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CHAPTER 11: WRITING

PROPOSALS
Mike MarkelPractical Strategies for Technical
Communication
English 3153: Thursday, March 31, 2016

Proposal Overview
Features of Proposals:
Offer services or propose research.
Request funding/permission for projects or
the exchange of goods/services.
Are either internal or external.
May be solicited or unsolicited.

Internal Proposals
An internal proposal is an argument, submitted
within an organization, for carrying out an activity
that will benefit the organization (Markel, 2013,
275).
Features of Internal Proposals:
Submitted

by individuals within the organization.

Propose

policy changes, recommend products, or


request funding for projects/research.
May

display different levels of detail and formality.

External Proposals
Features of Solicited Proposals:
Offer

goods, services, or research requested (solicited) by


other companies or organizations.

Are

solicited using IFBs or RFPs.

IFB (Information for Bid): Searches for the lowest bid.


RFP (Request for Proposal): Compares the services and
expertise of possible suppliers with their relative costs.

Unsolicited Proposals:
Offer

prospective clients goods and services without any


formal solicitation from the client.

Grant Proposals
Grant and Fellowship Opportunities:
Internal
OU

funds from each University department.

Office of Undergraduate Research.

OU

Center for Research Program Development and


Enrichment.

National

Science Foundation (information for undergraduates).

National

Institutes of Health and Grants.gov.

Nonprofit

organizations (Center for Nonprofit Excellence, Bill


and Melinda Gates Foundation, and William T. Grant
Foundation).

Grant Proposals

Deliverables and Clients


Deliverables will vary for research and project proposals.
Research

Proposals: Report the progress, results/data, and


completion of research or experiments.

Goods

and Services Proposals: Supply products and services


for the client. Used by the government, non-profit
organizations, and corporations/manufacturers.

Proposals

should show potential clients how your organization


can fulfill their stated and unstated needs.

How can proposal-writers address the needs of the client if the


RFP or IFB does not make this information clear?

Persuasion and Proposals


Persuasion Checklist:
1.Understand the needs of the client.
a. What are the primary objectives of the client?
2.Describe how you will meet these needs.
a. How can we offer the best
research/service/price?
3.Explain your qualifications.
a. What expertise, methods, procedures, and
quality-control measures make us competitive?
b. What are our personal and organizational
credentials?

Tips for International Proposals


Markel connects culture with nationality, but cultures
also vary with region, religion, ethnicity, etc.
Understand
Budget
Use

cultural standards for persuasion.

enough time for translation.

simple graphics with clear captions.

Write

short sentences with simple vocabulary.

Use

local conventions regarding punctuation.

Ask

if the customer will read the document.

Proposal Pre-Writing Stage


Outline how you will answer the solicitation:
Discuss

your procedures/methodology, necessary


equipment, and justification (if required).

Identify

the employees involved with the proposal.

Consider your credentials:


Is

your organization well-suited for this proposal?

Has

your organization handled similar requests?

Anticipate

technical details such as work schedules,


quality-control measures, and budget.

Structure of Proposals
Assess the requirements of the solicitation.
Government

agencies will reject proposals that do not


follow their guidelines exactly.

Most

proposals are evaluated using points sheets


(Freedom of Information Act).

Some organizations may not have specific directions.


Proposals

usually include: Executive summaries,


introductions, proposed programs/methodologies,
qualifications, budgets, and appendices.

Structure of Proposals

Summaries and Abstracts


Summaries and Abstracts:
Briefly

(350-words) summarize the primary


components of the proposal.
Define

the problem confronted by the client and


present the solution offered by the proposal.
State
May

the qualifications of the organization.

include the completion date and final budget


of the proposed research/project.

Introduction
Explains the context, scope, and structure of the proposal.
Introductions should describe:
Problem/opportunity
Purpose

addressed by the proposal.

and scope of the proposal.

Background
Relevant

of the problem/opportunity.

sources informing the proposal.

Organization
Definitions

proposing research/services.

of specialized vocabulary/terms/acronyms.

Sample Literature Review


The field of multiliteracy explores recent evolutions in writing practices
due to rapid technological advancements. The advent of the Internet
and the emergence of social media has altered the process and
demands of writing practices. In response to the increasing demands
being placed on students to communicate in a variety of mediums,
leading experts Cynthia Selfe (2001) and Jody Shipka (2009) demand a
call-to-action for making multimodal composition part of an
academically rigorous First-Year Composition (FYC) program. However,
more quantitative and qualitative data is needed prior to initiating widescale program changes. For this reason, the University of Oklahoma FYC
program is seeking funding to conduct an interdisciplinary study that
measures the goals and outcomes of a multimodal writing approach.

Proposed Program
Explains the methodology, procedure, and quality-control of
the proposal. This section contains the majority of the content.
Proposed programs should:
Explain

how you will conduct the research or project from the


proposal using relevant source materials.
Describe

the actual steps recommended by the proposal and


the deliverables connected with these procedures.
Discuss

the quality-control measures integrated into your


proposal and the timeline for deliverables.

Proposed Program

Evaluation Methods
Evaluation methods deserve careful attention from
your proposal (particularly for project proposals).
Connected

with quality-control and are typically


assigned high numbers of points.
Should

mention who will conduct the evaluations


(team-members, consultants, etc.).
Should

specify whether the evaluation methods are


qualitative or quantitative.

Evaluation Methods

Qualifications and Experience


Describe the qualifications and experience of the
organization, team members, and consultants/advisors.
Qualifications may include:
Specialized
Previous
Team

technical experience.

experience with funded projects.

members with noteworthy credentials.

Rsums,

CVs, or biographies of team members.

Motivation

and resources of the organization.

Qualifications and Experience

Budget
Often includes short written summary of the
costs of the project followed by line-item
expenses.
Usually includes tables listing expenses.
Should indicate direct and indirect costs.
Will typically consult the finance department
for approval/guidance (especially when the
proposal-writers are not accountants).

Budget

Appendices
Supplemental information that might overcomplicate
the proposal or exceed the page limit. Appendices
include:
Expanded
Detailed

biographies of team members.

history of the organization.

More

detailed information and graphs for particular


concepts/ideas/results (page limits).
Testimonials
Note:

(depending on the context).

Appendices are not assigned points.