Project Proposal Writing: How To Write A Winning Project Proposal
How to Write a Proposal Letter
A proposal letter is a professional letter that states, in an abbreviated form, why an organization, institution, or company should support a professional venture of yours. You may write a proposal letter for a number of reasons—in particular, you may be requesting a grant, requesting a business loan, or requesting that a publisher accepts your book idea. There are general formats and specific arguments you should make in each instance. Here's what you should include.
Formatting the Letter
Write the sender's address at the top of the letter.In the upper left corner of the letter, write your your street address, city, state, and zip code. The street address should be on one line and the rest of the address should be on the following line and single-spaced.
- You do not need to include your name or title in the return address.
- Do not type out the return address at the top of the letter if you are using paper with a formal letterhead that already includes the address.
Include the current date.Double-space after the return address and type the current date inmonth-day-yearformat. The month should be spelled out, but the day and year should be represented by numerical values.
- The date should appear in the upper left corner of the letter.
- If you are not using a return address, the date should be the first piece of information on the letter.
Type the recipient's address.Double-space after the date and type the recipient's personal title, name, and address. Include the street address, city, state, and zip code.
- The personal title and name appears on one line, the street address on the next, and the rest of the address follows on the last line. The entire block should be left-aligned and single-spaced.
- It is always best to write to a specific individual at a company by name instead of writing a general letter to anyone who may read it.
Include an appropriate salutation.Double-space after the recipient's address and type the salutation "Dear" followed by the recipient's personal title and last name.
- If you do not know the recipient's gender, skip the personal title and use the recipient's full name.
- Follow the salutation with a colon.
Write the body of your letter.The exact content of your proposal letter may vary depending on the type of proposal you plan to write. The format of the letter should remain the same for each type, though.
- Single-space and left-justify each paragraph.
- Leave a blank line in between paragraphs.
- Do not indent the first line of your paragraph.
Use an appropriate closing and signature.Double-space after the final body paragraph and include a formal closing, followed by a comma. Hit the "Enter" key four times before typing your full name and professional title.
- Sign your name above the typed version on your letter and below the closing.
- Possible closings to use include:
- Thank you
- Best regards
Mention any enclosures.If you send any enclosures with your proposal letter, like a resume with an employment proposal or financial information with a business proposal, indicate this by typing "Enclosures" one line below your typed name.
- You also have the option of listing each document you are enclosing below the "Enclosures" label.
Include typist initials, when applicable.If someone else typed the letter, include those initials on the left side of the letter on the final line.
- Do not include typist initials if the person signing the letter is the same person who wrote it.
Writing a Grant Proposal Letter
Review eligibility guidelines.Most public and private organizations that issue grants for research or other projects will have a list of eligibility requirements. You must meet these requirements and let the organization in question know that you meet those requirements, as well.
- Instead of dedicating an entire paragraph to explaining how you meet each requirement, weave this information into the body of your letter.
- For instance, if the organization has certain requirements concerning the types of projects the money can be used for and separate requirements about how that money will be allotted, describe these issues in separate paragraphs instead of trying to cram all the information into one.
Introduce your organization.If you are not in regular contact with the grant organization, you should introduce your organization in the first body paragraph of your letter.
- State the name of your organization, what it does, why it does it, and who benefits from your organization's work.
- If you have had previous contact with the grant agency or organization, mention any changes or developments your organization has made since you were last in contact.
Explain what you need the grant for and why this is important.In your next body paragraph, you should explain what you are trying to accomplish and for whom you are trying to accomplish it.
- You should also explain why your research, charitable effort, or venture is important and what sort of outcome you are expecting to have.
Provide a setting for the project.In another paragraph, you should include information about the timeline your project will require and, when applicable, the place the project will occur at.
- State when the project will begin and how long you expect it to run.
- Some grants are location-specific. If this is true of the grant you apply for, you will need to indicate where your organization is based, the geographic area that will be studied during your project, or the geographic area that will benefit from the project.
Mention how much the project will cost and how much grant money you are requesting.You will need to state how much your project will cost overall so that the grant organization can get an idea of how crucial its funding is.
- If you are applying for a grant without a pre-determined funding amount, you should write how much money you are requesting.
