Heike Moeller December 3, 2021 Proposal
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.
The very first page of your proposal package should be a Title Page--just name your proposal something appropriate, like "Advanced Science Seminars Offered for the Jacobi School Gifted Program" or "Proposal to Create a New Charter School in the West Valley School District." Next, if your proposal is long and detailed, you may want an Executive Summary or Client Summary Page, which is a summation of the most important points you want to make, and a Table of Contents to help readers easily see the contents and navigate through the proposal. That is all for the introduction section.
Try to avoid using jargon, acronyms, and insider terms. Instead of making you sound more intelligent and knowledgeable, they can obstruct the communications process and produce a contrary effect. For example, although you feel sure your audience knows what you are talking about, there is always the chance that one member of the group reviewing your proposal may misunderstand an expression. Or perhaps he or she may simply never have heard a particular term and is reluctant to ask for clarification. Unbeknownst to you, that person may be someone who ultimately has a strong influence over whether your proposal is accepted or rejected.
Keep your writing professional in tone without being stuffy. Although your reading audience may consist entirely of close associates, that does not mean your proposal can be dashed off like a personal note, full of slang and familiarities. Remember as well that English may not be the first language of everyone who listens to your presentation or reads your proposal. If the circumstance is important enough to call for a formal proposal, it requires a professional level of attention.
A proposal is nothing more than a tool that you use to get an assignment. It should not be a blueprint for doing the job. After all, you certainly do not want to give away everything you know in your proposal so that your potential client or supervisor can simply pick it up and hand it over to someone else to implement. There is often a fine line between telling what you plan to do and telling how you plan to do it. The most effective proposals march boldly up to that line...and stop.
Proposal writing packages can make your proposal writing and formatting easier. A pre-designed proposal kit will include hundreds of templates, including all the ones mentioned above. You can find a page for almost any topic. The writing and details to include are up to you, but each template in a kit includes examples and instructions that remind you of typical information for that topic, so you will feel like you have a guide throughout the writing process.
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