Sophie Moench August 21, 2021 Proposal
Do not bind your letter into the proposal itself. It`s all right to clip it to the cover or insert it into an inside pocket of a folder, but it should be loose so that as you begin your presentation, the recipient can hold it in his or her hand. Print the letter on letterhead, preferably a heavy sheet that has a good feel. Address it to your primary contact, the person with whom you will work and to whom you will report. Always sign the letter. You may use your first or full name; it depends upon how personally close you are to the addressee. Do not be presumptuous in making that decision, however; it is safer to err on the side of formality than to presume a familiarity that is not really there.
Requests for proposals (RFP). Although your firm or department over the years may have developed a format for preparation of bids and proposals, it is sometimes necessary that you adapt your design. Requests for proposals (RFP) issued by large corporations or governmental agencies often require that each proposal conform to their very specific formats.
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.
Express costs in terms of value rather than simply stating them as prices. That is, mention that a particular component or service may seem expensive, but you have included it because it is the most cost effective course to take and will save money in the long run. By raising the issue yourself, you indicate your expertise and professionalism while deflating potential resistance.
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.
Unplating the boiler. Many proposal writers pick up previously written standard wording-often called boilerplate-for portions of their proposals. There`s certainly nothing wrong with such a practice. It saves time and eliminates errors...or does it?