Date of publication: 2017-08-25 16:26
No matter what type of media you opt to add to your proposal, you want to make sure it both supports and is supported by the message you are trying to convey to your audience and the best way to do that is with thoughtful formatting.
For example, “Microsoft” is always gender neutral ( it/its ), whereas “Bill Gates” always adopts the masculine personal pronouns ( he, his, him ) and can function in pluralities of people ( we/us/our/they/them/theirs ). Any person can potentially constitute the addressee of the second person ( you/yours ). This is a detail that will greatly improve the overall readability of your proposal.
Sometimes the requirements of the client or the format of a document inhibits your ability to use the full formula. Resumes and forms sometimes fall into this category.
Mixed media can really fix up a drab proposal, but you don’t want to ignore the time-honored usefulness of images. Images are a great way to convey an idea succinctly in a proposal. Here are some design considerations for use in business proposals:
There’s nothing to be afraid of when it comes to choosing the sequence of the sections in your proposal writing. If you know sales, you automatically know the basic format for writing a winning business proposal. It’s easy to keep your proposal on-track, just by following the well-established sales format in your proposal writing.
Your proposal is meant to cause an “actionable outcome” (as is popular to say these days), so it should follow a format that is shaped around resulting in a buying action. If your proposal assumes a format that keeps your offer clear, its benefit to the prospect, and makes it easy to be awarded, you’ve done your job. Impart all the singularity of purpose you can to your proposal writing and you will win more bids.
By using bullet lists, you can often take large paragraphs and break them down in a more readable fashion. Bullet lists are easier for readers to absorb and it’s more likely that they will take the time to read a bullet list. You can often convey the same information, but in bullet list format. Furthermore, important points or summaries often benefit from the use of bullet lists.
The pages of your proposal are not inbound landing pages, but there are certain corollaries, especially when it comes to offering contact buttons in-page. When you offer a contact point on every page of your proposal, you open up your proposal to more chances to be accepted. This keeps the sales process involved in the proposal interactive, allowing for two-way communication.
Fifth, decide whether you can demonstrate that your program addresses the need differently or better than other projects that preceded it. It is often difficult to describe the need for your project without being critical of the competition. But you must be careful to do so. Being critical of other nonprofits will not be well received by the funder. It may cause the funder to look more carefully at your own project to see why you felt you had to build your case by demeaning others. The funder may have invested in these other projects or may begin to consider them, now that you have brought them to the funder's attention.
A narrative portion of the budget is used to explain any unusual line items in the budget and is not always needed. If costs are straightforward and the numbers tell the story clearly, explanations are redundant.
We have discussed writing winning proposals quite a bit around these parts (to say the least!), covering various aspects of planning and proposal writing at length. So this month, I thought we would take the business of writing to a discussion on a deeper level, exploring the nuts and bolts of choosing the right form and style to win, again and again. While further exploring much of what we’ve already perused in older posts, we’re honing in on some of the make-or-break elements of business writing.
Normally a resume of your nonprofit organization should come at the end of your proposal. Your natural inclination may be to put this information up front in the document. But it is usually better to sell the need for your project and then your agency's ability to carry it out.
You want the need section to be succinct, yet persuasive. Like a good debater, you must assemble all the arguments. Then present them in a logical sequence that will readily convince the reader of their importance. As you marshal your arguments, consider the following six points.
During this part of the formula, we describe the solution and give examples of the solution in action. In most proposal content, you or your firm will be the hero of our story. The solution is how you solved the problem and saved the damsel in distress. In the case of a new service offering, this might also take the form of telling how the problem could be solved in a new and better way.