Birgit Kuester December 14, 2021 Proposal
As you lay out your plan, try to keep in mind a couple of questions that your audience may not ask but will certainly be thinking: "What can we expect as a minimum outcome of your work?" and "What steps will you follow, and how will we know you (and we) are on target?"
Stay away from artsy typefaces and fonts and complicated page layouts. More often than not they only confuse the reader. Many proposal writers nowadays use formatting or desktop publishing programs for page design. Unless you are familiar with page makeup techniques, though, it is best to leave that kind of design to the professionals. And exercise some restraint in using charts and graphs to illustrate every individual item you describe. Sometimes a clearly written explanation works better than a graphic that you had to strain to create.
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.
If you are replying to an RFP (Request for Proposal) or applying for a specific grant, you need to follow any instructions specified in the RFP or grant application as precisely as possible. An RFP response typically requires combining government agency forms with topics you need to write from scratch - based on what the RFP asks you talk about.
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.
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.