Tips for Writing a Successful Project Proposal
By Kevin Howell
Engineers are problem-solvers at heart. They find solutions to complex issues, making life easier for individuals, communities, and organizations.
Having the skills to solve a problem is great. But if you lack the resources to develop and implement the solution, then your ideas are just dormant.
That’s why securing funding for your project is vital. And you can’t secure funding if you don’t know how to write a strong project proposal.
Writing might not be your strong suit, but you don’t have to be a great writer—you just have to be detailed and persuasive in your project proposal.
So here are some tips for writing a winning proposal.
While ambition is a welcome trait, you don’t want to describe what you dream of accomplishing with your project, you want to describe what you will accomplish with your project.
In other words, don’t promise what you aren’t sure you’re capable of delivering. Make sure the proposal details what you can reasonably accomplish within the scope of time and resources provided by the grant.
KNOW THE DONOR AND ITS MISSION
You’ll increase the chances of your project getting funded if it helps advance the funding organization’s mission.
Make sure you understand the donor’s history, goals, and requirements and adapt your project accordingly. Review past projects the organization has funded to make sure your project is a good fit.
EPICS in IEEE, which provides grants to engineer-related projects that address local community service needs, has a project archive so you can review successfully funded projects.
DESCRIBE THE SIGNIFICANCE OF THE PROJECT
Why is your project worth funding? How will it make a difference? These are questions of significance. Make sure your proposal convinces the funding organization of the impact your project will have.
A recent EPICS in IEEE project did just that:
The IEEE Colombia Section and the IEEE Student Branch at Universidad Surcolombiana in Neiva, Huila, partnered with a local non-profit to teach high school students basic concepts in electronics and photovoltaic systems.
The significance? The project helped students in a low-income area create a prototype solar charger to charge cell phones and cultivated an interest in green technology and engineering.
DETAIL THE BUDGET
When asking for funding, donors are going to want to know how you’ll use the money. So you shouldn’t only present a budget, but also detail each line item in your budget to support every phase of the project.
A proposal should be a clear presentation of your project and your team’s capability to achieve results. There’s a lot of competition for resources, so make sure you follow the above tips to increase your chances of getting funding.
Have a project idea that can impact a community? EPICs in IEEE accepts applications for grants all year. Find out more here.