Writing a good proposal is a vital skill in many industries, fields, and occupations from the academe to business management to science and technology. The goal is to convince an audience enough for them to support your plan by researching the needs of the business or organization you are submitting the proposal samples to. Your suggestions are more likely to get noticed if you can communicate them in a simple, clear, professional and convincing manner.
While foundations usually provide an outline for their preferred format, there is more attention given to the structure of the proposal’s narrative. It is therefore important to build the proposal around the organization’s stated mission and brand identity. The following elements may also help:
1. Introduction: If you want to have a strong introduction, start it out with a sentence or phrase that would hook the reader. Ideally, you want your audience’s attention right from the beginning and when you’ve got it, you’d want to keep them reading. Making your proposal as purposeful and as important as possible is not difficult if you can get background information that matters to your readers, Then you can state the purpose of the project you’re proposing:
2. Client’s Goals: This is can be a short summary of the client’s requirements and goals is obviously a vital component of your project proposal. Take time to research, know and understand what your prospective client is looking for, to ensure that your proposal gets considered. Additionally, by presenting how well you’ve done your homework as to their needs, you’ll be regarded better than the rest of the competition.
3. Abstract/Summary: The abstract is arguably the most important element of the proposal. Take your time in coming up with the best title. If there is no limit required, it still shouldn’t be longer than one half with one page being the maximum. Use bold fonts for your subheadings to emphasize each section and write down what will be done, by whom how and the timeline you expect to be done. State the problem or need and identify who benefits from the results or project.
4. Project Activity: Explain why you chose to address the issue the way you have and discuss any approaches that may have worked and why they aren’t applicable to the situation. You can also tell the reader what activities are involved in completing the project and who will be responsible for them as well as the timeline of the activities. This is where you can make use of tables and charts for proper organization. Why are you/your organization the best one to do what you propose to do? Is it an extension of successful, innovative work or a pilot project you already complete
5. Work Process: Describe how you usually work with clients. Will you have a meeting after the client approves your proposal? Describe how you will to track all client communication. Be specific now so you and your client won’t be in for surprises later on.
After putting together all the necessary elements for a good project proposal, it’s time to start planning the structure of your document and writing it down. It should also include what your firm want to achieve, an explanation of the objectives defined and the tasks associated with the project’s completion. You can also like proposal templates.
Here are some steps to help you start one:
1. Define your audience: Make sure that you have a good understanding about what your audience already know and what they still need to know before you start your outline. This is to help you set focus on your ideas and map them out effectively. It’s better to assume that your audience will have no time to read the whole proposal in full but rather just skim through in a rush and not predisposed on giving your suggestions any special favors. This is where your ability to persuade will be tested. Also keep the following points in mind:
2. Propose solutions: What can you do to address the issues or need you have identified, to deem the project necessary for the organization? Proposing solutions is arguably the most crucial step in your proposal and this is also where you get into detail on how you can address the problem, why you need to do it the way you plan to and what the perceived outcome will be. To ensure that your proposal is convincing, consider the following:
3. Include a schedule and a budget: Your proposal is ideally a reflection of another entity’s investment and they should see that they are making a sound investment by considering your proposed project. In order to convince them, you need to give them a detailed, accurate information regarding the time and budget for the project’s completion. Being as organized and detailed as possible will give your readers confidence and trust that you’ve spent time researching their needs and won’t be wasting their money in the process.
4. Summarize the project: Gather all the information you need on the project based on what you have received from the client or what you have collected in their proposal bid or announcements thus far, then write a summary, using your own words in one paragraph. Summarizing the project would into only help you gain a clearer concept and be more effective in delivering the project, but it also gives the client a sense of trust and confidence that you have paid attention and actually understand what they need. It also further gives them a greater chance to clarify anything that you might have misunderstood regarding their needs.
Make it a point to structure your proposal according to the organization’s vision and mission, goals, or program if it’s a funder you’re submitting it to, without compromising your business or research interest in the process. Here are some tips you may find useful:
Here are the most common types of project proposals that gets submitted:
All proposals takes a good understanding of writing professional documents but the unsolicited proposal takes more work as it is often compared to a cold call and with good reason. Submitting an unsolicited proposal means your prospect client didn’t ask or request for one. However, if your proposal is deemed relevant to their needs it can be extremely valuable.
Let your prospect client know how you usually prefer to work with clients. Do you want to meet them after they approve the proposal? Discuss how you plan on monitoring your correspondence with the client. It’s better to be specific early on to avoid surprises and confusion.
Private and non-profit proposals for project funding or service differ significantly from proposals submitted to the government. However, it is important to remember that regardless of the type of proposal you design for the project, it should serve as the initial framework for an established project concept. Knowing how to write a persuasive project proposal is an important step for success in different fields.