To get your project approved by a client or stakeholder, it is essential to present your idea effectively. To make it happen, you will need to create a formal, structured document that can convince your clients why your idea is worth considering. Plus, it should address the basic concerns and queries that a client may have. This is where the project proposal template comes into the picture. Read this guide to learn what a project proposal is and what elements it must include. We have also included a free downloadable template that can help you get your clients to buy your services.
What Is Project Proposal?
A project proposal is a document that you present to your client or stakeholder to get your project approved. Simply put, this document helps you sell your project to the potential client or stakeholder. This proposal spells out the details of your proposed project, including its objectives, outcome & deliverables, and steps that will be taken to achieve the goal.
On the other hand, the project proposal template is a pre-defined document comprising sections such as the project title, start and end dates, objectives & goals, resource requirements, budget, etc. This template sets the basic foundation of the project requirements and keeps the client & project manager on the same page.Download Word
Importance of the Project Proposal
The project proposal aims to get the client to buy into your services and can help you seal the deal. It explains what issue your project is addressing and how your project will achieve those objectives.
Plus, the project proposal works as a single source of truth for stakeholders, clients, and project managers. It sets clear expectations for stakeholders, like what delivery would look like. Though the project proposal is not a contractual agreement, it puts forth preliminary expectations that whatever details are in this proposal will move forward into the contract/agreement if the project goes ahead.
Once the client approves the project proposal, its written parameters become the cornerstone of the project. If any ambiguity or disagreement arises during the execution phase of the project, everyone can refer to this project proposal for clarity.
Types of Project Proposals
Formally Solicited Proposal
This project proposal is sent in response to the ‘request for proposal’. The request for proposal is a document shared by the client explaining what they are looking for and what the project should be like. Then, they ask for a bid from specific (qualified) contractors.
A solicited proposal is one of the easiest types of proposal as the client explains their needs, expectations, and deliverables type in the first place. Plus, the client provides a briefing for the proposal, like what exactly needs to be included in the proposal.
Unsolicited Project Proposal
Unlike the solicited proposal, this proposal is more like a cold version of the proposal, as you don’t receive a ‘request for proposal’. Instead, here you send an outreach proposal to your prospective client after identifying their pain points and that you look forward to addressing them with your project.
Here, you don’t have clarity about the client’s needs or expectations; however, you need to do a lot of research to ascertain the client’s pain points, and accordingly create a proposal to convince them to use your services.
Informally Solicited Project Proposal
In this project proposal, the client approaches you for a formal request to be sent to them. The client may be interested in your services, but they don’t explain what exactly needs to be there in the proposal or what specifically they’re seeking.
Therefore, we can consider this proposal type as a mix of a solicited and unsolicited project proposal, as you get the request from the client for sending the proposal, but without any basic information about their issue or need. Therefore, this proposal requires a lot of research work about the client, their existing issues, and how your services can solve it.
This proposal is written when the project is already in the execution stage but requires further resources, needs changes in the current phase, or requires approval on the continuation of the project. This type of proposal doesn’t require a lot of research work or effort, as the project is already approved by the client and running smoothly, but it needs approval for either resource requirements, changes, or continuation of the project.
Supplemental Project Proposal
This proposal is written when your project has gone beyond the contracted budget or requires further resources. The resources you need may be in the form of personnel, time, funds, etc. Such a proposal must be persuasive to convince the client why your project needs additional resources and how this investment will be put to good use.
Renewal Project Proposal
This proposal is usually sent when you want to continue the work on any project, but your contract is ending or has ended already. In this proposal type, you may need to show the positive progress report or success data from the ongoing project to convince the client to approve its continuation. Simply put, the proposal should persuade the client why this project should be continued and what outcome it’ll generate.
How to Write a Project Proposal
Write the Introduction
This section provides a brief overview of the project to clients and stakeholders. Consider this section as an elevator pitch for your project that should persuade the readers to continue reading the proposal. The section should answer questions such as:
- What’s the core problem your proposal is trying to address?
- Why is it necessary to solve the issue?
- How will your project solve the problem?
This section should clearly narrate the purpose of the proposal so that the client can have a basic understanding of what the proposal is all about.
Explain the Project Background
This section emphasizes on the statement of the problem or client’s pain point for which you’re sending this proposal. You can elaborate on the current state of the problem and why this needs to be addressed. Consider using references, reports, and statistics to support your point.
By reading this section, the reader must get an idea that you’ve done in-depth research on the area of the problem they’re dealing with, along with previous solutions they have tried. You need to give a substantial reason to convince the reader why other solutions didn’t work and why your project can solve this specific problem.
In this step, you can provide answers to the following questions:
- What problem does your project address?
- How long has this problem existed?
- Who has tried to address the problem before, and how?
- What research work has been done on this problem previously?
- Why did past solutions fail to resolve this issue?
Present a Solution
This section enables you to present your project idea and approach in detail. You can elaborate on the motive of the project, steps taken to meet the goal, along with the project schedule and milestones (if any).
Keep in mind to cover the following pointers
- How will you solve the problem you mentioned?
- Why is this solution effective over other solutions used before?
- What will be this project’s motive, and what steps will be taken to complete this project?
Remember: The way you present your solution can help you get your project off the ground.
Overview of the Project Deliverables
In this step, you will apprise your reader of what you’re going to deliver at the end of the project. Whether it’s a product, service, or an upgrade in the current technology. In addition, you can also give a brief about how you would assess/ measure the success of the deliverables.
