How to write a proposal letter: A step-by-step guide and example

How to write a proposal letter: A step-by-step guide and example

Proposal letters are essential in the business world. They give colleagues and superiors some insight into a potential concept or idea without going into too much detail. A proposal letter must be written in the expected format and information. Here, we discuss writing a proposal letter and other essential information.

How do you write a proposal letter?
Writing a proposal letter for a project can be simplified by simple steps. Photo: Shape charge and Miljan Živković (modified by author)
Source: Getty Images


Proposal letters have various benefits, which help streamline the project process. The letter can provide a more thought-out process regarding the project and allow others to look at the process with fresh eyes. It also gives all team members the same level of understanding about what is needed to make the project successful.

The proposal letter may also act as a contract between parties involved in the project. What goes into a proposal letter? This article discusses how to write a proposal, the format needed, and when a proposal is necessary.

What are the five steps in writing a proposal paper?

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According to Manifestly Checklists, the five steps to writing a proposal letter include research and planning, organising and outlining, writing the proposal, editing and revising, and submitting the proposal.

Research and planning

Ensure you know the client or group's needs and requirements so that the project stays on track and meets the desired objectives. Monitor the competition to see what they do, what your project or company can improve, and what sets your organisation apart.

Organising and outlining

Gather all relevant information needed to create the project, including statistics, data, analytics and other important details. Create a basic outline of the angle, outcome and suggestions required to motivate the project and the best place to start.

Writing the proposal

How do you start a proposal letter after gathering the necessary information? Use professional, concise wording outlining the project concept, its need, implementation methods, and relevant supporting data and statistics.

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how to write a proposal letter for funding
A proposal letter for funding must include reasons why the donor stands to benefit. Photo: Shape charge
Source: Getty Images

Editing and revising

Once you have created the proposal, finish with a compelling call to action that encourages all those potentially involved in the project. Read over the proposal and check for any spelling, grammar, or formatting errors, as well as fact-checking. Remove any unnecessary information to get rid of fluff.

Submitting the proposal

Create a checklist to ensure you have followed all of the documentation's finalising requirements, including formatting requirements and whether the document is saved in the correct format. Submit the proposal within the desired deadline.

What is the format of a proposal?

The best format for a proposal is to follow a clear, concise outline for everyone to follow. Manifestly Checklists mentions the following points as part of a helpful checklist to follow:

  • The title or cover page.
  • Executive summary.
  • Introduction and background.
  • The proposal's objectives.
  • The methodology and approach to the project.
  • The timeline and budget.
  • The qualifications and experience regarding the gathering of information.
  • The conclusion and appendix (if relevant).

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Other formatting tips

There are other valuable tips to know when formatting your proposal correctly and ensuring it is presented in the best way possible. Here are some essential tips suggested by Response:

  • Pick a legible, professional letter format with adequate spacing.
  • Ensure you use one style throughout the proposal, including single or double spacing, capitalisation, Oxford commas, and letter size.
  • Represent and support your brand through formatting and styling, including company logos and the same style of lettering as the company.
  • Remain confident yet kind in your approach, and avoid short, abrupt information.
  • Use graphics like graphs, charts and tables to show relevant statistics visually.
  • Create a touch of personalisation and creativity by including pictures in the document.
  • Embed videos and other links that further support visuals and other reliable sources.
  • Request that a colleague proofread your document for an outsider's help spotting any grammatical or spelling errors.

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proposal letter for project
Getting a trusted colleague to proofread your proposal letter helps scan for unseen errors. Photo: Jacob Wackerhausen
Source: Getty Images

Proposal letter for business

A business proposal letter follows the same format mentioned above, highlighting all the relevant points. You can find a business proposal letter format in Word, and sources like Indeed provide a proposal writing sample.

How do you write a good business proposal example?

Hubspot Blog mentions the following points to recall when writing up a sample proposal letter for services regarding business:

  • Start with a title page.
  • Provide an executive summary of why the proposal at hand is necessary.
  • Identify the problem or need in question.
  • Suggest and explore the best solution.
  • Support the solution through relevant supporting information.
  • Mention your qualifications that make you a reliable source on the matter.
  • Include pricing options where relevant.
  • Finish off with a conclusion and call to action.

How to write a proposal letter for funding?

A proposal letter for an event, funding, or business idea follows the same format; you may only vary in your backing information and letter styling. Ensure you mention how the company that may provide the requested funding stands to benefit from it.

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Proposal letter example

Here is a template of a proposal letter you can use that clearly indicates the outline and format of the letter.

Proposal letter example
How to write a proposal letter: A step-by-step guide. Photo: Dr.Letter (Modified by editor)
Source: Original

A compelling proposal letter includes a well-researched, planned, and written approach to deliver the message perfectly. A solid call to action is essential to the project's success, which increases the likelihood that other parties will rely on your services in future.

DISCLAIMER: This article is not sponsored by any third party. It is intended for general informational purposes only and does not address individual circumstances. It is not a substitute for professional advice or help and should not be relied on to make decisions. Any action you take based on the information presented in this article is strictly at your own risk and responsibility!

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