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“The purpose of a proposal,” as our textbook indicates, is to present your ideas and plans for your readers to consider” (196). Considering the issue/opportunity that you identified in Module 8, what are 3-5 takeaways from Chapter 8 that are most useful for you to better understand how to write a proposal? In other words, what will you need to consider from this chapter as you complete the proposal project? As you respond, pull in parts from the chapter to help illustrate/support your response. 350-500 wordsThere is no format requirement, just give me 1-3 paragraph, more than 350 words,

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Types of Proposals 196
Step 1: Make a Plan and Do
Research 196
Step 2: Organize and Draft Your
Proposal 203
Step 3: Choose the Style, Design,
and Medium 218
In this chapter, you will learn:
• The purpose of proposals and their uses in the workplace.
• The basic features and types of proposals.
• How to plan and do research for a proposal.
• How to organize and draft the major sections in a proposal.
• Strategies for using plain and persuasive style to make a proposal
• How document design and graphics can enhance a proposal.
Microgenre: The Elevator
Pitch 223
What You Need to Know 225
Exercises and Projects 225
Case Study: The Mole 229
roposals are the lifeblood of the technical workplace. Whatever your field, you
will be asked to write proposals that describe new projects, present ideas, offer
new strategies, and promote services. The purpose of a proposal is to present your
ideas and plans for your readers to consider. Almost all projects begin with proposals,
so you need to master this important genre to be successful.
Types of Proposals
Proposals are categorized in a couple of different ways. Internal proposals are used
within a company to plan or propose new projects or products. External proposals are
used to offer services or products to clients outside the company.
Proposals are also classified as solicited or unsolicited, depending on whether they
were requested by the readers.
Solicited proposals are proposals requested by the readers. For example,
your company’s management might request proposals for new projects. Or,
your team might be  “solicited”  to write a proposal that answers a request for
proposals (RFP) sent out by a client.
Unsolicited proposals are proposals not requested by the readers. For
example, your team might prepare an unsolicited internal proposal to pitch
an innovative idea to your company’s management. Or, your team might
use an unsolicited external proposal as a sales tool to offer your company’s
clients a product or service.
Figure 8.1 shows an internal, solicited proposal. In this example, a team within the
company is pitching a plan to overhaul the company’s website. This proposal is being
used to persuade management to agree to the team’s ideas.
Another kind of proposal is the grant proposal. Researchers and nonprofit organizations prepare grant proposals to obtain funding for their projects. For example, one
of the major funding sources for grants in science and technology is the National Science Foundation (NSF). Through its website, the NSF offers funding opportunities for
scientific research (Figure 8.2).
Step 1: Make a Plan and Do Research
Because proposals are difficult to write, it is important to follow a reliable writing
process that will help you develop your proposal’s content, organization, style, and
design. An important first step in this process is to start with a planning and researching phase. During this phase, you will define the rhetorical situation and start collecting content for the proposal.
A good way to start planning your proposal is to analyze the situations in which it
will be used. Begin by answering the Five-W and How Questions:
Who will be able to say yes to my ideas, and what are their characteristics?
Why is this proposal being written?
What information do the readers need to make a decision?
Where will the proposal be used?
When will the proposal be used?
How will the proposal be used?
Chapter 8 Proposals
Here is a basic model for organizing a proposal. This organizational pattern, though, is flexible, allowing the contents of a proposal to be arranged in a variety of ways. The proposal genre is not a formula
to be followed mechanically.You should alter this pattern to suit the needs of your proposal’s subject,
purpose, readers, and context of use.
