Top Five Tips for Proposal Writing
Written by Lisa Parks

If you want access to European or national funding, but are a little bewildered by the jargon and where to begin, then keep reading down this page. This blog, the first in a series of advice and guidance for funding opportunities, aims to give you five simple tips for effective proposal writing.

  1. Read the call text thoroughly – Sounds obvious, and may feel a little like you are going back to your school days with teachers telling you “make sure you read the question properly before you answer”, but it is very important to read the text of the call that you are applying for very thoroughly. This allows you to ensure that you meet all the necessary requirements – similar to when you write a job application and ensure that your application ticks all the relevant skill boxes requested by the employer. Simply, if you don’t meet the call requirements, you won’t be funded – making this number one tip a very important one.
  2. Clear objectives – Being clear and concise with what you wish to achieve is a must. Before you even put pen to paper and begin writing your proposal, you should decide on your project objectives using the SMART (Specific, Measurable, Assignable, Realistic, Time-related) system or another preferred system to clearly define your 3-4 project objectives.
  3. Team collaboration – From the start of the proposal writing to the end of the project, teamwork and collaboration between partners is key. If you set off working collaboratively it will shine through in the form of a well-rounded application with input from relevant experts in each section. Plus more reviewing/editing opportunities are never a bad thing! Another related tip is to sell the skills of your project team to the reviewer, this will help to ensure that everyone’s role is well defined and explained, leaving the reviewer with no questions regarding partner contribution.
  4. Allow time – Plan ahead. Sounds simple but may not be as simple in practice. Of course we all have busy lives but a rushed last minute submission will definitely stand out (like a sore thumb!) against a well-planned proposal written over several months.
  5. Good acronym – And one final tip, you need an acronym that stands out, meaning it doesn’t already exist as a word and therefore allows easy internet searching of your project. For instance, the project acronym POTATO (to give an example off the top of my head!) will return a million other hits for the word potato and may not include your project website. Also remember that you will be using this acronym for the full duration of the project, so do make it a word that you won’t regret choosing later down the line (again perhaps the POTATO acronym may be a relevant example here…).

Hopefully those five tips will give you a good starting point for beginning your proposal-writing mission. If you would like any help with writing or managing the process of putting together a funding application then please do get in touch and our expert writers/project managers would of course be happy to assist! Contact us at