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What Is a Project Proposal?

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A project proposal has a simple purpose; to convince those with authority that a certain course of action is the right one to take. There are many reasons why a project proposal might be required; sometimes it will be used to convince a client about what their best option is in regards to achieving a certain goal. A project proposal might also come from within an organization as one member of the team tries to convince others of the best course of action for the company as a whole.

The Anatomy of a Project Proposal

The purpose of a project proposal is to persuade people that something is the right choice. For this persuasion to occur the proposal needs to be written in a certain way. Most importantly it needs to be clear and to the point so that readers will quickly be able to comprehend the arguments. Even if the project proposal contains justifiable argument it will only be effective if these claims are understandable and supported by evidence. Here is the anatomy of a project proposal:

  • Introduction. The purpose of the introduction is to hook the reader. You want to tell them what the project proposal is all about and give convincing reasons why the reader should give up their time to explore the document further. The introduction is like your sales pitch for the rest of the document.
  • Background. This is where you use historical evidence for why there is a problem and how your proposal is going to rectify this. As well as looking at the past this part of the document can also look to the future and make predictions about how adopting your proposal will improve things.
  • Your strategy. This is where things really get interesting as you lay out in precise detail the strategy of your proposal. Here you will need to be clear about what needs to be done and what resources are going to be required. It is important that this part of the document is clear and comprehensive.
  • The budget for your proposal. The next part of the proposal will look at the budget required to make it a reality. These costs must be supported by documentation and not just figures that you have picked out of the air. Anyone considering the proposal needs to be convinced of the veracity of the proposed budget before they will accept it.
  • The outcome of implementing your proposal. This is your last chance to convince the reader of the benefits of your proposal. You will describe how implementing your proposal is going to change things in the future. You will want to leave the reader on a high so keep it upbeat and positive.

A project proposal falls under the category of persuasive writing, but it also has to be fully open to scrutiny. Just providing a convincing argument is not going to be enough in a project proposal because it also has be supported by evidence.

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Meet the Author

Anthony Carter currently resides in Fife, Scotland with his wife Lisa, and their three wonderful children. As a senior editor for various publications, if he's not reading and writing, you would find him photographing and traveling to some of the most far-flung locations around the world.


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