Updated on October 10, 2016 Sarah moreSarah has been a content copywriter for six years and taught Composition for two. She lives in Pennsylvania with her fiance and three cats. Contact Author Why write a Project Proposal? There are many reasons a person may write a Proposal to Solve a Problem. That is why it has many different names. Sometimes it might be called a “Project Proposal,” a “Persuasive Proposal,” “Proposing a Solution,” or simply a “Proposal.” Perhaps it has been assigned by a teacher. Perhaps a boss has asked for it. Perhaps it will be used as a contest entry or as part of a grant proposal. Learning how to write a Project Proposal is advantageous because it is often necessary to persuade another person or people to ACT. It is important to understand the distinction between a Proposal to Solve a Problem and an Argumentative or Persuasive Essay. In both genres, the writer is trying to persuade his or her audience to think or believe something specific.
However, in a proposal to solve a problem, that persuasion must be accompanied by a specific, feasible action. That means that your purpose as the writer of this proposal is to persuade someone to DO something. Who is my audience? Who may it concern? Your audience for a Proposal to Solve a Problem should be specific. It is a good idea to pick a particular person or a committee. That means that your audience is not “all of the people in the world who might read this,” or, for that matter, all of anyone anywhere. It is also not “the government,” or any particular government agency. You will choose them based on your intended outcome. The audience in the above example (see also the closely-related Research Proposal), a person at XYZ, Inc. wants their human resources people to start a recycling program in the office. The appropriate person here might be the director of the human resources department or the head of the Employee Programs committee.
Addressing it to “XYZ, Inc.” is too vague and it would therefore be ineffective. The same applies to “the employees of XYZ, Inc.” The best audience is the person or people who reach XYZ, Inc. and the employees of XYZ, Inc., essentially on your behalf. How do I present it? Don’t use second person if you can help it. This article, you’ll notice, frequently uses second person. You say. However, who is the intended audience? You are the intended actor. Now, at this point, you may say, “Yeah, but the person who reads my proposal is my intended audience,” and that’s true. But, ask yourself, is that person the person who is going to actually do everything? Or are they just the person in charge? Are they going to buy the recycling bins to put by the copiers? Are they going to personally send out the e-mails? Maybe. But, for this paper, maybe isn’t good enough, and turning a “maybe” into a “yes” makes you, the writer, cross boundaries you shouldn’t cross. In other words, unless you feel comfortable telling another person how to do his or her job, using “you” is too pushy.
And if they are not the person who will actually do it, then what you are saying by using “you” simply isn’t true. So, what’s the alternative? Name the institution whose agents will be actually making the change. So, your correctness here comes down to your choice of an audience. Who is the person/group of people who are mostly likely to be able to effect change? Here, you may have already had an audience assigned, so your job now is to figure out what would make them the most sympathetic to your idea. Is this audience capable of addressing my issue in the way I propose? Did I choose a specific person or committee (not just an organization)? Did I avoid second person? What do I include in the essay? There are several ways structure a project proposal. It can be written as a letter to a specific person or committee, use headings and subheadings, or simply be written in traditional essay format (meaning Intro, 3-5 body paragraphs, conclusion).
Let’s break down the parts. What is a compelling description of the issue at hand? First, let’s look at the word “compelling.” Google’s dictionary says that “compelling” means: 1. Evoking interest, attention, or admiration in a powerfully irresistible way, and/or 2. Not able to be refuted; inspiring conviction. So, a paraphrased version of that, through the lens of your proposal, is: Something is compelling when it is interesting, when it convinces people to pay attention to it, and when people are convinced of its truth. The second word, “description,” indicates that your job is to make your audience understand exactly what issue it is that you are talking about. E.g., In the XYZ, Inc. recycling problem example, the author would need to describe XYZ’ Inc.’s lack of a recycling program. This description provides background information about the specific problem at XYZ, Inc.(1 million pounds of paper are thrown away), and places it in a global context. In a Proposal to solve a problem, it is important to describe the problem specifically and globally. Here, it is also important to back up what you say with research.