How to write a project proposal

Updated February 21, 2017

A project proposal is a document that is written with a specific purpose in mind: to convince someone that a project can and should be completed. Although there isn't a universal format for project proposals, many elements in proposals are important, and often, mandatory. Above all else, you must remember that a project proposal is an argument. If you don't present a viable and logical argument, your proposal will likely be rejected.

Analyse your audience. Decide who will be reading the document and how they will be interacting with the document. The simplest way to conduct an audience analysis is to write down what prior knowledge the audience may have about the topic. This will help you determine how much detail to include in the proposal.

Write an introduction and place it under a header labelled "Introduction." This should be a brief description of the overall project and a statement about why it is a relevant and important project.

Include a section about previous or related work. Place this under a header labelled "Background." If there is research or other similar projects related to your own proposal, you must include this information. Including this shows the reader that you have done your homework and are knowledgeable about your topic.

Write out the specific proposal under a header labelled "Proposed Work." This includes the entire scope of the project and the details related to each component of the project. Include a list of project outcomes. This allows the reader to see tangible results from your project.

Include a project timeline, which can fall under "Proposed Work." Alternatively, you can add a new section entitled "Project Timeline." The timeline should be based on each component of the project. Include information about how long a component of a project will take, who will be responsible for completing the task and the specific dates associated with a task. Present this data in a table. To insert a table in Microsoft Word, click the "Insert" tab and select "Table." Enter the number of rows and columns you want to include in the table.

Write out a budget and place it under a header labelled "Budget." Present the expenses that the project requires. Write out a brief explanation for each budget item.

Conclude by stating the significance of the project. Tell the reader how your project will directly impact or improve the reader's life.

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About the Author

Art Corvelay is a freelance writer for demand studios who has been writing and editing for five years. He holds a Ph.D. in technical communication and teaches courses in writing and editing at the university level.