How to write a project proposal

How to write a project proposal

Writing a project proposal is not something you just pick a pen to start writing or just a computer and start typing. Writing a project proposal that will get approval requires work, expertise, and time. Learn how to write a project proposal that will get the approval of the board, stakeholders or sponsors.

How to write a project proposal

A project proposal is a very important document that is used to sell a potential project idea to stakeholders and sponsors. It is used in companies and organizations to pitch new project or product ideas that will benefit them to the stakeholders. It is used by entrepreneurs trying to sell their ideas to potential sponsors.

The goal of writing a proposal is to convince the stakeholders and sponsors that the project or product is worth staking their money on. This means you have to do a thorough job in writing the proposal. Writing a project proposal may not be rocket science or something very difficult, but it is still something that requires some level of expertise.

Another thing to note is that project proposals may be unique depending on the type of project but the project proposal format to follow is the same.

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How to write a proposal for a project

How to write a proposal for a project

Before we write about the format of a project proposal, let us highlight the important questions a project proposal is meant to answer or tackle:

  • The first question is: what is the problem that you are trying to solve with your project?
  • How does this project align with the goals and objectives of your company/organization?
  • What is the benefit of this project/product to the consumers?
  • How will you measure the success of the project/product? What metrics or statistics will define its success?
  • What is the timeframe for the accomplishment of the projects? What are the deadlines that have to be met for the success of the project? And how do you plan to meet this deadline?
  • What are the resources needed for the project and how do you plan on getting them?
  • How much will the project cost? You must be able to give a very detailed and convincing budget.
  • What are the issues that might arise in the course of execution and what are the risks?
  • The proposal must highlight the people needed for execution of the project and their roles.
  • And finally, the proposal must reveal the details of how the project will be reported.

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A man working on a project proposal

Writing of proposal in three stages

They include:

  1. Understanding the type of project proposal you are writing.
  2. Planning your proposal.
  3. Writing the proposal.

Stage 1 - Types of a project proposal

To write a good project proposal you should choose one of six types of proposals listed below:

  1. Continuation
  2. Formally solicited
  3. Informally solicited
  4. Unsolicited
  5. Renewal
  6. Supplemental

You can check and read up about each of these types of project proposal if you don’t have an idea of what they are.

How to write a good project proposal

Stage 2 - How to plan your proposal

Before you dabble in writing your proposal, you need to plan your proposal. Planning is a key stage. It involves doing thorough research on everything relating to the project. Below are some of the important things you should do in the planning stage of your project proposal:

  1. You should define your audience. Make some researches about the people you are presenting the proposal to. If you want your proposal to be approved, then you have to be able to convince the person reading or listening to it.
  2. Make in-depth research on the current state of the topic or issue your project is addressing or all about. This will help you to back your project with proofs for a more convincing proposal and also make the necessary adjustment to your project (solution you are offering).
  3. Also, you should have a clear definition of the proposal. Clearly define what the project is about and the goals of the project.
  4. Make enough research to be able to predict the effect the project will have if approved.
  5. Make adequate findings on the resources, personnel and time the project will take.
  6. Finally, create an outline of the proposal document.

These might not be all that you will need to do in planning. You might need to do more than stated above. The goal of planning is to get your facts right and straight and to be able to prepare yourself to answer any follow-up questions after presenting your proposal.

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Project proposal template

Stage 3 - Writing the project proposal

Now let’s get down to the main business which is the writing of the proposal. You can use the format below to write your proposal.

  1. Begin with the Introduction/Executive summary. This part is critical. You can think of it as your elevator pitch. The goal of this part is to introduce the project in a way that will get the attention of the stakeholders and sponsors.
  2. Outline the problem or the presenting opportunity. Every project proposal is to solve a problem or exploit an opportunity. Describe the problem or opportunity in detail.
  3. Explain the solution you are offering or how you want to exploit the opportunity.
  4. The justification (justify your solution).
  5. The schedule and the budget.
  6. How the whole thing will be measured/tracked.
  7. The conclusion.

Remember the goal of your proposal is to get your project approved and funded. So you need to put all your affords in writing an excellent proposal and be ready to answer every follow-up question.

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