So you have an idea. And you’re here looking for the best way to frame it so that whoever needs to approve your proposal doesn’t dismiss you out of hand.
If you haven’t made a video of yourself proposing this idea and played it during a meeting while proudly standing in the corner, mouthing along to your epic speech, I’m happy to report that you’re doing great so far.
A project proposal needs to be simpler. It’s a high-level overview of the project that details the purpose, vision, and plan to accomplish it. It’s your roadmap that communicates objectives, resources, tasks, steps, and outcomes to the decision-making party. Whether you’re initiating a new project or pitching an existing one, no video cameras are needed. Please.
Proposals are common, whether it’s to initiate new business, secure funding, or land a contract. But project proposals are more specialized in that you can use them to get approval or inform stakeholders of new projects and initiatives.
My design team and I have put together some templates for project proposals, designed and formatted to suit different purposes. They’re Google Docs that you can copy, and once you’ve filled them in, you can download them as PDFs. Have at ’em.
1. Business project proposal template
This template outlines the basic elements of a project proposal. It contains sections for your executive summary, project goals, tasks, schedule, budget, and resources. It’s flexible enough to adapt to business proposals of every size and purpose. Pageantry aside, this template represents the essentials of a business proposal.
Tip: Tie your schedule section to the task list you have in mind, so readers can get a clear view of the project’s timeline.
2. Research project proposal template
Research proposals demand a focus on context. Whatever kind of research it is, it will always require an overview of existing information, gaps in knowledge, and any theoretical frameworks that may already be out there. It focuses heavily on explaining how you’ll approach the project and how you’ll collect and analyze the data.
Tip: Include as much context and background information about the industry or area you’re researching. Display expertise and knowledge of the subject matter.
3. Grant project proposal template
It’s never easy getting your project funded. But a good grant proposal can definitely boost your chances of getting free money. This template is designed to shine a light on the project details, timeline, goals, and team.
It allows you to go into greater detail regarding where you intend to spend your funding. I’m told companies and entities that grant grants like transparency.
Tip: Break down the costs and be as transparent as possible about your goals and how this funding will help you reach them.
4. Marketing project proposal template
While all proposals share the same foundation, this template is formatted to accommodate a marketing team’s most important points, providing an overview of the team, services, projected impact of the project, and an outline of the tools, software, and expenses needed.
Tip: Make use of the company section to highlight the team working on the project. Some proposals include detailed bio sections for each member.
5. Event project proposal template
Every successful event needs a roadmap that incorporates event objectives, venue options, budget breakdowns, strategies, and contingency plans. You can tailor this template to match events of different sizes. It’ll do wonders for a company’s product reveal and launch event, just the same as it would your CTO’s daughter’s 15th birthday party.
Tip: Highlight the unique selling points of your event, and incorporate engaging visuals or themes.
6. Software development project proposal template
This template emphasizes past experience and successful projects, as these are the most important software development selling points. It outlines the project scope, functionalities, development stages, projected timeline, budget estimation, and case studies.
Tip: Emphasize the scalability and user-friendliness of your software. Illustrate how it solves specific problems or improves efficiency.
7. Web design project proposal template
Much like software development, web design is the type of industry that requires a portfolio, making testimonials and imagery very important elements. This template will also help you outline ideas for the project, detailing pages and features you plan to implement. It’s adaptable for freelance projects or agency pitches.
Tip: Showcase previous successful projects or design concepts to illustrate your creativity and technical expertise.
8. Training project proposal template
You can use this template to present comprehensive training programs. It includes training goals, methodologies, curriculum outlines, delivery modes, assessment strategies, and budget breakdowns.
Tip: Highlight the anticipated impact on learners and how your training program addresses specific skill gaps.
9. Consulting project proposal template
As a consultant, you want to emphasize problem-solving strategies, proposed methodologies, deliverables, costs, and expected outcomes. This proposal template helps frame that information and remains customizable enough to work with consulting services across multiple industries.
Tip: Incorporate case studies or testimonials to showcase successful consulting projects or solutions.
10. Education project proposal template
This template is structured to outline educational initiatives, curriculum changes, or program enhancements. It focuses on educational objectives, teaching methodologies, resource allocation, budget estimation, and evaluation criteria.
