English 3984: Report and Proposal Writing


Bid Proposal

Your purpose is to write an informal proposal in which you outline your understanding of the client's needs. In this proposal, you should be specific about what you propose to do for your client and when you will accomplish these tasks.  If you will need any support from them in terms of resources, you should list those needs (e.g., need for digital camera or money to print draft versions of color documents). 


Informal proposals usually contain six elements: introduction, background, proposal, staffing, budget, and authorization request.  For this assignment, you won't have much of a budget section (unless you foresee a need for specific resources).  And your authorization section should  be short as well.  Put your emphasis on the background section, the proposal--to include a schedule, and the staffing--highlight your credentials/expertise.

Introduction.  Your introduction should be short.  An introduction usually catches the reader's attention and outlines, briefly, what is to come.  Focus on reader benefits; explain reasons for proposal; hint at results; and describe the client's problem & your solution.

Background, Problem, Purpose.  Here is your chance to identify the problem and discuss the solution.  If it were an unsolicited proposal, you would use this section to convince the reader that a problem exists.  In your cases, the readers know there is a need.  Your job is to show them that you understand it completely.

Proposal, Plan, Schedule.  In this section, discuss your plan for solving the problem.  If you were in a competitive situation, you'd have to be careful not to "give too much away."  However, you need to remember that even in this case, you're selling yourselves and your services.  Highlight your methods and the product ("deliverables").  Provide a brief schedule.

Budget.  In most competitive proposals, this section is critical (I'm in the process of having companies bid to put in a new furnace, so I see it first hand).  Money talks.  You must be accurate and honest.  If you know you might be a bit higher than a competitor, make sure you outline what, exactly, the customer gets for the money.  Provide a line-by-line breakdown. 

In this case, the budget section may not even be present.  If it is, try to provide a rough overview of any costs you anticipate.

Authorization Although this section is not always present, you should include it to provide an opening for the client to "talk back" to you.  Here you want to offer the client an opportunity to say whether or not your proposal meets the organization's needs and/or expectations. 

Funding Sites and Strategies



Jim Dubinsky

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