Sarah Neudorf March 29, 2021 Proposal
Depending on what you are proposing, the readers you want to target might be members of a grant committee, potential students, parents of students, teachers, school administrators, a loan committee, or a governmental organization. It is important to consider them carefully, and tailor your information to them. What do they want to know? What concerns might they have? Are there scheduling or budget restrictions? At the very least, this client-oriented section should have a Requirements page that summarizes what they have asked for, or what you believe they need. You may also want pages like Schedule, Deadlines, Limitations, Budget, Goals, Considerations, Special Needs, and so forth, to describe in detail your understanding of what the client needs. This is not yet the time to brag about your proposed program or your organization. Keep this section focused on information about what the client wants or needs.
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.
Break up gray pages of solid type with bullets and lists that draw the reader`s eye to important points. Keep margins fairly wide (1½" is sufficient) to enable your audience to make notes. Number the pages so that you can easily direct your listeners to particular information.
It is to your distinct advantage to follow all the instructions that are available, especially if you must submit your proposal by mail and will not have the opportunity to make a personal presentation. Standard form RFPs enable reviewers to compare apples to apples and oranges to oranges. If a reader must hunt through your document in order to find a critical point, he or she may instead prefer to toss the document aside. After all, the reviewer may think, if this person ca not even follow our directions, how can we expect a satisfactory outcome from the project?
Be aware that there may be a hidden audience whom you never see or even know about who reads your proposal after you have made your presentation; the CFO or comptroller who ultimately approves all invoices might be an example. Will that person(s) understand every point it contains without hearing you explain, "What that really means is this..."? Also remember that portions of the text may be read aloud. If a member of your audience asks, "What is our duty here where it says...," he or she should be able to read the passage smoothly without stumbling over a series of stilted phrases or hard-to-pronounce words or sounds.
As you organize your thoughts, make notes of what you need to include and then sort them into the order in which you intend to address each one during the presentation meeting with your client or supervisor. It is best to sort like with like. That is, do not mix company and departmental backgrounds or personal biographies, credentials, and references with your plan of action. Place such support and historical material-evidence of your capabilities-after the plan that you are suggesting.
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