Proposal Writing GuidelinesA proposal is a document intended to persuade someone to act on your recommendations.
Variables to ConsiderAudience: Proposals are written in fields such as business, government, and science, among others. Identify your audience and consider what arguments will be the most persuasive. Formality: Informal proposals can be an email or a memo (if circulated within a business), or a letter (when sent outside of a business). Formal proposals usually take on the same format as reports; therefore, they typically include a title page, table of contents, abstract or executive summary, (possibly) a letter of transmittal, appendices, and list of sources cited. Solicited vs. unsolicited: Solicited proposals are submitted at the request of a client or customer who evaluates and selects the proposal that best meets their needs. An unsolicited proposal goes out in the hopes that the recipient will acknowledge a need and decide that you, as solicitor, are the one to address it. Structure:
- Title or subject line-clearly state your proposal
- Background information-offer your readers background context
- Statement of problem or situation-clearly describe the problem or situation
- Description of solution or resolution-fully describe how you plan to solve the problem or situation
- Costs, timing, and qualifications-spell out any details involving money, time, and expertise
- Conclusion-end with a call to action
- Show that you understand the clients' request and that you have their best interests in mind. You also need to show that you understand the project, goals, and time commitment.
- Offer a clear solution to the problem and demonstrate the benefits of your solution
- Justify your proposal by making it clear that your product or service is the best choice.
- Show that you will reliably deliver on your recommendation and that you will comply with the client’s way of doing business.