Birgit Kuester November 10, 2021 Proposal
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.
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.
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.
All proposals follow a basic structure: introduction, the recipient/client-oriented section, the description of proposed goods and/or services, and then the proposal writer/supplier-oriented section. The content of each section will vary from one proposal to the next, but this sequence of sections should stay the same.
In the first case, try to vary your presentation style somewhat from the initial meeting. Some of the previous group may be present, and if you run through your proposal the same way you did the first time, you may sound canned and flat. A fresh approach is much more likely to hold the interest of everyone in the room.
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?"
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