Top 5 Tips to: Improve your proposal writing skills
Submitted by: Aubrey Dexter
Here’s a common scenario you may be familiar with: Your proposal manager just asked you to write 3 sections for a Government proposal – due in a week – OH NO! While it can be difficult to write a section for a proposal, the tips below should help make it easier to get started and stay on track.
- Write to the RFP Request for proposal : It may seem simple, but one of the most important tips for proposal writing is to write to the RFP! Read the SOW and RFP instructions, and then answer those prompts or questions. If the RFP does not ask for information on something, don’t include it. Write only relevant content that answers what the evaluator is seeking.
- Always Brainstorm: Being asked to write 5 pages worth of text for a proposal can sound daunting at first and may have you staring at a blank page for hours. Before writing, you should always write down your ideas using an outline format, word cloud, or another method that works best for you. Jot down information and key points that you know you want to include in your writing. Taking the time to think out your writing approach, in the beginning, will save you tons of time by the end.
- Get to the Point: Most proposals (especially those for the Government) have page limits associated with them, meaning that there is little to no room for being wordy. When writing, get to your point as succinctly as possible and cut out any fluff. Don’t use redundant or needlessly long words or phrases when shorter ones could be used. For example, rather than saying “utilize” just say “use”. It will give your writing more clarity and also free up valuable page space.
- Write What You Know: Writing about the work you are already doing is probably one of the easiest assignments you could be given! Show the evaluator that you understand their needs and requirements by discussing what your division does on a daily basis, detailing the specific processes and tools used, using their terminology or abbreviations, and highlighting your project successes.
- Use Examples: Highlight relevant examples of past work done as often as possible in proposal writing. While it is important to write about our approach to accomplishing requirements, it is also important to show that we have actual experience performing the required tasks elsewhere. Use call out boxes in side margins to highlight relevant experience, project successes, customer praise, or specific metrics. Concrete examples can help make proposals more credible and reduce potential program risk – making your proposal be rated more favorably.
Proposal writing can seem scary at first, but by using the above tips, you can help alleviate stress and improve your writing skills. Also don’t forget – when in doubt, always ask your proposal manager!