It can work great for corporate training, leadership development, or any other educational work you’re leading at your business.
Tip: Emphasize how the proposed changes or initiatives align with educational standards or contribute to student success.
11. Non-profit project proposal template
For a non-profit project proposal, it’s important to highlight its social impact, community engagement, fundraising strategies, budget allocation, and volunteer involvement. It’s designed to convey your mission and its significance.
Tip: Highlight successful initiatives or stories of changed lives to illustrate the impact of your non-profit.
12. Sales project proposal template
Very likely the most commonly used type of proposal, sales requires a very detailed outline of products or services, pricing, benefits, ROI projections, and proposed strategies. You can easily customize this template for B2B or B2C sales.
Tip: Identify your client’s pain points and include them in your proposal alongside your solution.
13. Human resources project proposal template
This template is best used to outline initiatives such as recruitment strategies, training programs, employee benefits, or policy changes. This template focuses on HR objectives, methodologies, implementation plans, and budget allocation.
Tip: Showcase the anticipated positive impact on employee satisfaction and company performance. Provide evidence and proof that your approach has yielded positive results in the past and has a proven track record.
14. IT infrastructure project proposal template
You can use this type of proposal to pitch implementing an IT infrastructure or upgrading it. It includes technical specifications, budget breakdowns, timelines, and risk mitigation strategies.
Tip: Emphasize scalability, security, and technological advancements when you pitch your services.
15. Real estate project proposal template
This template outlines property details, market analysis, project scope, and financial details. You can use this project proposal for property development, sales, or investments.
Tip: Include visuals like property images or location maps to help readers visualize your ideas.
16. Financial project proposal template
Unsurprisingly, a financial proposal highlights financial strategies, budget allocation, ROI projections, risk assessment, and expected outcomes. It’s best used for funding requests, investment proposals, or financial planning.
Tip: Emphasize the projected financial returns and risk mitigation strategies.
17. Arts and culture project proposal template
To best represent cultural initiatives, art projects, or events in a compelling manner, it’s important to lean heavily on displaying artistic significance, community involvement, budget allocation, and expected cultural impact.
Tip: Showcase previous successful cultural events or artistic collaborations to highlight credibility and creativity. Make sure to include promotion strategies for your project.
18. Engineering project proposal template
For engineering projects, it’s important to focus on technical specifications and design alongside project scope, methodologies, technical specifications, budget estimates, and anticipated outcomes.
Tip: Make sure your technical approach and specifications are as detailed as possible. This information can raise issues for your client if your technical specifications aren’t compatible with their existing infrastructure.
Tips and best practices
Writing a great project proposal comes down to filtering the most important information for your industry, business, services, and client. There’s a lot you can include in this document, but if it’s irrelevant, too long, or way off-topic, it may cause more damage than good.
Write compelling objectives: Your objectives should be specific, measurable, achievable, relevant, and time-bound (SMART). Modify them to fit your proposal type.
Write for your audience: Write each proposal with your audience in mind. A research project proposal, for example, should focus on clearly defined objectives and adhere to academic standards, while a non-profit project proposal should highlight social impact and take on a storytelling approach.
Structure an effective approach: Your approach needs to match the nuances of each proposal type. Whether it’s research, marketing, or education, customize your methodology and strategies to align with the project’s objectives. For example, if you’re writing a research project proposal, your objectives should focus on the gap in knowledge that your research fills.
Allocate resources and prepare your budget plans: Develop a detailed and realistic budget plan. Allocate resources considering the unique needs of each project. Prioritize expenditures and ensure alignment with project goals. For example, if you’re writing an engineering proposal, it’s important to consider necessary expenses like hiring costs, technology, and software.
Set evaluation and success metrics: Different project scopes demand different metrics. Whether it’s ROI for financial proposals or community impact for non-profit projects, establish measurable criteria to assess success.
A project proposal can help you set the stage for success. While a business plan helps you create your entire operation, a proposal is a tool of a smaller scale and approach that highlights key information, making it possible for you to secure project funding, win clients, or implement groundbreaking projects.
A persuasive project proposal does more than communicate your vision and plan for the project. It showcases your dedication and capability to execute it. Once approved, you can leverage Zapier‘s project management automation to set up the workflows you need for a seamless project launch and execution. Learn more about how to automate project management.