A project proposal is one of the most important documents that you will have to write on your way from your first idea to a well-thought project strategy. It’s not only significant because it should thoroughly explain your project and keep you focused, but also because it becomes the deciding factor for getting the funds and necessary infrastructure for its realization.
According to REPOA, a high- quality project proposal should logically present the idea as well as to define the activities and deadlines as specifically as possible, justify the budget, and emphasize the significance of the project.
To help you write an irresistible proposal, in this article, we’re showing you:
- how a perfect proposal structure looks like
- essential tips for every step of proposal writing
The Structure of a Perfect Project Proposal
When writing a project proposal, you should be aware that this document is the key factor that potential investors will have in mind when making a decision. That’s why it’s extremely important to make it concise, detailed, and follow a logical order.
First, you should explain its background as well as the seriousness of the problem you’re addressing. Then, you should minutely elaborate the way your project will solve it. Finally, you should talk about the ways of providing the sustainability. If you’re wondering how to transform these basic steps in an impressive document structure, read on and find out what are the key elements of a perfect proposal.
#1 Executive summary
The executive summary is an incredibly important element of a proposal since it’s the first thing somebody reads. If it’s not good enough, it’s also the only part read. In this section, you should explain the project shortly answering the crucial questions, such as: what you want to succeed, where, why, how long it’s going to take, and who you are addressing with your project.
Essential tip: Be concise and write it only once you’ve finished the entire proposal.
#2 Organization Description
If you don’t include a well-written organization description in your proposal, you’ll lose a chance to establish credibility; hence, potential investors will be less likely to support your project. You should mention:
- your business philosophies,
- values you share,
- organizational structure details,
- previous and current partnerships and achievements.
That way, you’re indirectly letting them know you’re capable of performing the project once it’s approved.
Essential tip: Keep it short, simple, and informative. If you want to give a detailed presentation of your business as well, you should do so by attaching the brochure of your business – not by making a novel from a simple description.
#3 Project Justification
Until you convince that the project is important for dealing with a specific issue, no one would bother about taking a look. Here, you should cover:
- the triggers of raw initiator’s idea
- the research performed to realize the project importance
- the way the project fits into the existing development programme
- interested parties recognizing the issue that project addresses
Essential tip: This is the part of your proposal that tells a lot about the quality of your project. By showing you’ve got partners interested in working on it with you, as well as necessary experience and knowledge, you prove that you’re capable of implementing the idea effectively. So, make sure you write the project justification that focuses on these elements.
#4 Problem definition
Apart from talking about your project, it is crucial that you pay attention to defining the problem your project addresses. In this section, let the potential donors see the size and the scope of the problem, explaining both causes and effects, and all the ways it affects people.
Essential tip: Define your project so that it’s concrete, solvable, and show why it should be a priority.
#5 Overall and specific objectives setup
This part of your proposal should consist of precisely defined objectives divided into three sections:
- long-term goals
- project purpose explained through successive goals
- expected outcomes of both specific and overall objectives
Essential tip: Define your project objectives adhering to SMART criteria. In other words, make them specific, measurable, acceptable, relevant and timely.
#6 Target group determination
A well-performed target group determination requires not only presenting the parties directly and indirectly affected by your project, but also showing at what point of your project realization they will be affected as well as what benefits they can expect.
Essential tip: Try to determine your target group as precisely as possible: their age, location, education, preferences, as well as its approximate size, to let your potential donors see that you’ve done it thoroughly.
#7 Project implementation
The plan of implementation is the part of your proposal where you should precisely present the activities and resources required for project realization. Who, when, and where are the main questions that should not be left unanswered. The project implementation section should be divided into two main plans:
- the resource plan, which should consist of all material means required for the project to be realized,
- the activity plan, with the detailed explanations and duration of each project segment.
Essential tip: The best way of organizing the implementation plan is the usage of Gantt charts or simple project management software.
This chapter of your proposal is especially important for potential investors, and it is extremely significant to organize it well, in accordance with the activity plan from the previous step. It should include the budget spreadsheet as well as budget justification.
Essential tip: Don’t increase the budget if you don’t have justification for it. The potential investors will want to know where exactly their money would go and if you don’t keep it transparent, you may end up rejected.
#9 Monitoring with evaluation
To convince your investors you’ve seriously thought about the ways of monitoring your project, in this section, you should include all performances that can be monitored, and define the criteria for success.
Essential tip: Explicitly list the tools for monitoring and methods of evaluation in your project proposal. This way, the investors will be able to make a judgment about how well-thought your monitoring plan is.
#10 Project sustainability
Even though it structurally takes place at the end of your project proposal, it’s an incredibly important part of it. It should show the potential investors that the project won’t stop producing value for both investors and target groups once it’s finished.
Essential tip: Make sure to present the sustainability plans from four crucial aspects that include: financial, technical, institutional, and socio-cultural sustainability.
Writing a Perfect Project Proposal Has Never Been Easier
The best way to make sure you will write a systematic and well-organized proposal is to approach the project planning thoroughly from the beginning, in accordance with the listed crucial proposal elements.
Using an easy project management software that will let you perceive both the entire project and its individual mutually intertwined parts is a useful means for the creation of a perfect project proposal. All you have to do is choose a simple software that suits your project needs and keep the detail-oriented approach as you write your way to the investors.