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Final Proposal Writing Advice • Advice is based on personal experience: • Firsthand experience creating proposal reports for county and state governments (PA & NY), federal agencies (Dept of Defense, Dept of Energy, Nat’l Science Foundation, Dept of Commerce) • Secondhand experience working closely with folks who’ve created proposals for private nonprofit foundations • Advice is based on feedback from evaluators: • Evaluators are required to describe why they accepted, rejected, or require rewrites on the ppsls they evaluate
BASIC editing advice • The words: • ELIMINATE typos (including formatting typos) • ELIMINATE grammar problems • MAINTAIN an even level of detail OR explain why the level of detail varies in each section • The graphics: • GIVE a clear context for each graphic (table, picture, graph, etc) • GIVE a clear title for each graphic • MAINTAIN identical formatting (size, title format, etc) for each type of graphic
BASIC preparation advice • FOLLOW the RFP or announcement VERY PRECISELY • The most common reason why real-world ppsls fail • Be CERTAIN to describe exactly what it is that the organization has literally asked for • Match your ppsl to the RFP, be VERY clear about any variance • FOLLOW the preparation directions VERY PRECISELY • The second most common reason why real-world ppsls fail • Give all the information the organization's directions require • Use the EXACT formatting they require • Give the EXACT length, level of detail, etc they ask for
BASIC style advice • I’ve never seen this comment in feedback: • “We really appreciated how hard the proposal was to read. It was full of needless jargon, long and complicated sentences, complex grammar, and big words just for the sake of appearing complicated. It was therefore hard to read quickly and understand easily. We really liked that.”
BASIC style advice • I’ve HAVE seen this EXACT feedback comment: • “We really appreciated how easy the proposal was to read. It used short and simple sentences and plain wording to make complicated information very clear and straightforward. It was therefore easy to read quickly and understand easily. We really liked that.”