Tips For Writing Proposals
What is a proposal?
A business proposal is a written offering of services that has been tailored for a client. It is possible that not all definitions use the word “tailored”. It is, however, a key word in our definition because it is an essential characteristic of a successful proposal.
A proposal can’t be sent as a cold call because it has to be customised to the client. This document will explain how you can best help the client.
A proposal is not a plan for a business. A business plan is a document that outlines the company’s financial and operational goals. Although it is an important document for a company, it is not the same as a proposal. Combining them will result in either a poor proposal or poor plan. A business proposal is a request for information or an opportunity. The business proposal is not intended to be a cold call. The client always gives an indication of the business requirements. This could be a Request for Proposals (RFP), a request from the public government, or a follow-up email to a positive conversation at a networking event.
5 Tips for Writing Proposals
- You can set a personal deadline one month prior to the deadline for the granting agency. It takes longer than you think to polish your proposal.
- Take a look at the most recent grant recipients from the funding agency and the titles of their projects. Do they support the work you propose?
- If necessary, contact individuals for letters of support, letters of referee, or letters to commit as soon as possible. Give them enough time to fit it in their busy schedules.
- If possible, look at past successful proposals that have been submitted on past projects.
- Ask your colleagues, including those from other fields, to critique and review your proposal. Ask for feedback.
- The creativity lies in the conceptisation of the project.
- Limit the number of quotations used – they eat up valuable space that could be used to describe your project.
- Do not assume that reviewers are experts in your sub-specialty.
- Read carefully every word in the program announcement, highlight important points and then re-read it.
Many institutions have their own internal policies and processes. These are necessary before a proposal can go to a funding agency. These requirements may include waivers for eligibility or internal deadlines. Make sure to gather all relevant information about your institution’s internal policies and processes.
Present a logical solution for a problem
Your proposal is a story. It has a beginning (the opportunity or problem is the need statement), middle and an end (your program is your results). We hear it time and again that funders get confused when they read proposals. It is important that the solution to the problem presented makes sense. Make it clear to the reader what you will do, who you will benefit from, and why they should care.
Do your homework! Do your research!
Targeted research can help you identify the right funders that will partner with your organisation and support its work. It is crucial to send the right proposal to right funders in order to find the match. Your interests should align!
Ask the question “Why?”
Your business’s potential is not highlighted in a proposal. It should highlight how valuable you can be to your client’s company. This is the first thing we teach in our proposal-writing course. A simple, but crucial question to help you align with this philosophy is “Why?”
Why should the client choose to work with you?
You should critically evaluate your solution by incorporating the audience’s feedback and the findings of the discussion. What are your unique strengths? What can you do to increase your client’s success over the long-term? What is the best way to solve problems? What are the factors that prove your trustworthiness How will their business benefit from your solution?
You will likely have to submit your proposal to a number of competitors. Understanding the submissions of your competitors will help you improve. Review the work of your competitors to get context on their strategy, pricing, and solution. Make your proposal plan more attractive than your competitors.