Church outreaches attempt to extend the services offered to the congregation into a local community to make a positive difference. Putting together a detailed proposal will help church leadership and congregational members to decide whether or not an outreach is worthy of the additional time or money required to offer these services. Creating the proposal involves detailing out who the outreach is to benefit, why the church should follow through with it and a potential time line of implementation and at least the first year's required operational costs.

Create a file that will detail the proposal. This can be done using a computer software system or can be done simply by hand, with all organizational strategies detailed.

Create four separate sections, labeled, "Objective," "Why," "Time Line," and "Estimated Costs." Each section will detail the information of the designated topic.

Write out who the outreach is supposed to help and through what means next to "Objective." For example when proposing an inmate letter writing program, "Inmate letter writing supports those who have signed up to receive pen pals through already existing religious inmate pen pal organizations.The objective of this program is to support inmates who are seeking spiritual guidance."

Within the "Why," section, detail why the church should consider the proposed outreach. For example, "Those that purposely seek spiritual guidance may not be able to get the support they need due to the inmate to clergy staff ratios. The church can send letters, cards, hand drawn pictures and more to personally encourage specific inmates."

Create a detailed time line within the "Time Line" section of the proposal. Designate what will occur within specified intervals. For example, within 30 days, gather three to five inmate pen pal ministry initiatives to choose from. Choose from the select ministries. Within 60 days, offer a sign up for those interested in participating. Continue within these 30 day intervals chronicling how and when to involve the church leaders, staff and congregation throughout the entire process.

Detail the costs involved in operating the outreach under the "Cost" section. For example, one entry might be "Writing one inmate once a week will involve $5 in postage to cover the cost of shipping letters or other items. A separate post office box is not necessary because the mail will come to the existing church address." Continue listing all costs including any additional salary or overtime required of church staff who will aid in facilitating the project, the cost of envelopes, ink and other supplies. Make sure that this list is extremely detailed, with no omissions.

Proofread and have another person review the proposal prior to submitting the proposal for consideration.


This suggested proposal can be used for any type of program. The inmate pen pal program is simply used as an example to illustrate the process, from beginning to end.


Back up the statements in your "Why" section with facts and data when possible. For example, "Statistics show that inmates who regularly correspond with others can make more of their time inside and help them with skills and points of view that can help them upon release."


Do not underestimate the outreach costs because it can have a negative impact once the outreach is in full swing.