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Chapter 10. Proposals > Types of proposals

Types of proposals

There are various types of proposals, some of which might fall into more than one of the following categories:

  • Informal proposals are relatively short documents, ranging from one to four pages in length, and are often submitted as a memo or letter. Informal proposals are often used for internal purposes and do not want detailed segmentation. Keep in mind that although formal and informal proposals are used for different purposes, they both contain the same basic information. The primary focus is on what you can do for the client and how you can do it.

  • Formal proposals are usually submitted as formal reports and are much longer than informal proposals. Therefore, formal proposals are more segmented than informal proposals and include a variety of elements, including a cover letter, a table of contents, and an executive summary. They also require a more formal style of writing, although you do not want a formal proposal to come across as stuffy or unnatural.

    When responding to a request for proposal (RFP), a formal proposal is the most appropriate format. In addition, writing to obtain grant money or detailing a company’s business plan is best done in a formal proposal format.

  • External proposals are sent to parties outside the organization, such as clients or potential clients.

  • Internal proposals are sent to parties within your organization. For example, your employer might ask for new product ideas or suggestions for organizational changes. Business plan proposals are a common type of internal proposals.

  • Solicited proposals come from clients who have a need or problem that they would like you to address. For example, proposals written in response to RFPs are considered solicited proposals.

  • Unsolicited proposals are sent to potential clients to initiate contact and generate business. A common example is a brief sales letter pitching a new product or service. In addition, if you have developed a solution to a problem within your organization, you might send an internal, unsolicited proposal to upper management.



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