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Overview. In this proposal, the writer is bidding on a contract to develop a user guide for an Army rifle. This is a fairly common situation: a manufacturer does not have publications staff on hand to write the manuals for its new and updated products. The manufacturer sends out a request for proposals (RFP) to its customary vendors, receives proposals, and selects the best one.
Business letter to the potential client. Short and sweet—well, not so sweet—this cover letter refers to previous contact with the potential client, the purpose of the attached document, and an overview of its contents.
Report format. This proposal uses the report format, which means it's a separate document with headings and all the other elements of a formal report. The writer could have combined everything into the business letter format, but probably decided that the proposal was too long for that.
Proposal introduction. Notice that the introduction to the proposal repeats some of the content in the cover letter. That's because the cover lettercould be detached from the proposal as it is circulated around the potential client's organization.
Overview of the contents of the proposal. As in all well-written professional documents, this proposal contains an overview of the contents to follow.
Audience and purpose. This proposal establishes right away the audience characteristics that will be assumed by the writers of the handbook. When you describe the audience of a technical document, you define the minimum knowledge, skills, and experience that you assume. Notice that in this proposal, the writer is going to assume that readers of the proposed handbook will have never used a firearm at all! That's going to mean more hours and more pages and thus more cost—something that the potential client may want to modify.
Description of the finished product. This proposal contains a details section describing the finished handbook, including projected page count, handbook size, graphics, and outline. This makes sense: if potential clients are expecting to spend nearly $20,000 on this project, they want to have as detailed an idea of the handbook as possible.
Qualifications. This proposal contains a "mini-resume" of the company that is bidding on this project. Notice that the writer cites both technical experience (use of various firearms) as well as writing, graphics, and publishing experience.
Cost. Notice the amount of detail included in the cost section. This proposal lays out the projections for hours to be spent on the writing, editing, graphics, and management of the project and attaches an hourly for each.
Information sources. In this section, the writer lists information sources she'll use to develop the handbook. This section is for the instructor, who wants to be reassured that the student has found adequate sources to do the project.
Schedule. This writer lists the key milestones in the handbook project.
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