Request for the Resources
Mention the estimate of your project budget that may include the cost of labor, supplies, tools/ software, materials, or equipment that you’ll require to deliver the project successfully. It’s recommended to provide a detailed financial breakdown of the budget to assure the stakeholders that the budget is going to be put to good use.
Tips for Writing a Project Proposal
Address the Reader’s Pain Points
It’s necessary that while writing the proposal you should keep your reader (client) in mind. Evaluate what their pain points are, what solution can work for them, and whether this proposal resonates with their needs.
Keep these points in mind when writing your proposal
- What is the background of your reader?
- What kind of data will have more impact in convincing them, like visual data, user feedback, or graphical representation?
- What should be the tone to address the reader, formal or informal? What kind of terminologies should be used? Make sure the proposal is written in simple words for better comprehension. Avoid using jargon and technical words, unless they are essential.
Tip: The key to writing an effective proposal is to understand the specific needs of your client and accordingly offer them the solution.
Do Thorough Research
Do in-depth research on the statement of the problem and study what solutions have been tried in the past and why they failed. This analysis will help you jot down the points to better explain why your solution can work and how it’s different from others. Consider supporting your research with some testimonials, user analytics, or any other stats.
Keep it Short and Simple
You may have a lot of details to put into the proposal about your project and its scope. However, it’s best to keep the proposal brief and concise. Make sure you include only relevant information that the client should know to understand and approve your project. Unnecessary technical details can make your project proposal look overly complex. Focus on the information that can strengthen your pitch and discard the elements that are dispensable.
Use SMART Approach
Vague goals can create confusion for readers, and it can lower your chances of getting the approval. It’s recommended to adopt the SMART approach (specific, measurable, attainable, relevant, time-bound) that can define your goal more concisely.
Leverage the Pre-built Template
Proposal format can be tailored to meet specific needs and give an impressive look, however, leveraging a pre-built template with a formal structure helps keep everyone on the same page. Plus, the pre-built proposal template keeps information organized, making it easy for the reader to skim through the major details in no time.
You can use a free project proposal template from Replicon that is easy to use and comprises all the major fields that any project proposal must have!
Free Project Proposal Template from Replicon
The project proposal template may vary depending on the project or industry types; however, there are some universal fields that are common in all such templates, no matter what type of project you’re working on. Here’s the free project proposal template from Replicon that includes basic fields such as the introduction of your organization, goal & objectives, scope, timeframe, resources, budget, and stakeholders.
You can download the template in Word format and input the required details in the columns as mentioned below-
Input the details of your organization, such as name, address, city, email id and contact information.
You can mention the details of your client to whom you’re presenting this project proposal.
Give a brief overview of your organization along with its area of expertise and achievements (if any). Then, elucidate how you help clients address and resolve their pain points.
In this section, you need to provide the background context against which you’re going to hold your project.
- What is the statement of need?
- Which challenge or problem is this proposed project going to deal with?
- How will your proposed project resolve the problem or challenge?
The reader must understand that you’ve done in-depth research on the area of the problem they are dealing with. You need to give a clear reason for how your project can solve the specific need, problem, or challenge. After all, an effective description of the project background is more likely to stand a chance of getting approved.
The objectives and end goal you’re looking forward to achieving in this project should be listed here. There can be single or multiple objectives depending upon the type of project.
This section can define how many stages/phases will be there in this project, and what will be the significance of these stages in the project.
Every project has a stipulated time frame before which the end goal should be achieved. The project you’re proposing would be completed in several phases. Mention the timelines of each phase along with their tasks and start-to-end dates.
If you divide your project into milestones, then you need to provide the beginning date and end date for each milestone.
Mention how many resources will be required in this project. The team members onboard must hold expertise in specific areas so that the project doesn’t face any skill gap. Input the names of the resources who would work for this project, along with their designation and task allocation.
Your project may require resources in the form of equipment, software, premises, materials, or tools. Enlist all such resources like labor, material, and technology along with the total quantity and estimated cost. You can also mention short notes against each project resource to explain why you would need them in the project.
The budget is the estimated money that you’ll require to complete the project from start to end. Estimate the total resource cost and any other expenses that will be required to deliver the project successfully. Input the budget you’ve set for this project, including all taxes.
Stakeholders are the ones who hold an interest in the project’s outcome or deliverables. They can be a project manager, executive, project sponsor, client, and customers. Any project may have multiple stakeholders that play important roles in the project delivery. You can mention different stakeholders’ names, roles, and contact information in this section.
Once you’ve filled in all the details, you can share the proposal with your respective stakeholders, clients and sponsors for approval.
You can download this free template in a Word format and use it to pitch for your project. Once the client and stakeholders give the go-ahead for your project, the details in the template can help in outlining the project plan.
Frequently Asked Questions
1. What is the project proposal format?
The project proposal format defines the objectives and requirements of the project. It should have pointers such as objectives, scope, timeline, resources, budget, stakeholders and so on.
2. What is the difference between a project plan and a project proposal?
The project plan is a document that elaborates on how the project will be implemented and guides the team during the execution phase of the project. The project proposal is a document that is shared with stakeholders or clients to approve the project and receive funding for its implementation.
3. What are the features of a project proposal?
Any project proposal must have a description of the problem that needs to be solved, the solution that would resolve the issue, and an insight into the project elements like budget, scope, objective, timeline, and resources required.