Project funding is the best solution for people who have a great idea for a project, have all the necessary skills, but lack of money to bring it to life. But how do you convince someone that you deserve the money and not somebody else? Read these tips and suggestions to find out!
Simply put, a business proposal is a formal request from a business-owner or an individual sent to another company or organization with a bid to complete a certain project.
With that being said, don’t confuse a business proposal with a business plan. People often mistakenly mix these two separate entities into one. While you can and should use your business or project plan as a basis for a proposal, you can’t replace one with the other.
The first advice we will give you in regards to writing a good proposal is to include the following:
- problem statement;
- proposed solution;
After you’ve figured out these three elements, you are ready to dive into the meat of things.
How to convince people that your project is needed
These days, potential funding organizations are swamped with hundreds of people hoping that they will receive the money they require. It’s getting harder and harder to convince them that your project stands out and deserves their attention and funds. That’s why writing a professional project proposal is more important than ever before.
Here are some of the best tips on how to approach potential funding organizations:
- Know every little detail about your project
- Complete your project proposal before applying
Far too often people see a possible financing source or a grant opportunity and immediately run to it. Project funding isn’t a “first come – first served” kind of deal. There’s no need to rush to the finish line if you aren’t even in the race.
- Know the need;
- Know the size of your project and your limits.
When applying, people often tend to promise unrealistic things and set over-the-top goals. It’s a part human nature – we want to impress, so we exaggerate. Yet, when all is said and done, and the project is finished – you risk underperforming. As a result, instead of celebrating your success, you end up in a world of new problems.
- Be passionate about your project
Using only numbers and facts can often prove to be lackluster when trying to convince a funder. You need to get them as interested in your project as you are. If they don’t care about your cause – they won’t give you any money.
- Look for the right funders
People searching for project financing have a tendency to submit an application at any opportunity they have. Thus, they disregard the possible requirements that the funding organization may have. Instead, we suggest you strive to find the right fit, “the funder of your dreams” – then winning the funding will be a piece of cake.
How to write a proposal for funding a project
Now it’s time to talk about how to write a winning proposal. First of all, you have to take care of the logical points. When sketching your draft, make sure you know the answers to the following questions:
- Who will be the manager of the project and who will execute it?
- What are your project goals? What will you have to do to accomplish them?
- Where will you do all the work?
- When is the soonest you can start and how soon can you deliver the results?
- How will the work process go and who will oversee it? How can you limit the risks and maximize the profits?
- Why did you choose to plan the project the way you did? Why should a potential funder choose you?
As we've already stated, one of the things that are crucial in your proposal is the pricing. You have to predict how much labor and materials will cost and how much you need to ask for funding them. A good rule to follow is to multiply your estimate by 1.5. Why? Because we live in a world, where everything turns out to be more expensive and complicated than we initially thought.
The structure of a proposal for project funding usually follows an unofficial scheme. The document begins with an introduction with a summary of the project. Then we have the body that goes into the details of what you offer. And then we have a conclusion that calls a potential funder to action.
- Part 1 – Introduction
Begin with introducing yourself and your company. Then describe your project in such a manner that will be relatable to the funding organization. You can add a short story about your cause if you think it will help create a bond with them. Be sure to emphasize any achievements you may have.
The preferred length of this part is under one page.
- Part 2 – Project Summary
This is a crucial part of your proposal. Here you have to convince the potential funders that you deserve their money and convey the central message of your proposal. Don’t try to talk about every little detail, but dedicate it solely to the thoughts you want the funders to have after reading it. Strive to use short, persuasive sentences.
The desirable length is also under one page.
- Part 3 – ToC
If your proposal is on the longer side, then you should consider adding a Table of Contents. Even though it is not mandatory, we do advise you to write a short proposal.
- Part 4 – Body
Since you’ve covered the main point of your proposal in the Project Summary part, here, you can dive in into the specific characteristics of your project. This is the place where your answers to the “Who? When? Why?” questions will come in handy. The Body part has to include all the logistics and the pricing. This is also the section where you put any disclaimers you may have so that the funders won’t be expecting more than you can do.
If you have reviews from former clients or an excellent website, you can also include them here.
- Part 5 – Conclusion
Now that you’ve dealt with all the details of your proposal, it’s time to remind the funding organization what the primary goal of your project is. This section is also the right place to include a call to action that will increase your chances of winning their funding.
After completing your proposal, you need to get it proofread. Preferably it should be done by several people, maybe even a professional. They need to check the text for grammatical and spelling errors, and to ensure that you use only clear simple language.
Another thing you have to keep in mind is that the proposal should not be overly long. A potential funder needs to have the ability to absorb it in one sitting (about eight minutes).
Tip: To keep the proposal short, try to watch out for repetition. Avoid repeating the same thoughts over and over again, even if they are crucial.
After you’ve sent your proposal, it’s important to keep in touch with your potential funders and to send them reminders. The rest is out of your hands.