18 – Proposals

Introduction to Proposals

Suzan Last; David McMurrey; Annemarie Hamlin; Chris Rubio; Michele DeSilva; and Nicole Hagstrom-Schmidt

Proposals and reports (for progress reports, see Chapter 19) are some of the most common types of reports you will likely compose in the workplace. Proposals are especially common in grant-driven fields, such as academia, public health, and nonprofits.

A proposal, in the technical sense, is a document that tries to persuade the reader to implement a proposed plan or approve a proposed project. Most businesses rely on effective proposal writing to ensure successful continuation of their businesses and to get new contracts. In a proposal, the writer tries to convince the reader of the following things:

  1. The proposed plan or project is worth the time, energy, and expense necessary to implement or see through.
  2. The author represents the best candidate for implementing the idea.
  3. The proposed project or plan will result in tangible benefits for the reader.

Example scenarios where a proposal might be called for are listed below:

  • A company has a problem or wants to make some sort of improvement. The company sends out a request for proposals; you receive the request and respond with a proposal. You offer to come in, investigate, interview, make recommendations, and present all this information in the form of a report.
  • An organization wants a seminar in your expertise. You write a proposal to give the seminar and provide a guide or handbook that the people attending the seminar will receive.
  • An agency has just started using a new online data system, but the user’s manual is technically complex and difficult to read. You receive a request from this agency for proposals to write a simplified guide or startup guide.
  • A nonprofit organization focused on a particular issue wants a consultant to write a handbook or guide for its membership. This document will present information on the issue in a way that the members can understand. The organization asks you to submit a proposal detailing how you would fulfill this need.

This text was derived from

Last, Suzan, with contributors Candice Neveu and Monika Smith. Technical Writing Essentials: Introduction to Professional Communications in Technical Fields. Victoria, BC: University of Victoria, 2019. https://pressbooks.bccampus.ca/technicalwriting/. Licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License.

Gross, Allison, Annemarie Hamlin, Billy Merck, Chris Rubio, Jodi Naas, Megan Savage, and Michele DeSilva. Technical Writing. Open Oregon Educational Materials, n.d. https://openoregon.pressbooks.pub/technicalwriting/. Licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 4.0 International License.

McMurrey, David. Online Technical Writing. n.d. https://www.prismnet.com/~hcexres/textbook/. Licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License.

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Introduction to Proposals by Suzan Last; David McMurrey; Annemarie Hamlin; Chris Rubio; Michele DeSilva; and Nicole Hagstrom-Schmidt is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 4.0 International License, except where otherwise noted.

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