The INS and OUTS of Proposal Writing

Writing conveys a message to the readers and target audience. However, sometimes the way the message is received depends on how it is perceived by the reader or target audience. Unlike a picture or a painting wherein all messages are captured in just one piece of work, writing conveys messages piece by piece — by word, by phrase, by sentence, and by paragraph. As such, it is important that writing follows a definite set of principles that will help convey messages to the reader or target audience.

The following principles of construction guide all types of writing: unity, coherence, cohesion, conciseness, and emphasis (LEAD, 2004). These principles when followed produce clarity. It is clarity which enables the readers and target audience to receive a message conveyed though writing as the writer wants it to be received. These principles are very important and should always be observed in writing proposals.

Although proposals may come in various forms, they usually have one common purpose – they all suggest performing or make a request to perform a particular task or project (Anderson 1987) PURPOSE AND POTENTIAL OF PROPOSALS The general purpose of any proposal is to persuade the readers to do something — whether it is to persuade a potential customer to purchase goods and/or services, or to persuade your employer to fund a project or to implement a program that you would like to launch (Reid, 2001).

Usually a proposal is a document written by a person, business, or agency who wishes to perform a job or solve a problem for another person, business, or agency and receive funding or money for the proposed task (Anderson,1987). Proposals are considered to be selling instruments. A person prepares a proposal in order to sell his/her ideas, products or services through writing. The main idea is to persuade and convince the reader or the target audience that the person who prepares the proposal is the best choice to fill-in or solve their problems or needs.

If the main purpose of a proposal is to persuade, proposals then must contain strong argument and useful information and facts in order to achieve its goal of persuasion. This is where the principle of unity comes in. Unity means providing focus in writing. This is usually achieved by deciding upon the real purpose of the proposal. If this is to persuade, the proposal should answer the following questions: Why are you writing this text? What response do you want from your reader? (LEAD, 2004).

Research is also very important in preparing proposals. A successful grant proposal is one that is well-prepared, thoughtfully planned, and concisely packaged (http://12. 46. 245. 173/pls/portal30/CATALOG. GRANT_PROPOSAL_DYN. show). This can only be achieved if the writer has done an extensive planning and research on the topic of the proposal. The grantor can only be convinced if the writer shows adequate knowledge of the topic of the proposal. Facts should be presented logically and all items and expenses should be properly justified.