Proposal writing is the process of applying for funding grants for a specific cause or purpose. Typical applicants include nonprofit organizations, academic researchers, and educational or cultural institutions, and typical grant-making institutions include government agencies, public or private foundations, and philanthropic trusts.
Proposals usually include a description of the problem to be solved, a statement of objectives and goals, project planning details, and a budget. Grants can be very competitive, and a professional, well-written proposal can play a critical role in convincing grant-makers to fund a project.
Proposal writing skills are important for careers in any field that relies on public or private fundraising for their work. Common examples of jobs in this area include roles in fundraising and development at non-profit organizations as well as researchers in science and academia.
Grant writing can also be a full-time job for those with the passion and skills to write for a cause. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, some grant writers are employed full-time by large non-profit organizations or charities, while others may be self-employed and work for a variety of smaller clients. These professionals help their clients by researching grant programs aligned with their needs as well as writing and submitting proposals for funding.
Yes! Coursera offers courses and Specializations to help your proposal writing skills, including courses in business English and writing that can strengthen your communication skills regardless of whether you are a native speaker or learning English as a second language. These courses are presented by top-ranked institutions like the University of Washington, the University of California, Davis, and the University of Colorado Boulder, and taught by faculty who will help you develop confidence and clarity in your writing.
The skills and experience you might want to have before starting to learn proposal writing may normally include excellent business writing skills, as most proposals are usually involved in winning some type of business work. When you learn about proposal writing, you may learn how to become a better writer, one who can write a persuasive document that intends to influence or win a favorable response. This would include learning how to position bullet points and visual elements within a proposal, as well as making sure that your topics and sections are properly aligned and convincingly described. Ultimately, the skills and experience that would help you learn proposal writing would be those that make you a good all-around communicator—clear thought processes, powerful use of language, and a clear understanding of communications fundamentals.
The kind of people who are best suited for roles in proposal writing may include those who have learned smart communication principles, have excellent verbal and written skills, and can craft persuasive written proposals. These people are often those who work in company marketing and communications departments or act as an organization’s writing leader. Typically, the kind of person best suited for roles in proposal writing may have studied the basics of good writing and grammar while in school courses, or working in companies. Those who work in proposal writing often carry themselves well, with a knowledgeable air about them, and a confident professional attitude.
You may know if learning proposal writing is right for you if you're a person who has the ability to make a convincing sales pitch in a basic memo or a 20-page business proposal. Because proposals are written to elicit new business or at least gain a positive reply, a well-written proposal should be carefully considered, as most proposals only have one good shot to influence a decision. Only experienced proposal writers should work in this format to create winning proposals. If you think you'll be able to create business reports, write attention-getting press releases, and edit and proofread business presentations, emails, and memos, then learning proposal writing might be the right move for you.
This FAQ content has been made available for informational purposes only. Learners are advised to conduct additional research to ensure that courses and other credentials pursued meet their personal, professional, and financial goals.