M E M O R A N D U M _________________________________________________________
English 331 DE Students
March 30, 2011
Guidelines for Proposal Assignment
Foundation Memo (5%):
due Apr 7, 11p, Assignments
Proposal (25%): due May 7, 11p, Assignments
These assignments are coupon-eligible, but there
s very little wiggle-room for
lates, misplaced submissions, or unopenable files.
Keep me posted!
Proposals are generally the lifeblood of organizations; however, it’s eas
y to underestimate the value of
determining a persuasive strategy based on the benefits your readers will value and of highlighting those
benefits as well as the technical problem-solving.
Therefore, your final assignment is to prepare a proposal
that demonstrates your ability to synthesize the most important tenets of this course.
This memo gives you the basic information you need to understand the scope of this project which includes
the Foundation Memo (5%), the Proposal (25%). Examples and supplementary information are also posted
under Unit Five.
a proposal anyway?
All proposals have at least one thing in common: they try to persuade the reader(s) to make an investment
of money, time, staff, etc. They usually offer a way to solve a problem, meet a need, take advantage of an
opportunity, or provide a service.
Proposals explain not only
to do, but
to do it.
Beyond that, there are lots of different circumstances that shape proposals.
For example, if you prepare a
proposal for someone in your organization, it’s an
for someone outside of your
If the reader asked you to prepare the proposal, it’s
organizations prepare a Request for Proposals (RFP) or a Request for Bids (RFB) to explain what they need
and how they will evaluate submitted proposals.
Other organizations compete for the jobs being solicited.
On the other hand, if you offer the proposal on your own, it’s
Writers of unsolicited proposals
have to be very careful with their tone, especially as they explain the problem they are trying to solve, because
they need to convince the reader that there is indeed a situation that needs addressing, but they don’t want to
put the reader on the defensive.
But, whether your proposal is solicited or unsolicited, expect your audience
to be skeptical, as people are generally conservative about investments.
Usually proposals have multiple audiences.
is the decision-maker.
Although this reader is often a non-expert reader, s/he has
the power to approve your idea.
You have to be very careful about using jargon, and about
addressing the concerns and goals related to this person’s position in the organization.
Do not make
defeating mistake of thinking of this reader as your “dumb” r