The Project Proposal That Will Get You Funded In 2023
- 1 What Is A Project Proposal, And Why Do You Need It?
- 2 Things To Keep In Mind Before Starting Your Proposal
- 3 How To Create The Perfect Project Proposal That Gets Your Project Funded
- 3.1 Step 1: Identify and Define the Problem
- 3.2 Step 2: Vision Statement
- 3.3 Step 3: State the Solution and Benefits
- 3.4 Step 4: The What: Deliverable and Success Criteria
- 3.5 Step 5: The How: Approach, Plans, and Deadlines
- 3.6 Step 6: Define the Costs and Budget
- 3.7 Step 7: Prepare an Executive Summary
There is a famous quote by Earl Nightingale, “Everything begins with an idea.” And in the world of business and entrepreneurship, this cannot be truer. Every great project, initiative, business, and product starts with an idea. It is not enough to have an idea worth someone’s time. You need to research and have conviction and understand how you need to get funding and resources.
That’s where Project Proposals come in. Project Proposals are the starting point for any successful initiative. You need to believe in your ideas to sell them to an investor, higher management, clients, stakeholders, or anyone who can help you reach your goal faster and smoother.
What Is A Project Proposal, And Why Do You Need It?
A project proposal is a document that outlines your plan for your project idea, including the initial framework to get it started, your aims and objectives, and your plans for achieving those objectives. It is the first formal communication between you and the stakeholders about the project and aims to onboard and communicate your vision systematically.
You need a project proposal to inform and persuade others to collaborate, fund, and support your project. It often starts a new relationship with an outside stakeholder or a new team and builds confidence in your project idea. It is also a document that showcases your project management skills, along with some other key skills such as research, analysis, and copywriting – or the ability to communicate succinctly and effectively. You can showcase these features using PPT backgrounds in your project proposal presentation.
Things To Keep In Mind Before Starting Your Proposal
Before you embark on the process of creating the most effective project proposal for your stakeholders, keep in mind the following –
- Your project proposal is not the sole criterion through which your project will be funded. Having good communication skills and the ability to connect with your superiors or stakeholders is equally, if not more, important. Having the perfect project proposal means nothing if you cannot connect with the people you’re presenting the proposal to.
- A project proposal presentation is never an isolated event. Before presenting your document, ideally, decision-makers should’ve already been made aware of your project. This includes communicating effectively before the presentation and actively lobbying your idea through the network of stakeholders and investors.
- Before making your proposal, understand the key elements of your proposal intricately. This includes the problem that you’re aiming to fix and your solution. Run it by other people for feedback and research extensively.
- Research your audience carefully. This means looking at the history and potential biases within your panel of decision-makers and catering to them wherever possible. This is also essential to articulate your project in a manner accessible to everyone in your audience.
- Research past project proposals, including the ones that failed, to understand the potential pitfalls of making a project proposal and rectify them in creating the document.
The above steps help you get into the right mindset for creating a document that effectively communicates your project while considering some key inter and intra-personal factors that affect your chances of success. With that, you’re now ready to write your project proposal.
How To Create The Perfect Project Proposal That Gets Your Project Funded
Keep in mind your aim for this project proposal. You want to wow the key people involved in the process. You need those with funds and resources to buy into your idea. This is your time to bring your vision to reality.
Step 1: Identify and Define the Problem
Experienced stakeholders, investors, and executives can tell if a project proposal is bound for success or failure within the first 5 minutes of a presentation. You need to ensure that these critical 5 minutes are used most effectively. And the best way to do so is to state your problem statement.
Think of it this way: What is your project’s utility if it does not intend to solve a problem? You need to convince the audience that there is a key issue, an important and debilitating problem that has gone unnoticed, and that you intend to solve it with your project. Use examples, data, and hard facts, rather than opinions and emotions, to indicate the problem’s pervasiveness and how much better things could be if your project is greenlighted.
A great way of highlighting and explaining your problem statement is using a Business Case, which allows you to create a case study of the issues you want to bring attention to.
Step 2: Vision Statement
Why should your company care about your project? You need to isolate a problem you intend to fix. You must also consider its long-term implications regarding the company’s goals, objectives, and long-term strategy. If your project does not align with your company’s vision, it’s unlikely to be implemented.
Tie in your overall vision to that of the company, showing the audience that you are thinking about the viability and sustainability of your project and contributing to overall company objectives and strategy.
OKR and Business Presentation Templates are a great starting point for developing an effective vision statement, giving you the tools to tie in your larger plans and aims using specific metrics and data.
Step 3: State the Solution and Benefits
The Benefits outlined in your project proposal are meant to be an extension of your vision statement, explaining in greater detail how your project will benefit the company and align with its long-term strategy. This is also where you start outlining your proposal’s solution for the problem statement.
State the key benefits you anticipate seeing from this project. These can include any cost reductions, new capabilities, changes to existing frameworks, etc. The important thing is to be clear and direct with the benefits you claim your project will provide. Leaving these vague and unclear can make for a proposal that doesn’t get picked up on the virtue of its lack of clarity. Ensure that your benefits are measurable and are in conjunction with your deliverables.
Step 4: The What: Deliverable and Success Criteria
In this step, you will further deconstruct your benefits in the form of tangible artifacts or results that can be expected from the project. Explain what the deliverables of this project are and how they will be delivered.
This is also your projection for the end-goal user expectations from the project. For instance, it may be new technology that you intend to create for a company. Your deliverables should include the tangible products associated with the technology and any other facets of user experience that you foresee as important and necessary.
With the deliverables, it is important to define the success criteria for your project. Having SMART (Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Realistic, and Time-Bound) success criteria is key to a good proposal. This builds confidence in the stakeholders of your success, as they have a clear set of success criteria to identify and anticipate in your project.
You can use a good template for stating your deliverables that will allow you to visualize the process and clarify what you intend to achieve to your stakeholders.
Step 5: The How: Approach, Plans, and Deadlines
A good project proposal always states a clear idea of the actual process of achieving the deliverables. This includes stating soft deadlines and a tentative schedule for the different milestones and deliverables in the benefits and solution. Moreover, your approach to your delivery process must also be clearly defined, showing foresight and a good understanding of project management.
The larger project plan is outlined in this part of your project proposal. List your plans for vendors, staffing, and project management frameworks (such as AGILE, Sprint, Waterfall, etc.). If your proposal succeeds, this will also function as a working document for your project.
An excellent way to show the expected trajectory of your project is by using product roadmaps. Roadmaps provide a creative and visual guide for your project.
Step 6: Define the Costs and Budget
In this part of the proposal, outline a detailed breakdown of the costs associated with your project – precisely your funding plan. Stakeholders need to understand your plan for your deliverables and benefits in conjunction with your expected funding and expenses. Give all the potential overhead, indirect and direct costs. A solid financial plan will show the stakeholders that you do not intend to waste their money and have a clear idea of how the project will be financed.
Step 7: Prepare an Executive Summary
Your project proposal is often a detailed, lengthy, and data-heavy document, intending to outline your plans in many intricate details. It may not be suitable for quick presentations or revisions, should you provide them to your decision-makers. Preparing an Executive Summary highlighting all the high points of your proposal, including high-impact data and points, can be highly beneficial in summarizing your project to your stakeholders. It is also a document that allows for retaining information that may have been lost during a long presentation.
Your project proposal should tell a story and flow in a manner that captures your audience’s attention. Ensure you are not leaving anything to chance and have included everything you intended to tell your stakeholders about the project in a concise and consolidated manner. Paint a picture for the audience, and they’re more likely to be confident in your abilities to bring that picture to life.