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what is a proposal outline

what is a proposal outline
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What does the proposal mean? and the basic characteristics of the written proposal document. How important is the written proposal document? In this article you will deal with the basic aspect of writing a good proposal document.

 What is a proposal? 

A proposal document is the initial document which is written for a specific goal and to persuade the reader/ sponsor about your project/idea. For example, a proposal document can be written to get a governmental grant or written to get a donation for a project.

 Proposal characteristics: 

1- A proposal document is written to persuade the reader about a specific topic/ project. So, the proposal is a persuasive document.

2- In general, the proposal document is written for an external customer/ organization.

3- General types of proposal documents can be solicited proposals or unsolicited proposals.

4- The written proposal document can be written by organization or by individuals to another organization or individual.

5- The length of a written proposal document varies from one proposal document to another. The length of the proposal can be from 2 pages to more pages according to the writing proposal itself and the goal of writing a proposal.

 Why is a proposal document important? 

The basic aim to write a proposal is to persuade the reader about your topic. If the reader sees that your proposal document is persuasive and gets all details and benefits to him, then you will reach your goal. so, it is very important to get an effective proposal document to get what you want.

 Types of proposal 

Types of proposal document are classified according to three categories which are:

Firstly, structure of proposal

  • Formal written proposals: the formal written proposals usually written for big and long projects and contain sections and subsections. formal written proposals require more details to explain the project plan.
  • Informal written proposals: the informal written proposals usually contain a brief description of the suggestion or recommendations.


Secondly, source of origin

  • Solicited written proposals: the solicited written proposals are written to respond according to a specific request for proposal.
  • Unsolicited written proposals: but the unsolicited written proposals are written without any request of a proposal.

Thirdly, nature of audience

  • Internal written proposals: the internal written proposals are written for readers inside the organization.
  • External written proposals: on the other hand, the external written proposals are written for readers outside the organization. External proposals are more formal with a lot of details for a project.

Assistance in writing the proposal

 How do you outline a proposal? 

A written proposal document includes basic components that must appear in every proposal document. These elements are counted first in a proposal outline which explain the major titles and subtitles in the proposal document. proposal outline elements are listed and ordered as follow:

  • First outline proposal element: cover page

Cover page is the first element in the proposal outline document. Also, the cover page is the first page that is seen by the reader so write in a good way to give a good impression to your reader. include in the cover page the name of your project/ idea and your / organization name.

  • Second outline proposal element: introduction

Introduction is the second element in a proposal document outline and it is sometimes called an executive summary or abstract.  you have to include in the introduction element a summary about the whole information that explained in the written proposal document. in addition to, include your goals, significant methods to use. executive summary is a summary that explains why your written proposal document is the right one.

  • Third outline proposal element: problem statement

Problem statement is the third outline element in a written proposal document. It is also called the statement of need or project problem. at the problem outline element explain what exactly the proposal problem is. In other words, the problem should be clear and understandable by the reader and how can you solve this problem in your proposal document. Furthermore, you can add the activities that should be done in order to execute the project. 

  • Fourth outline proposal element: solution

Solution is the fourth outline element in the written proposal document. As its name seems, in the solution outline element you have explained what methods or approaches that you will follow to solve the problem that was discussed in the previous outline element.

  • Fifth outline proposal element: budget

Budget is the fifth outline element in the written proposal document. A good proposal document is that proposal that includes a specific detailed budget. budget should include all costs needed for the project for example, the number of employees and their salaries, equipment needed and any other costs the project may need.

  • Sixth outline proposal element: conclusion

Conclusion is the sixth and final outline element in the written proposal document. It is very important to conclude your proposal document in a good way. put in points the most needed information that the reader needs to know and why your proposal is significant in the addressed problem.

 Some aspects in a written project proposal 

  • Inputs: inputs are the resources which are required to do your project.
  • Activities: activities mean the actions that you have to take in order to make your project.
  • Output: outputs are the instant results achieved in a project and made after the activities finished.
  • Outcome: simply, outcomes are the results and effects of the project outputs. In other words, the outcomes are the results which are achieved after some time from the completion of project activities.
  • Impact: impacts are the results we actually need which are achieved long term after project funding.

 Guided tips for writing an effective proposal/ project proposal 

  • First guided tip: use a simple and good language to write your proposal document. Please, do not use stranger jargon in your proposal document.
  • Second guided tip: when you write your proposal document, use an active voice and try not to use much of passive voice. an active voice will make the reader understand easily what you write in your proposal document.
  • Third guided tip: give sensible evidence for all statements in your proposal document. that will make your written proposal document more credible.
  • Fourth guided tip: leave any exaggerated statements.
  • Fifth guided tip: keep in your mind that you write a proposal document in order to ask for something. therefore, let the reader know what he will get in turn.
  • sixth guided tip: give your reader specific facts, figures and examples to support your statement in the proposal document.

 Video: Proposal Outline Explanation 

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