Front Matter
Quick Start
Current Situation
Project Plan
Graphics, such
as pictures,
tables, and
graphs, can be
used throughout
the body of the
Costs and Benefits
Back Matter
Basic Features of Proposals
In technical workplaces, proposals tend to have the following features:
• Introduction that identifies the problem and your solution
• Description of the current situation that explains the problem, including its causes and
• Description of the project plan that shows step by step how the problem can be solved
• Graphics and graphs that illustrate the problem and the project plan
• Qualifications that describe who will participate in the project
• Summary of costs and benefits
• Budget that itemizes the costs of the project
Step 1: Make a Plan and Do Research
An Internal Solicited Proposal
proposals are
often written
in memo
Date: April 11, 2014
To: Jim Trujillo, VP of Operations
From: Sarah Voss, Lambda Engineering Team Leader
Re: Cutting Costs
At our meeting on April 4th, you asked each project team to come
up with one good idea for cutting costs. Our team met on April 7th
to kick around some ideas. At this meeting we decided that the best
way to cut costs is to expand and enhance the company’s website.
Our Current Website
signals that
the proposal
was solicited.
This section
describes the
When we developed the current website in Spring 2008, it served our
company’s purposes quite well. For its time, the website was attractive
and interactive.
Six years later, our website is no longer cutting edge—it’s obsolete.
The website
• looks antiquated, making our company seem out of touch
• does not address our customers’ questions about current products
• does not address our customers’ needs for product documentation
•• is not a tool that our salespeople can use to provide answers

and documentation to the customers
does not answer frequently asked questions, forcing clients to
call our toll-free customer service lines for answers to simple
As a result, our outdated website is causing a few important
problems. First, we are likely losing sales because our customers
don’t see us as cutting edge. Second, we are wasting hundreds of
thousands of dollars on printed documents that the customers throw
away after a glance. And, third, we are unnecessarily spending many
more thousands of dollars on customer service representatives and
tollfree phone lines. A conservative estimate suggests that our outdated
website could be costing us around $400,000 each year.
Chapter 8 Proposals
Figure 8.1:
This small
proposal is
an internal
proposal that
is pitching a
new idea to
a manager.
After a brief
it describes
the current
situation and
offers a plan
for solving a
problem. It
concludes by
the benefits
of the plan.
The main
point of the
is stated up
Figure 8.1:
Renovating the Website
This section
offers a plan
for the readers’
We believe a good way to cut costs and improve customer relations is
to renovate the website. We envision a fully interactive site that
customers can use to find answers to their questions, check on
prices, and communicate with our service personnel. Meanwhile, our
sales staff can use the website to discuss our products with clients.
Instead of lugging around printed documents, our salespeople would
use their tablet computers to show products or make presentations.
Renovating the site will require four major steps:
Step One: Study the Potential Uses of Our Website
With a consultant, we should study how our website might be better
used by customers and salespeople. The consultant would survey our
clients and salespeople to determine what kind of website would be
most useful to them. The consultant would then develop a design for
the website.
Step Two: Hire a Professional Web Designer to Renovate the Site
The plan is
step by step.
We should hire a professional web designer to implement our design,
because modern websites are rather complex. A professional would
provide us with an efficient, well-organized website that would
include all the functions we are seeking.
Step Three: Train One of Our Employees to Be a Webmaster
We should hire or retrain one of our employees to be the webmaster
of the site. We need someone who is working on the site daily and
making regular updates. Being the webmaster for the site should be
this employee’s job description.
Step Four: User-Test the New Website with Our Customers and
Once we have created a new version of the website, we should user-test
it with our customers and salespeople. Perhaps we could pay some of
our customers to try out the site and show us where it could be
improved. Our salespeople will certainly give us plenty of feedback.
Step 1: Make a Plan and Do Research
Figure 8.1:
At the end of this process, we would have a fully functioning website
that would save us money almost immediately.
Costs and Benefits of Our Idea
Renovating the website would have many advantages:
concludes by
costs and
benefits of
the plan.

The new website will save us printing costs. We estimate that
the printing costs at our company could be sliced in half—
perhaps more—because our customers would be able to
download our documents directly from the website, rather
than ask us to send these documents to them. That’s a potential savings of $300,000.
The new website will provide better service to our customers.
