue needs to be answered and who will benefit from it?
2. Statement of need: This is where you need to state what the needs of the organization are or the issue you want to address and why it should matter, albeit a pitch of why they need to consider your proposal and not someone else’s. You also have to include your services’ or the proposal’s limitations. If it’s a research or a grant proposal, convince the organization or panel that what you are proposing isn’t going to be a duplicate of another work. In some cases, Replication of someone else’s work in a new environment or larger scale may still be fundable.
3. Project/services/activity: What are the specific activities involved? If you’re proposing a service, map out what it includes as well as the corresponding prices. You also have to establish who is going to be in charge of these activities and present a timeline for work schedule expectations; when the service or activity is expected to take place and what the specific deliverables are. Provide tables and charts to make the information more comprehensive and easier to understand.
4. Description: Discuss the project or activity including everyone involved, briefly in your proposal. This also eliminates misunderstandings about what everybody’s task or responsibilities are and the possibility of being required to provide more results or output more than what was originally agreed.
5. Evaluation: For research, this should be both measured or quantitative and qualitative if it’s doable. Provide an outline for the methodology you’re going to use in the project’s success.
6. Dissemination: Dissemination should be connected to what your task or projects’ goals and objectives are.
With too much competition going on in the same marketplace, it’s not enough to have the skills set needed to complete a project or a job, no matter how reputable you come across as, to prospective clients. A winning proposal may not necessarily guarantee you to win the client’s contract but it does help in presenting that you can and you meant to deliver. Here are some steps to help you write a proposal that gets deals and grants:
1. Read the request for proposal: In business, contractors and freelancers usually submit a proposal in response to getting an RFP from a client that needs specific services or projects completed with the required skills that are beyond their workforce’s expertise or simply want someone to do some sort of task for them. Make sure that you can meet what the client requires in a specific time frame, otherwise, don’t submit a proposal.
2. Ask questions: You want your proposal to focus on what the client’s actual needs are instead of a whole discussion of your experience in the field. Try to clear up any confusion in the RFP and put yourself in the client’s shoes, which means looking at the problem from their perspective. It might help further if you answer these questions: How would the client be evaluating the proposal and on what parameters? What are their policies in operations? You want your proposal to be written in line with the client’s operating policies.
3. Add a title page: You should have a title page as the cover to your business proposal. The title page should include the following information:
4. State the business need: A great proposal determines the problem, presents it and proposes a viable solution. Identifying the problem also means using clear terms and a business language that all parties would understand.
You can offer a roadmap. Your proposal should follow a smooth transition from the introduction onward. The best way to do this is by indicating how many parts there are and what components are included. This way, the proposal is more organized and easy to read and understand.
By the end of your proposal, after the client has read it, he should be able to consider the solutions you offered. Make sure you wrap up your proposal with a conclusion.
Most proposals basically follow the same guidelines. The key to writing a proposal that gets noticed and eventually wins the job is to make sure your ideas and proposed solutions are communicated in clear but simple terms. Make your points organized and make sure they’re convincing. Knowing how to write a persuasive proposal is important to be successful in many fields and endeavors in the academe, business and even in the field of Science and research.