Introduction:

A project proposal outlines your project’s core value proposition.

It’s the initial framework for establishing the concept of the project and should include what you want to accomplish and how you plan to accomplish it.

It describes how the project is going to be commenced so that all involved stakeholders understand what’s involved early.

Getting inside the heads of the people you are writing the proposal for is vital: you need to think like the project’s stakeholders to deliver a proposal that meets their needs.

This 'Project Proposal Template', when used alongside the proposal document you are planning to submit, will enable you to set the project vision, define the project requirements, describe the deliverables, and specify the deadlines.

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Enter project proposal details

Enter the proposal details in the fields below. 

Enter proposal reviewer details

Enter details about the person/company who will be reviewing your proposal in the fields below. 

Pre-Proposal Tasks:

Study the RFP criteria

Upload the request for proposal guidelines, study them carefully, and list out the key RFP requirements in the field below.

They may specify evaluation criteria and allocate a certain number of points to specific sections or components. 

Missing or incomplete items often result in outright rejection or at least a lower score, which will limit your chances of success. 

If there are many new requirements, in addition to those included in this checklist, consider updating this checklist with each requirement as a new task.

Read this to find out how. 

Research the proposal reviewer

The more you know about the person who will be reviewing your proposal, the better you can tailor your proposal to meet their requirements.

Look at the following sources of information to find out more about your funder:

  • 1
    Their website
  • 2
    LinkedIn profiles
  • 3
    Annual reports
  • 4
    Success stories of previous grants
  • 5
    Staff biographies

Answer the following questions to make sure you know your proposal reviewer inside out: 

Define the project need

Think about the purpose of your proposal.

Answer the following questions to get your thoughts together so you can begin writing your proposal with some clear direction. 

Plan your proposal

Proposals are often organized into distinct sections. These sections can have different titles depending on the guidelines specified by the organization, but they frequently serve the same purposes.

Review the guidelines to see if they have specified a structure to follow.

If they have asked you to follow a specific structure, make sure you have a plan for each section they have requested.

If they haven’t specified a structure, list out what you might include in the following sections:

Choose a title

Your proposal title needs to be catchy, descriptive, informative and pre-dispose the reader favorably towards the proposal.

Brainstorm potential title ideas and record them below.

Run each title option through the below criteria and choose the final title by selecting the title which best meets the criteria. 

Record your final title in the field below. 

  • 1
    Is it concise?
  • 2
    Is it descriptive?
  • 3
    Is it informative?
  • 4
    Is it catchy?
  • 5
    Does it predispose the reader, favorably, towards the proposal?

Add this to your proposal document cover sheet 

Writing the Proposal:

Write your introduction

The introduction section in your proposal document should cover the key elements of your proposal and contain a clear, concise description of the problem or situation. 

This is what you planned to include in your introduction: {{form.Introduction}}

Make sure your introduction includes the following: 

  • 1
    A statement of the problem/need for your project
  • 2
    The purpose of the project
  • 3
    Project objectives
  • 4
    The significance of the project

Establish your objectives

In the objectives section of your proposal document, define what will occur as a result of your project. 

This is what you planned to include in this section: {{form.Objectives}}

Answer these questions to help shape your objectives:

Check your objectives

Answer the following questions to check that the objectives you have included in your proposal are clear: 

  • 1
    Is there one or more objectives that reflect the need for the project and clearly show its purpose and direction?
  • 2
    Are the objectives realistic and appropriate?
  • 3
    Are the objectives stated in terms of outcomes and not in terms of methods or activities?
  • 4
    Do the objectives describe the population that will benefit?
  • 5
    Do the objectives state the time by which they will be accomplished?
  • 6
    Do the objectives describe the outcomes of the project in measurable terms?

Include your history

In the history section, demonstrate how the next project can be more effective using information from previous projects.

Include information about your past experience with similar projects, talk about your successes and list any awards.  Be sure to include client testimonials or short case studies where relevant. 

This is what you planned to include in this section: {{form.History}}

To help jog your memory about your past experience, in the fields below, list all the projects that you have successfully completed, and explain why they were successful.

Then, list all the projects that could have gone better and describe how you would improve next time.

Identify responsible parties

Within the responsible parties section, identify who the key people are in the project and describe their goals and motivations. 

You are trying to make the proposal reviewer feel like they are getting to know and trust the proposed project team.

Include brief bios and a photo of each project team member. 

This is what you planned to include in this section: {{form.Responsible_Parties}}

Establish the client benefit

In the client benefit section within your proposal document, establish how the client will benefit from the completion of the project. 

Refresh their minds on what their primary goal is and explain how you will achieve their goal with your project. 

Write your project methodology

In the project methodology section of your proposal, walk the project funder through exactly HOW you will achieve the objectives stated in the previous section. 

