Heike Moeller December 3, 2021 Proposal
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.
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.
The problem and the plan. The primary section of the proposal describes the problem or project as you see it. That bears repeating: State your understanding of the need and circumstances that prompted your submitting the proposal. Explain the rationale for action. That is, tell your audience what their problem is and why they need your expertise and assistance. Do not assume they know. Define the scope of the undertaking and the solutions and goals you intend to achieve, describing each in terms of discrete objectives.
The importance of packaging. Contrary to what we might like to believe, people do buy books by their covers. Neatness and eye appeal count. A proposal that is hard to handle or is not professional in appearance detracts from the presenter, his or her firm or department, and the overall plan. A few extra hours spent on making the written proposal look good can mean the difference between acceptance and rejection.
Lead, do not read. Do not read to your listeners what they have before them on the printed page and are perfectly capable of reading themselves. Instead, rephrase, paraphrase, and elaborate as you describe the text in terms of concepts, procedures, and strategy. Before beginning your presentation, mark up a copy of your proposal with comments and amplifications of important points. Be cautious, however, about expanding on a topic in such a way that you commit yourself to actions outside the scope of your proposal.
Your proposal is a business document. Do not stick it into a drugstore folder that makes it look like a term paper. Stapling a half dozen or fewer pages together is all right; if the whole document runs longer than that, place it in an appropriately sized three-ring notebook or add stiff front and back covers and bind it. Three-ring, spiral, and plastic comb bindings are inexpensive and allow the book to lie flat when opened.
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