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Writing a Project Proposal

written by: Ronda Bowen • edited by: Michele McDonough • updated: 5/14/2013

This article features tips and tricks on writing project proposals. Find out what components project proposals contain, how to put together a good project proposal, and how to present the proposal in this article.

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    The Purpose of the Proposal

    By creating a project proposal, you can help gain grant money, investor money, and loan money for large projects. In addition, constructing a project proposal can help demonstrate to stakeholders that you are serious about the undertaking your team wishes to carry out. It serves as a guideline that you will come back to when writing the project plan and where you will define the project scope. You can download this project proposal template for your use.

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    What are the Components?

    picture Successful project proposals are short but well-defined. You should include in your project proposal:

    • An Introduction
    • Background for Undertaking the Project
    • Procedure for the Undertaking of the Project
    • The Project Budget

    The introduction of your project proposal should be short and it should inform those reading the proposal about three things: 1) What the project will accomplish 2) Why the project should be undertaken and 3) How your project will help the company to achieve its goals.

    The background will demonstrate the need for the project, and it will show how the project fits into the company's other projects and the company's goals. A well-written project background will show the effects of similar projects on other company's bottom line, and it will show how the idea for the project came up.

    When writing the procedure for undertaking the project, you will want to demonstrate to those reading the project proposal that you know how to make the project happen. This will be the longest section of your project proposal. You want those in key decision-making positions to understand that you know what you are doing. Items included in this section will include:

    • A well-constructed scope statement
    • A statement of all relevant milestones and deliverables
    • A statement of known risks and how they will be overcome
    • A list of relevant stakeholders, known team members, and how they will be involved
    • A timeline of how long the project will take

    Finally, you will want to be sure that your project proposal contains a budget. Make sure that your readers will know how much money you will need to undertake the project, when you will need the money, and how that money will be spent. The more detailed you are in this section, the easier it will be to acquire funding. After all, those providing money will want to know how it will be spent.

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    Tying Everything Up

    The writing in your project proposal should be concise. Make sure that no extraneous words occur in the description of the project. The reason for this is that excess "padding" can be seen as attempts to get something over on the reader. Make every word used count.

    Also, any charts that you can place in the proposal will help readers to visualize your project. For example, a well-placed graph demonstrating the timeline or major deliverables involved in the project can help the decision-makers to understand what exactly will be involved.

    Finally, you should include a summary paragraph restating the project scope, the project budget, and the importance of your project.