Writing a project proposal

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There are as many forms, online templates, or tables for your project proposal as there are possibilities for funding. Even though there are no universal rules for filling these out, there is no need to feel nervous. The application is not only a formal obligation, it also helps you more clearly to define your own goals and plan the process that the project will entail.

You need time and a calm state of mind to write a project proposal. Hastily written, flawed, and incomplete proposals will not go well. Submitting proposals without all the required information or after the deadline is usually not worth the trouble. You can increase your chances for success by following these pointers:

  • teamwork,
  • proofreading

If you are too late, may the following article offer your help: Deadlines

[edit] Teamwork

There are often several people involved in writing a project proposal. But how does writing in a team work? You cannot sit in front of a computer as a group of three or four and write the proposal collaboratively. It is important that every team member agrees on the project's core ideas. After that, the various tasks associated with the proposal can be distributed among the team members. Those with a talent for writing can formulate the text of the proposal, while those with mathematical ability can create the cost budget. Other team members can do the proofreading or maintain an overview. Sharing tasks is also important because it makes each team member responsible for the proposal's success.

[edit] Proofreading

The proofreaders should pay attention to content and spelling and grammar mistakes without ignoring formal requirements. Many people think that by using numerous headlines they can make a proposal read more easily, that putting key words in bold font and using highlighting are always good ideas. This is only partly true because over-formatting can affect the readability as well. That's why your approach to formatting should be: As much as necessary and as little as possible. Express yourself concisely and intelligibly, eliminate all unnecessary information.

Like for the text section of a proposal we recommend proofreading of the budget plan and the numbers. A third person will easier observe inconsistencies.

[edit] Elements of a proposal

The way you write a proposal depends on the financing institutions' specifications and templates. You can usually find documents you are supposed to fill out on the internet. Finance calculations often require working knowledge of a calculation program like Microsoft Excel. Don't panic if you yourself are not familiar with it. You can find someone who is familiar with it either within the organization you work for or among your friends.

Often a proposal consists of the following components:

Along with the content, the form plays a decisive role for foundations and European institutions. This is why they often require proposals to be submitted using the standard templates and tables provided. Some proposals may leave a space for a free-form project description, maybe even for a collage or a short film. Where it is appropriate, you can use this opportunity to your advantage.

[edit] Examples/References

Additionally, in some cases it might be helpful to add materials from other projects or to include additional references. This is largely at your discretion, and more is not necessarily better. Some selection committees have to review several hundred proposals. So it can be helpful to concentrate on the essential in all your texts, information, and documents.

Once all your documents are compiled, check again to make sure everything is clear and without errors and then submit it by mail or e-mail.

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