4 Tips to Create a Winning Proposal – The Digital Project Manager

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Although I cannot guarantee that every proposal will win, I can give you some tips to help you avoid making mistakes and letting your proposal go to waste. Tip: To see an example of a winning proposal, and the reasoning behind it, sign up to DPM and take our Master Project Proposals workshop.
Don’t make your readers think
Remember: You are telling a story
Everything should fit the ask
Be consistent
Here are my top four tips to save your proposal from being thrown out: 1. Answer the Mail — Don’t make your readers think
Don’t force your audience to search for something in your proposal if they have asked for it. Use the terminology they have asked for, answer their specific questions verbatim with their exact question, and provide a reference table that indicates where your proposal addresses their scoring criteria. Don’t hide the lead! 2. Mind The Arc – Remember: You’re telling a story
Although not every proposal will be read from beginning to end, it is a good idea to give each section its own narrative that is interesting, relevant, and informative.
It could be viewed as each section being an episode in a season of television: you can watch each one by itself, but there are themes and sub-plots running throughout the entire season to tie everything together. 3. Tailor, Tailor, Tailor! Everything Should Fit The Ask
Do not fill your proposal with boilerplate or bits from other proposals. Instead, invest the time to ensure that every sentence is relevant to the question.
Review every line of content that you haven’t created specifically for this proposal. If possible, explain how the content applies to them. For example, “we chose this case because this organization needed …”)..” 4. Be consistent
If your proposal sounds like it was written by 12 different people, readers will have trouble understanding it. To reduce cognitive load, consistency in voice and tone can help you to keep your audience focused on your argument. Use a lightweight style guide to provide some guidelines to your contributors as they create content. As a group, review content to ensure everyone has an opportunity to see the content. What do you think?
What are your top tips for winning a project proposal? What are your top pet peeves as a proposal reviewer? Comment below!

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