How to Write & Develop a Proposal

Updated November 11, 2017

Step 1

Research the topic of your proposal thoroughly. Collect and evaluate the work other people have already done in the area. In the corporate world or the realm of nonprofits, this could entail examining existing businesses or nonprofit enterprises that are involved in similar pursuits. Pore over books and previously published papers for a proposal involving an academic project.

Step 2

Describe the issues your proposed project would address and why it is important to address them. Use any relevant information including statistics that you gathered while doing research. This is the part of the proposal where you should make a compelling case for your project. Offer a logical and coherent argument as to why your nonprofit deserves the grant or your business project deserves financial backing.

Step 3

Delineate your project's expected outcomes in terms that can be measured concretely. Explain how the project will be evaluated and judged on whether it achieved its objectives upon its completion. Include long-term as well as short-term objectives. This part is crucial in explaining how you will be held accountable to your academic superiors or your financial backers, depending on the type of proposal.

Step 4

Describe the methodology you plan to use in your project. This is the part of the proposal in which you make a plan of action. In an academic proposal, include descriptions of any calculations you will be using and what techniques you plan to employ. In any type of proposal, include information on any equipment or technology you will rely on.

Step 5

Delineate the qualifications you bring to the project, including prior experience and demonstrated expertise. List the key members of any team that will be working on the project along with their academic or employment history. Include the names of any consultants or consulting firms that will be involved.

Step 6

Show the cost of the project, breaking it down into annual cost and overall cost if appropriate. Divide the budget into categories such as salaries, benefits, travel costs and the costs of equipment and supplies. For a nonprofit proposal, include information on documents regarding articles of incorporation, tax exemption certificates and bylaws in this section.

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About the Author

Steven Wilkens has been a professional editor and writer since 1994. His work has appeared in national newspapers and magazines, including "The Honolulu Advertiser" and "USA Today." Wilkens received a Bachelor of Arts in English from Saint Joseph's University.