Give a clear description of how you plan to achieve your desired objectives. 

This is what you planned to include in your project methodology: {{form.Project_Methodology}}

Complete the following sub-tasks to make sure you have included everything and covered every angle: 

  • 1
    Confirm how the team will be organized
  • 2
    Identify what tools will be used
  • 3
    Establish how changes will be addressed during the execution

Check your project methodology

Read through your project methodology and answer the following questions to make sure you have a sound methodology: 

  • 1
    Have you established how you are going to achieve the objectives?
  • 2
    Have you established what methods you will use to achieve the objectives?
  • 3
    Have you established how you will measure or recognize your project’s achievements?

Project deliverables & timings

List the deliverable tasks that are required for the project as well as an estimation of the hours required to complete each one.

These should be specific and never over- or under-promise.

This is what you planned to include in this section: {{form.Project_Deliverables_&_Timeline}}

Use the below as a framework to help you create this section in your proposal document

Describe how you will manage risk

The risk management section within your proposal needs to confirm how you plan to manage change during project execution. 

This is what you planned to include in this section: {{form.Risk_Management}}

To help you identify how you will manage change within your project, answer the below question and include this in your proposal. 

Confirm the project costs

Provide a breakdown of all direct and indirect costs involved in the project costs section of your proposal.

Include costs that directly relate to the benefit being created by the project, including production, marketing or distribution costs. 

Include indirect costs that are not directly identified with the project benefits, including facilities use, utilities, support staff, insurance, and legal /accounting expenses. 

This is what you planned to include in this section: {{form.Project_Costs}}

Write your conclusion

Use the conclusion section to convince your proposal reviewer of the potential impact of your proposed project.

This is what you planned to include in this section: {{form.Conclusion}}

Make sure your conclusion includes the following: 

  • 1
    Limitations and weaknesses if you don't implement the project
  • 2
    How these limitations/weaknesses might be overcome if your project proposal was to be accepted

Write the project summary

The project summary should present the reasons for doing this project as well as stating all of the objectives. In this section in particular, it is very important to write concisely and clearly. Even though the project summary should go at the beginning of your proposal, some project professionals suggest writing the project summary last.

Write your project summary in your proposal document and then check it includes the following: 

  • 1
    The project objectives
  • 2
    The expected outcomes and how will you achieve them
  • 3
    Why your project is important
  • 4
    Who you are as a business

Pre-Submission Tasks:

Check the aesthetics

Read through your proposal and check for the following aesthetic/formatting errors: 

  • 1
    Is there a title page with all the necessary information describing this document?
  • 2
    Does the organization of the proposal enhance the content and make it easy to find/avoid types of information?
  • 3
    Are the margins consistent?
  • 4
    Is pagination accurate?
  • 5
    Did you use a consistent type-style?
  • 6
    Did you use sign-posting and color coding where appropriate?
  • 7
    Have you used visual aids such as charts, tables, diagrams where appropriate?

Check the structure

Read through your proposal and check it follows the EXACT structure stated in the guidelines.

If the guidelines do not specify a structure to follow, make check your proposal has the following sections at least: 

  • Title page
  • Table of contents
  • Project summary
  • Introduction
  • Objectives
  • History
  • Responsible parties 
  • Client benefits
  • Project methodology
  • Project deliverables/timings 
  • Risk management
  • Project costs
  • Conclusion 

Check the language

Read through your proposal again and answer the following questions to make sure your proposal is informative and interesting to read: 

  • 1
    Is the language uncluttered and concise?
  • 2
    Have you avoided using technical terms and jargon wherever possible?
  • 3
    Do you use objective language?
  • 4
    Have you avoided subjective terms?
  • 5
    Is the tone friendly but informative?
  • 6
    Is it written in a storytelling style?

Send your proposal to a "cold reader" to review

Upload the first draft of your finished proposal document and send it to a "cold reader" to review. Give them a copy of the proposal guidelines/requirements, but little other information.

Ask them to read the proposal quickly (as this is how the proposal reviewer is likely to view your proposal) and ask them to answer the following two questions: 

  • Do they understand it?
  • Does it make sense?

Implement their feedback

Update your current proposal document and record the feedback you have received for future proposals.

Check the proposal against the RFP

Read the proposal through for the final time and double-check it is aligned with the RFP guidelines.

Answer these questions before uploading the final proposal document, ready for internal approval: 

  • 1
    Have you presented a compelling case for your project?
  • 2
    Does your project seem feasible? Is it overly ambitious? Does it have other weaknesses?
  • 3
    Have you stated the means that reader can use to evaluate the success of your project after you’ve executed it?

Send for internal approval

Will be submitted for approval:
  • Check the proposal against the RFP
    Will be submitted

Submit the proposal

Submit your proposal in-line with any requirements. 

{{form.Final_Proposal}}

Sources:

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