Sarah Neudorf October 15, 2021 Proposal
The summary is not a substitute for the proposal itself. Rather, it is a quick and concise reference to what the proposal contains. Sometimes called an abstract, outline, or précis, the summary is a condensed statement of what the full proposal contains. During a personal presentation, it is useful both as an introduction and a wrap-up. Later on if it becomes necessary to return to the proposal for clarification of certain points, the summary serves as a convenient memory jogger. For these reasons you might consider using bulleted points when formatting your summary.
The very first page of your proposal package should be a Title Page--just name your proposal something appropriate, like "Advanced Science Seminars Offered for the Jacobi School Gifted Program" or "Proposal to Create a New Charter School in the West Valley School District." Next, if your proposal is long and detailed, you may want an Executive Summary or Client Summary Page, which is a summation of the most important points you want to make, and a Table of Contents to help readers easily see the contents and navigate through the proposal. That is all for the introduction section.
At this point, you will have completed the first draft of your proposal. Congratulations! Now for the finishing touches. Have a qualified proofreader or editor read through your draft and fix any grammatical or spelling errors. It is always best to enlist someone who is not familiar with your ideas to do this. That person is much more likely to catch errors and ask important questions than someone who knows your proposal well. It would be especially embarrassing to submit an error-ridden proposal for an education project, would not it? After the words are perfect, make sure each page looks good, too. You might want to use visual details like splashes of color in titles or special bullet points to add interest, but keep the overall look professional.
Because the plan portion represents the meat of your proposal, it should summarize your strategy clearly and include time lines, opportunities for feedback, and provisions both for periodic evaluations and measurement of the end result. Two-way communications are extremely important to the success of most projects and, for that reason, should be built into each procedure and objective. Routine reports and approvals, explicitly provided for within your proposal, will help keep communications open and allay possible concerns during the course of the project. If your project must conform to regulatory standards, tell exactly how tests and verifications will occur. And if time or other constraints are prescribed by outside parties, describe the process you will use to satisfy those requirements.
A proposal is nothing more than a tool that you use to get an assignment. It should not be a blueprint for doing the job. After all, you certainly do not want to give away everything you know in your proposal so that your potential client or supervisor can simply pick it up and hand it over to someone else to implement. There is often a fine line between telling what you plan to do and telling how you plan to do it. The most effective proposals march boldly up to that line...and stop.
Do you have an idea for a new educational program or service? Maybe you want to apply for a government grant for an after-school program for middle school kids, organize a private high school, or develop a network of tutors for hire. How are you going to get the money you need and explain your ideas to the influential people who can make it happen? The best way is to master the art of writing a proposal.
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