Include any additional information requested.The grant agency or organization may not require any additional information, but if additional documents are needed, you will need to include them as enclosures.
- Additional documents may include financial budgets, past financial records, and past records indicating the success of similar projects performed by your organization in the past.
Writing a Business Financing Proposal Letter
Refer to any prior contact.If your business is already established and has a previous relationship with the lender or funder you are contacting, mention that prior contact.
- If you interacted with a specific contact at the company, mention that individual by name.
Discuss your company.Provide a brief summary of your business so that the funder can get a good understanding of who you are and what you do.
- Include your mission statement and a short description of the products or services your company provides.
- To make your case more convincing, you should also include the number of customers served, the number of employees, and information about any administrative boards.
Describe the amount of funding you need from the funder.Explain why you need financial help from the funder and how much funding you are requesting.
- Mention what, specifically, the funding will be used for.
- You may need to include brief budget data that spells out how funds have been used in the past and projections on how the funds will be used this time around. This additional data may need to be included as a separate attachment or in the body of the letter.
- Regardless of how much information you include in the body of the letter itself, you should always state the total cost of the project and how much of that cost will be covered by the funder's support.
Explain how you will use the funding.You need to provide enough information about how funds granted by the funder will be used to make the prospective funder curious.
- This should only be a summary. With a full-scale proposal, this information can take pages. This information should take no more than a half page when writing a shorter proposal letter, however.
Offer to provide additional details.Since a proposal letter is shorter than a full proposal, you should offer to provide additional detail if it is requested.
- You can also offer to meet with the funder personally or via the telephone.
Include any necessary enclosures.If the prospective funder requires additional documentation, include it in the envelop as an enclosure.
- Possible documentation includes a list of board members, copies of your tax documents, financial documents, and resumes of key staff members.
Writing a Book Proposal Letter
Check the submission guidelines.Every publishing agency and publisher has its own set of submission guidelines. These can usually be found on the publisher's website, but if not, you should call or write to the company and request a copy of those guidelines before proceeding.
- Submission guidelines outline the types of books a publisher or agent will accept, as well as the format the proposal letter should be in when submitted.
Defend your idea.The first part of your book proposal is the query letter, in which you need to convince the agent or publisher that the novel you want to submit should be successful in the market.
- Write a brief but intriguing summary of your book in the first paragraph. In the case of fiction or creative non-fiction, outline the your narrative and describe your main characters.
- State whether or not the book is finished. Note that some publishers will not accept proposals for unfinished works.
- Write a second paragraph describing the essentials of the book. This includes the genre, word count, and the market the book should be pitched to. Also note any images that accompany the book.
Describe the target market.Explain who your target market is and provide statistics about what that target market looks for as it applies to your book.
- Thoroughly describe the demographic your book is aimed at and make sure that your statistics address that demographic in specific, rather than general, terms.
- Perform a competitive analysis.Every book has competitors. List a few main competitors to your book and explain how well these competitors do in the market as well as why your book will offer something its competitors do not offer.
Provide biographical information.Describe yourself and explain why you are the perfect person to write this book.
- Mention any writing experience and publishing experience you have.
- Also mention any experience you have with the subject matter your book deals with. For instance, if you write a book about fashion and had experience as a fashion designer, include that in your letter.
Summarize your marketing plan.Provide specific information about what your plans are concerning the promotion of your book once it gets published.
- Be specific, not general. Do not state what you are willing to do but what you will do.
- Possible forms of marketing include professional blogs, book signings, and professional conferences.
Include a synopsis.You will usually need to include a one to two page synopsis describing your book in full detail. This will be included as an enclosure, not as part of the main body of the letter.
- Provide a full summary of the entire plot and purpose of your book. Include all details about the plot and significant sub-plots.
- Write the synopsis in third-person.
Enclose a sample table of contents, when requested.Some publishers will request a table of contents if you are submitting a proposal for a nonfiction book.
- If you do not have a table of contents, you may need to provide a brief summary of each chapter.
Enclose an extract, when requested.Some publishers and agents will request the first few pages or chapters of your book. Others may only ask for an extract without specifying which part of the book the extract needs to be pulled from.
- Regardless, the extract should be an example of your strongest writing.
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Video: How to Write a Business Proposal? 7 Minutes Step-by-Step Guide
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