Currently, our customers go to the website first when they
have questions. By providing more information in an interactive format, we can cut down dramatically on calls to our
customer service center. We could save up to $120,000 in personnel costs and long-distance charges.
Our sales staff will find the new website a useful tool when
they have questions. When products change, salespeople will
immediately see those changes reflected on the website. As
a result, more sales might be generated because product information will be immediately available online.
A quick estimate shows that a website renovation would cost us
about $40,000. We would also need to shift the current webmaster’s
responsibilities from part time to full time, costing us about $20,000
per year more. The savings, though, are obvious. For an initial
investment of $60,000 and a yearly investment of $20,000 thereafter,
we will minimally save about $400,000 a year.
Thank you for giving us this opportunity to present our ideas. If you
would like to talk with us about this proposal, please call me at
555-1204, or e-mail me at
Chapter 8 Proposals
The National Science Foundation Home Page
Figure 8.2:
The National
(NSF) website
offers information on
grant opportunities. The
home page,
shown here,
some of
the recent
projects that
have received
Source: National Science Foundation,
Once you have answered these questions, you are ready to start thinking in-depth
about your proposal’s subject, purpose, readers, and context of use.
Subject   Define exactly what your proposal is about. Where are the boundaries of
the subject? What need-to-know information must readers have if they are going to
say yes to your ideas?
Purpose   Clearly state the purpose of your proposal in one sentence. What should
the proposal achieve?
Some key action verbs for your purpose statement might include the following:
to persuade
to convince
to provide
to describe
to argue for
to advocate
to present
to propose
to offer
to suggest
to recommend
to support
A purpose statement might look something like this:
The purpose of this proposal is to recommend that our company change
its manufacturing process to include more automation.
Step 1: Make a Plan and Do Research
For more
help on defining needto-know
information, go to
Chapter 2,
page 20.
To read
more about
your purpose, go to
Chapter 1,
page 5.
In this proposal, our aim is to persuade the state of North Carolina to
develop a multimodal approach to protect itself from stronger hurricanes,
which may be caused by climate change.
Readers   More than any other kind of document, proposals require you to fully
understand your readers and anticipate their needs, values, and attitudes.
Primary readers (action takers) are the people who can approve your ideas. They
need good reasons and solid evidence to understand and agree to your ideas.
For more
for analyzing your
see Chapter
2, page 19.
Secondary readers (advisors) are usually technical experts in your field. They
won’t be the people who say yes to your proposal, but their opinions will be
highly valued by your proposal’s primary readers.
Tertiary readers (evaluators) can be just about anyone else who might have
an interest in the project and could potentially undermine it. These readers
might include lawyers, journalists, and community activists, among others.
Gatekeepers (supervisors) are the people at your own company who will need
to look over your proposal before it is sent out.Your immediate supervisor is a
gatekeeper, as are your company’s accountants, lawyers, and technical advisors.
Context Of Use   The document’s context of use will also greatly influence how
your readers interpret the ideas in your proposal.
Physical context concerns the places your readers may read, discuss, or use
your proposal.
Economic context involves the financial issues and economic trends that will
shape readers’ responses to your ideas.
For more
help defining the
context of
use, turn to
Chapter 2,
page 22.
Ethical context involves any ethical or legal issues involved in your proposed
Political context concerns the people inside and outside your company who
will be affected by your proposal.
Proposals are legal documents that can be brought into court if a dispute occurs, so
you need to make sure that everything you say in the proposal is accurate and truthful.
After defining your proposal’s rhetorical situation, you should start collecting information and creating the content of your document (Figure 8.3). Chapter 14 describes how
to do research, so research strategies won’t be fully described here. As a brief review,
here are some research strategies that are especially applicable for writing proposals:
Do Background Research   The key to writing a persuasive proposal is to fully
understand the problem you are trying to solve. Use the Internet, print sources, and
empirical methods to find as much information about your subject as you can.
