How to Create the Perfect Project Proposal in 5 Easy Steps


9 min read

How to Create Project Proposal

If you are reading this article, we bet you have wonderful project ideas, worth the funding and resources. Now the only thing that’s left is to sell your idea and present your project in an efficient manner to the external stakeholders. This is why crafting a compelling, interesting, and dynamic project proposal will get you one step closer to your goal.

In this article, we quickly go through what a project proposal is and why is it important. We’ll also highlight 5 easy steps to create perfect project proposals that will get you noticed and give you resources for project proposal templates that will save you time building one from scratch.


What is a Project Proposal

A project proposal is an initial document for establishing the project’s concept. It describes the purpose, an explanation of objectives, and the expected. In short, its main purpose is to sell your idea and present your project in an efficient manner to the external stakeholders by keeping them involved in the initiative.

It is not a formal agreement like the project contract, it’s mainly communicating how a project will be approached.

Some of the main characteristics of the project proposal are:

  • Offering a logical presentation of a possible project
  • Drafted during the early phases of a project
  • Budget and times estimates are approximate and rough
  • Explains the origin of the project, illustrate its significance of it, and list project related activities

Therefore, the project proposal plays an important role in pitching a project to your stakeholders/clients and having a further discussion of your ideas and solutions.


Why is a Project Proposal Important?

By creating a project proposal, you describe your services to potential decision-makers. This way, they can compare vendors and pick the best provider for their needs.

Your project proposal is basically a sales document that persuades the decision-maker that you have the skills and expertise to complete the project up to their standards.

It sets clear expectations for the relationship between the service provider and the client and outlines details such as budget, timeframe, and deliverables that will go to the contract once the project gets the green light.


5 Steps for Crafting an Effective Project Proposal

Creating an impressive project proposal shouldn’t be a daunting task. We have broken down the process for you in a few, simple to follow steps.

1. Do your research:

Gather facts, evidence, and examples

Your proposal should be based on facts and evidence. So start strong, and present your audience with some background info for your project proposal – this will be your WHY the audience should pay attention.

Here you can describe some problems, challenges, and opportunities that exist. By showing the stakeholders you have a solution for one of their problems, you immediately create value for their business.

2. Define the benefits:

Define the audience, the problem you are solving, deliverables and success criteria, outline schedule, and budget.

Ok, so you’ve already outlined WHY your idea is valuable and the next question is, who is going to benefit from it. WHO are you creating what you are creating.

At this stage you should consider a few points:

  • If your audience is familiar with the problem
  • Does the audience need background information and how much
  • What they want to hear
  • Try to convey your message in a way, that is easy to understand for them
  • Prepare for possible questions and clarifications

One of the things your audience will be mostly concerned with is what you deliver and the quality of it.

Here are some tips on how to make a good impression with clearly defined deliverables:

  • Include the delivery date of most of your deliverables – explain what stakeholders can expect at what moment
  • Keep your solutions SMART (specific, measurable, achievable, realistic, and time-bound)

Not in last place, you need to say a few things about your proposed schedule and budget too:

  • Try to include as much detail as possible and break down the budget into categories
  • Keep in mind that some projects may require financial statements and funding sources
  • Try to give as precise as possible start and end dates, plus include information on what sections of the project can be done simultaneously

Even if you’ve carefully considered all the parts above, you will have competitors, who will also be doing their best in structuring well their proposals and information. We have the next tip on how you can outshine them and that’s when you:

3. Find your unique hook

We understand that you can’t offer new solutions for each project – that’s not realistic. But in such cases, you can offer higher-quality service, for example. Uniqueness also comes from the things you can do best – if you can break down complex projects into smaller, manageable pieces – make sure to show it in your proposal!

The next step we’re going to talk about is also very important – time is money. And you certainly don’t want to waste your time, or worse, not find the time to create the best project proposal you are capable of. That’s why it’s important to:

4. Create a Project Proposal Outline Template:

Save time crafting from scratch

Here are the main structural elements that your project proposal can include:

  • Executive summary – it is essentially the project’s elevator pitch. It states the problem clearly, addresses how your proposed project plans to solve the problem and discusses the criteria and expectations for a successful project.
  • Background – outline both successful and unsuccessful previous projects, offer room for improvement, show how the future project will take into account the lessons from previous projects.
  • Requirements – summarize what you need throughout the project life cycle in terms of resources, tools, project schedule, etc.
  • Solution – explain how you intend to approach the project and bring it to completion; highlight the skills, project management steps, and techniques needed to handle the future project more efficiently
  • Authorization – state explicitly who the project’s decision-makers are and the stakeholders to sign-off decisions.
  • Appendix – secondary information not included in the actual proposal should be in this section – usually, extra information the stakeholders can look at – materials, team members, etc.

Templates keep the project proposal documents organized, visually appealing, and professional. They will save you a lot of time crafting your proposals from scratch. We included some sources where you can find templates for your specific project proposal, for direct free download without registration.

5. Brainstorm and practice answers for possible questions

We briefly mentioned this, when analyzing and researching your audience. But at the end of creating your project proposal, more possible questions will pop up, and it’s great to list them and carefully think about the answers. After all, the good rapport between you and your audience will leave a great impression. Otherwise, you’d have prepared a decent project proposal, but it won’t be backed up by a discussion with your audience.

So you have our five 5 best tips on creating the perfect project proposal! Still, if you want to learn more – about the types of project proposals, we’ve listed them below.


Types of Project Proposal

There are 6 main types of project proposals – formally solicited, informally solicited, unsolicited, continuation, renewal, and supplemental.

1. Formally Solicited

his type of project proposal is established in response to an official request. In this case, a Request for Proposal (RFP) document is created to outline the client’s demands.

A formally solicited proposal is a structured and specific response to said RFP.

2. Informally Solicited

An informally solicited proposal does not require a Request for Proposal document for the client’s side. Informal proposals are less detailed from the formally solicited and they need a more careful creation process because you will lack the clear demands from the client from the previous example.

3. Unsolicited project proposal

This type of project proposal exists, when the client never requested or expected to receive one – the advantage here is that if the audience can relate to your proposal, it can prove to be of great value. You will have to put extra work in to convince the audience of the project’s viability and this type of proposal will require extensive research.

4. Continuation project proposal

A continuation project proposal is essentially an update of an already approved project. This type of proposal is the simplest to create, as it is a continuation of already existing documentation.

5. Renewal

A renewal project proposal is required when an ongoing project has been terminated or the resources can no longer be used. This proposal is more about proving that the return on investment is greater than the money spent on and the project can begin again.

6. Supplemental

A supplemental project proposal suits cases where more resources are required to complete a project than the originally proposed. The aim is to prove the value of adding resources and update the audience with a timeline based on this new plan.



In conclusion, your project proposal serves as a sales tool to help you establish your credibility as a reliable service provider. An effective project proposal communicates that you are capable to carry out the specific project and fulfilling the expectations of everyone involved. By handing a well-crafted, organized, consistent project proposal, you represent your business in style and make a great first impression.

We hope we provided you with new tools for your toolset and that you will be able to follow the easy steps for creating a project proposal without any more waste of time, stress, and chaos.

If you liked this article, make sure to check out some of our other project management related articles:

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