Heike Moeller October 17, 2021 Proposal
Boilerplate has a limited shelf life. It grows stale and out of date before you realize it. Absolutely no less often than every six months you should review each one of the sections that you routinely include with your proposals. Do not rely upon an assistant to do this job for you because he or she may not have sufficiently current knowledge. Also, it`s you who are going to make the presentation to your client or supervisor, and, therefore, it`s you who will need to explain erroneous, incomplete, or perhaps even confidential information that somehow crept into your proposal.
If the proposal is more than 10 pages long, include a page-specific table of contents as a guide for the reader. After describing the problem and plan that are the bases for your proposal, follow those portions with references; biographies of the principals who will be involved in the task; a client and project list; credentials, licenses, and certifications; perhaps a glossary of terms; a list of illustrations; and any other supporting information.
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.
Show and tell. Resist, even to the point of seeming obstreperous, all requests to "just mail it to us." Anything short of a face-to-face meeting will inevitably detract from your proposal. After all, your proposal is meant to sell more than your services; it also sells you.
Keep it simple. Use good quality paper stock-something with a high rag content has the best feel-and avoid colored papers. Rather than highlight, they tend to distract. Stick to eight point five x eleven size and fold flow charts, schematics, organizational charts, graphs, and other illustrations within the proposal itself. Larger sheets are difficult to file and quickly become dog-eared, a tattered appearance that will make your entire proposal look bad. If you are using large plans and drawings, list them as coded illustrations within the text of your proposal and submit them as separate exhibits.
Laser print your document using an easy-to-read typeface. Serif type is much more readable than sans serif. Ten-point is probably a large enough type size unless you know that one or more reviewers has difficulty reading small print-then go up to 11- or 12-point. Do not justify (align) the right-hand margin of your text. True, it looks neater, but it is much harder to read, especially if your printer leaves gaping spaces between words.
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