Ask Subject Matter Experts (SMEs)   Spend time interviewing experts who
know a great amount about your subject. They can give you insight into the problem
you are trying to solve and suggest some potential solutions.
Chapter 8 Proposals
Doing Research on Your Subject
do background
Researching for
a Proposal
ask subject
matter experts
causes of
identify causes
and effects
collect visuals
charts and
effects of
find similar
Figure 8.3:
A logical map,
like this one,
might help
you research
your subject
from a variety
of directions.
When researching the
of a proposal,
collect as
much information as
Pay Attention To Causes And Effects   All problems have causes, and all
causes create effects. In your analysis of the problem your proposal is trying to solve,
identify any causes and effects.
Find Similar Proposals   On the Internet or at your workplace, you can probably
locate proposals that have dealt with similar problems in the past. They might give
you some insight into how those problems were solved.
Collect Visuals   Proposals are persuasive documents, so they often include plenty
of graphics, such as photographs, charts, illustrations, and graphs. Collect any materials, data, and information that will help you add a visual dimension to your proposal.
If appropriate, you might use a digital camera or your mobile phone to take pictures
to include in the document.
To learn
more about
doing re-search, turn to
Chapter 14,
page 365.
Step 2: Organize and Draft Your Proposal
Writing the first draft of a proposal is always difficult because proposals describe the
future—a future that you are trying to envision for your readers and yourself.
A good way to draft your proposal is to write it one section at a time. Think of the
proposal as four or five separate mini-documents that can stand alone. When you finish drafting one section, move on to the next.
Also, before drafting, check if your readers require a specific format or arrangement
for the proposal. The information sheet in Figure 8.4, for example, includes helpful advice on writing community-planning proposals from the Rural Development Offices of
the US Department of Agriculture. As demonstrated in this information sheet, each
scientific and technical discipline alters the proposal genre to fit its specific needs.
Step 2: Organize and Draft Your Proposal
Grant Proposal Guidelines
Figure 8.4:
explain how
this government agency
prefers proposals to be
Source: Rural Development, USDA,
Chapter 8 Proposals
Figure 8.4:
Step 2: Organize and Draft Your Proposal
Writing the Introduction
As with all documents, the proposal’s introduction sets a context, or framework, for the
body of the document. A proposal’s introduction will usually include up to six moves:
Move 1: Define the subject, stating clearly what the proposal is about.
Move 2: State the purpose of the proposal, preferably in one sentence.
For additional help
on writing
introductions, see
Chapter 15,
page 399.
Move 3: State the proposal’s main point.
Move 4: Stress the importance of the subject.
Move 5: Offer background information on the subject.
Move 6: Forecast the organization of the proposal.
These moves can be made in just about any order, depending on your proposal,
and they are not all required. Minimally, your proposal’s introduction should clearly
identify your subject, purpose, and main point. The other three moves are helpful, but
they are optional. Figure 8.5 shows a sample introduction that uses all six moves.
Describing the Current Situation
The aim of the current situation section—sometimes called the background section—is
to define the problem your plan will solve. You should accomplish three things in this
section of the proposal:
• Define and describe the problem.
• Discuss the causes of the problem.
• Discuss the effects of the problem if nothing is done.
For example, let us say you are writing a proposal to improve safety at your college
or workplace. Your current situation section would first define the problem by proving
there is a lack of safety and showing its seriousness. Then, it would discuss the causes
and effects of that problem.
Mapping Out The Situation   Logical mapping is a helpful technique for develop-
ing your argument in the current situation section. Here are some steps you can follow
to map out the content:
The Current Situation
At a Glance
• Define and describe
1. Write the problem in the middle of your screen or piece of paper. Put
a circle around the problem.
the problem.
2. Write down the two to five major causes of that problem. Circle them,
and connect them to the problem.
the problem.
3. Write down some minor causes around each major cause, treating
each major cause as a separate problem of its own. Circle the minor
causes and connect them to …
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