Breakdown of the Proposal Writing Format

Gathering Information

Before you even begin with your proposal writing, you will need to gather information about your idea, expenses, and donors.  It is important that you clearly understand what your concept is and how it will be carried out.  Additionally, you will need to have an idea of what the expected results of your idea are.  With this information, you will be able to follow a proposal writing format much easier. Then, break down all of the expenses you will have and find documentation to back them up.

One crucial step which many people forget is researching donors.  A proposal is more likely to succeed if it is written in a way which fits with the philosophy of a donor.

Executive Summary

The executive summary is the first part of the proposal writing format. This should be about one page and give an overall description of all the key points in your proposal.  The executive summary is the most important part of the proposal writing summary. To make a strong statement which is easy to follow, you may consider breaking it down into these sections:

  • The problem
  • The solution to the problem
  • The funds which are needed to implement the solution
  • Your expertise which makes you capable of implementing the solution

Statement of Need

This part of the proposal writing format is addresses why your idea is important. It should generally be about two pages long.  Generally, the statement of need starts out with a problem and then gives information to back this up.  Make sure that all information is followed up with up-to-date and accurate information.

Next, make sure that you are giving the reader hope that the problem can be fixed.  Make sure that you are not simply stating the absence of the solution as the problem.  Additionally, make sure that you are focusing on why your problem is worse than other problems or why your solution makes more sense than other solutions.

Project Description

This part of the proposal writing format should be about three pages long and will go over all the steps to implement your idea. This should be broken down into various sections such as objectives, methods, staff requirements, evaluating methods, post-project evaluation, and long-term project sustainability. All of these aspects should be dependent on each other.  For example, the knowledge of staff required depends on the type of methods used.


The budget is one of the most difficult yet most crucial parts of the proposal writing format.  Make sure that you have carefully calculated current and future costs for the project.

Organization Information

This is the part of the proposal writing format where you will attach your resume.  In two pages, you will want to describe your organization in detail about the mission statement, how employees are recruited, the audience you serve, and any other important information.


It is good to have a conclusion to wrap up the proposal writing format.  Generally, two paragraphs are enough to summarize the proposal.  Additionally, you may want to mention what you expect for the future after your proposal is completed.