Tips on Building Good Proposals

Most significant six-figure asks include a proposal of some kind. Proposals can also take the tension out of a conversation by redirecting attention to a picture or statistic that connects with your conversation. You don’t have to have every question answered in your proposal, and it doesn’t always need to be four-color and on glossy paper. Here are a few useful tips I’ve found for building good proposals.

  • Try to put yourself in the mind of the donor and think through the proposal from his or her perspective.
  • Keep it short. You don’t have to write a long proposal. One page is often a good length for a proposal or report. If you need to, don’t go more than two pages. You may have other support materials and packet materials that are longer, but your basic idea should be concise enough to fit in two pages.
  • Including a story or picture can add a lot. Pictures can say a lot more than words, and stories can reveal an attitude or philosophy often better than facts and figures.
  • Include measurable outcomes. If their funding will do something specific, illustrate what that specific something is.
  • Recognition details. If you have a special plan to recognize a donor’s gift, explain what you are going to do.
  • Include statistics about your organization and the people you serve. Support your stories and your vision for the donor’s gift with some statistics.

What do you always include in your proposals to major donors? Any tips or tricks you use to create a good proposal or in integrating a proposal into a solicitation?

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One Response to Tips on Building Good Proposals

  1. […] Small Change… Tips on Building Good Proposals Jason Dick shares a few tips he has found useful for building good proposals. First, try to put […]

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