Sarah Neudorf August 29, 2021 Proposal
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.
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.
When responding to an RFP, read the guidelines carefully and highlight each qualifying instruction. Make a list of the requirements and check off each one as you complete it. Do not include more information than is requested unless it is absolutely vital to your submission and you have included a full explanation in your cover letter. Likewise, if you are unable to complete all sections of the RFP, include a full explanation of why certain parts are missing. Submit your proposal in its complete and finished form; piecemeal submissions create bad impressions.
Obstructions and distractions. It`s not unusual for differing opinions and disagreements-sometimes even confrontations-to surface during proposal presentations. Known or unknown to you may be someone in your audience who previously presented or sponsored a similar proposal that was rejected. There may be congenital naysayers who distrust innovation or change of any kind. There may be one or two persons who adopt a show-me! attitude and refuse to believe that an idea worth listening to could ever come from (pick one) an insider, outsider, field representative, corporate staff person, woman, man, engineer, marketing specialist, or...fill in the blank.
Watch your language. Nothing kills proposals faster than poor or careless writing. No matter how impressive your technical knowledge, familiarity with the field, or track record, a sloppily prepared proposal can doom your chances for success. Thoughtless and incomplete preparation or an untidy printed proposal reflects negatively on your ability to do the job, suggesting that you may be equally neglectful in your work.
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.
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