What is a Proposal?
A proposal is a plan or an idea which is laid out succinctly in a written form. It is a formal way of pitching a concept and suggesting people to decide upon it. Concepts should be delivered in a structured format. However, a proposal shouldn’t be a hodgepodge of ideas. It is essential to outline your text, specify a timeframe or budget, and present your purpose with a clear plan of action. Crafting an expertly written proposal establishes you as somebody professional and knowledgeable in your field of expertise.
How to Write Effective Proposals
Whether it’s a special event, an academic project or a business deal, the primary aim is to get a positive response and win your reader’s trust. Remember, it’s all grounded on trust! Your proposal needs to be brief yet convincing. We have provided you with several rules of thumb when writing proposals to help you get started.
1. Know Your Audience
Before you begin writing a proposal, know your readers. The goal is to persuade your target audience. Your choice of words must be accurate yet compelling. However, you can’t make a winning proposal if you don’t have a knowledge of your target market. Be informed of their needs and preferences.
2. Be Specific
Creating a proposal is like competing in a game show competition: you have to get the judges and audience on your side. Generic, vague words won’t achieve this. Be specific. Know what you have to offer. In the case of seeking sponsorships, writing a sponsorship proposal has a strong likelihood of getting sponsors compared to a cold calling. Cold calling entails the least investment on your part, but it is the least effective method for contacting sponsors.
3. It’s Not About You
The pitfall of writing proposals is the belief that you should highlight how remarkable your project is. The content shouldn’t revolve around you, but rather on your prospects. Nobody is really interested in reading a ten-page document about your accomplishments and marketing ventures. Write about your prospects and how they can make use of your expertise, resources, and wealth of experience.
4. Steer Clear of Printed Copies
With the convenience of online documentation, hard copies are more likely to be sent to the trash bin because they are slower, old-fashioned ways to reach your readers. In today’s world, the Internet and email marketing are the fastest ways to compel people to take action. Statistics show the average time to receive a hard-copy-only proposal was almost 29 days, whereas proposals sent online only took 18 days and were 18% more likely to close the deal.
5. Keep It Short, But Not Too Short
Did you know that proposals less than 5 pages are 31% more likely to win business deals than the lengthy ones? Hence, brevity is important. Keep content concise and easy to read by avoiding flowery words and other unnecessary details. Keep it brief, but not to the point that it falls short of relevance and completeness.
6. Use the Active Voice
Writing in the active voice is recommended because the reader knows the subject of the sentence is performing the action. It becomes much relatable. This voice is preferred when writing proposals and other business documents since sentences written in the passive voice sound less relevant.