In this articleHere are four of my top tips to keep your proposal from being trashed:
1. Answer The Mail — Don’t Make Your Readers ThinkIf your audience has asked for something specific, don’t make them search for it in your proposal. Use the terminology from their ask, answer their questions explicitly with their exact question listed verbatim, and consider providing a reference table indicating where your proposal addresses scored criteria. Don’t bury the lead!
2. Mind The Arc — Remember: You’re Telling A Story
Not every proposal is going to be read from front to back in its entirety, but it never hurts to make each section a free-standing narrative that is engaging, relevant, and informative.You might think of it as each section being an episode within one season of a television show: you can watch one on its own, but there are also themes and sub-plots that cut across the entire season to tie things all together.
3. Tailor, Tailor, Tailor! — Everything Should Fit The Ask
Don’t make the mistake of filling your proposal with boilerplate and pieces from previous proposals without investing the time to make sure every sentence is relevant to the ask.Do a line-by-line review of any content you’re not creating specifically for that proposal. Where possible, be explicit about how the content applies to them (for example: “we chose this case study because, like you, this organization needed…”).