How to Write a Professional Proposal

by George Lawrence J.D.; Updated September 26, 2017

Professional proposals cover several areas. People write them to secure money for research, to lure new investors or clients, and to propose new construction projects. According to the U.S.-Israel Science & Technology Foundation website, a good proposal answers the five “Ws”: who, what, when, where and why. Your proposal should describe who you are, what you want to accomplish with the proposal and why, when you intend to accomplish your task and where.

Step 1

Gather data and conduct research. You must know what you want to propose and what your ultimate goal is. Research the names and contact information for the people you need to send the proposal to. Do not start writing until you have the relevant information.

Step 2

Draft an outline your proposal. Professional proposals typically have the following sections: summary, concept, needs, objective, methods and expenses. Include subsections where appropriate. Under the “methods” section, for instance, you could include “timetable” and “project evaluation” subsections. Use bullet points under each major section of the proposal to list the concepts and ideas that must be included in each section.

Step 3

Flesh out each section by providing the intricate details about the proposal in the appropriate sections. Use the research and data you gathered. According to CapturePlanning.com, keep the following thoughts in mind as you write: inform the clients about what you can do for them and explain how your actions will accomplish the desired result.

Step 4

Include graphics such as graphs and charts to help explain the information. Graphics enhance the look of your proposal and increase its readability. Rather than describe the time line in a few paragraphs, for example, you could include a time line chart that tracks your intended progress.

Step 5

Finish the report by including a cover page with title and contact information and a table of contents. Include important documents that support your proposal at the back of the proposal in an “appendix” section. These documents ought to enhance the credibility of the proposal but do not need to be read in detail to grasp the concept of the proposal.

About the Author

Based in Traverse City, Mich., George Lawrence has been writing professionally since 2009. His work primarily appears on various websites. An avid outdoorsman, Lawrence holds Bachelor of Arts degrees in both criminal justice and English from Michigan State University, as well as a Juris Doctor from the Thomas M. Cooley Law School, where he graduated with honors.