There is no quicker way to move an idea into action than through writing a proposal.

The thought of writing a proposal often seems daunting or lofty, but many are one page or less. While there is no set length, a proposal is designed to clarify your thoughts and frame the question for those who are involved in the discussion and decision making. In other words, a proposal puts in writing what you would say to a person were you having an in-person conversation about what you want and why.

To make your proposal most effective, include these three components:

1. A context: Answer WHY
Anticipate questions and try to answer them in advance
> Why do you want a change?
> Why is this issue being raised?
> What is the policy or situation now?
> What problem are you trying to solve?
> Why should this change be made?

2. A specific recommendation: WHAT
> What change do you want?
> What specific action are you proposing?
> What specifically would the change cost (if anything)?
> When do you want the change to occur?
> Who have you talked to that supports the change?

3. The next steps that are required: HOW
> What will it take to make the change happen?
> What needs to happen next if the change is approved?
> Where will funding come from?
> Who is in charge of implementation and communication?

Add your name and date and presto — you have a proposal. In this age of electronic communication, it is so much easier to facilitate action when there is something in writing that can be shared. Don’t let intimidation of the process keep you from putting your ideas forward.

beth triplett

If you want to see some actual samples, I would be happy to share.

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