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Overview. In this proposal, a student, taking on the role of an independent consultation, is responding to a request for proposals (RFP) for the development of a handbook for nursinf staff to help elderly patients with swallowing disorders. Thus, it is an external, solicited
proposal. In our technical writing course, this proposal fills the bill
nicely: it proposes to document care procedures and then provide them in the form of a handbook.
Cover letter to the potential client. Notice how the cover letter is used for this proposal. The proposal itself is a separate document. Notice that the cover states the topic and purpose of the proposed handbook and then provides an overview of the contents of the proposal that is attached.
Report format for the proposal. Notice that the proposal uses the standard report format with centered title on the first page along with headings, tables, and lists in the body. Notice how the introduction of the proposal repeats some of the information in the cover letter. That's not a mistake: the cover letter could get detached from the proposal; the proposal needs its own full-fledged introduction.
Proposal introduction. Notice how this proposal indicates how the writer heard about the RFP, makes some positive comments about the handbook, and provides an overview of the contents of the rest of the proposal that follows.
Overview. Take a look specifically at the overview—very important element to include in business letters, memos, and report!
Background on the need for the proposed project. Like many proposals, this one begins with a discussion of the need for the handbook. While the recipients know why they need a handbook, including a discussion of the need here establishes that the proposal writer understands that need. And, for readers who are not convinced of the need, this section begins the process of convincing that the project needs to be done.
Description of the proposed project. Having presented the problem, this writer now goes on to discuss the solution—the handbook. This is a vital element in any proposal: the recipients need to know what the proposer intends to do, what "deliverable" the proposer intends to develop..
Benefits. Having read about the need and about the project that will address that need, the writer now presents the benefits that will be gained from hiring this writer to do the proposed project. Again, this is standard persuasion technique: get the readers concerned about a problem, propose a solution, then reveal the benefits. (There is nothing required about this sequence of sections: the writer could have combined the need and the benefits sections and called it "background.")
More description of the project. This next section presents a detailed outline of the proposed handbook. Again, this is vital for the potential clients to see: they can compare the outlines from the different competing proposals and pick the one that best meets their needs. (The writer could have chosen instead to combine the handbook description and outline sections.)
Graphics. Graphics to be included in the handbook are listed here more because of assignment requirements than because proposals require them. Do you think that in "the real world" there would ever be any reason to list graphics? Would doing so ever help convince the reader to accept the writer's proposal?
Bibliography. The same is true of the bibliography here as was true of the graphics listing. It is included because of assignment requirements—not because proposals routinely require them.
Schedule. Most proposals provide a schedule for the proposed project, a list of dates for critical milestones in the project or a list of time frames in which each of the phases of the project will be completed.
Qualifications. Proposals typically contain "mini-resumes" of their authors. In this case, the writer lists four or five of her main qualifications to do this work.
Cost. Now, at long last, we see what the proposed project is going to cost. Why so late? We want to convince our readers of the need for the project, the wonderful benefits that will arise from addressing that need, the soundness of our plan for addressing that need, our strong qualifications for carrying out the proposed project, and so on. With all that accomplished, let's hope the price tag doesn't seem so exhorbitant!
Conclusion. This proposal like most ends with cordial words encouraging the readers to get in touch.
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