How to write a business proposal

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How to write a business proposal

A well-written business proposal will help you convince people to come on board, support your project and fund it. Before you start writing think about who you are writing it for. What do they need to see that will give them the confidence to support you? People consume information in different ways so feel free to use pictures, graphs and stories, and don’t forget to write in clear, simple sentences.

Tip: Make sure your business proposal doesn’t land on the decision-makers desk out of the blue. Always talk to them first, before you start writing if you can, and definitely call them to let them know it’s coming. They are more likely to support your project if you have built up a relationship already.

Cover Page

Include title, organisation and contact details.


Core message, key statistics, succinct description of problem, brief outline of proposal to fix problem including the aims and any links to existing programs.

Current situation

More detail on the problems you are trying to fix. Include evidence base – as graphs or diagrams if possible. Spell out the current policy context, relevant recent or imminent changes. Include a relevant case study or two.

Project outline

Set out project aims and intended outcomes in more detail. Include specific information on how the project will be delivered. Include target outcomes/benefits and outputs.


How will the project be managed? What is the governance structure? Who are the partners? Who is the project manager?

Quality Management

Who will make sure the project complies with quality standards?


How will you evaluate the success of the project? (How much did we do? How well did we do it? Is anyone better off because of our work?)

Work Plan

Step out each phase of the project and what will happen in those phases.


Summarise the project’s budget and expected expenditure. Include other resources, eg HR, IT and in-kind.