Government Contractors

Tips to Writing a Flawless Government Proposal

Thousands of rules and regulations. Hundreds of line items and questions. One blank sheet of paper. If you’re dreading the process of writing a government proposal, read on. These quick tips will help you get started writing the best government proposal possible — and they maybe even help you get the job.

Keep it Short and Simple (KISS).

What’s more daunting than writing a detailed, multi-page government proposal? Reading dozens of responses, and choosing the best one. The government purchasers who will be scoring your proposal don’t want to read a long, boring document any more than you want to write one. So, get to the point quickly, and get the reader’s attention so that your proposal stands out from the rest.

Read the Request for Proposal (RFP). Then, read it again.

One challenge of responding to government RFPs is making sure you adhere to all the details. Because missing items may disqualify you, it’s important to read the RFP carefully and use it as a guide to craft your proposal. To ensure all requests are met, we recommend reading the RFP again after you write your first draft, and double-checking that you have answered each item.

Don’t just write a proposal. Tell a story.

Proposals are boring — but a story? Now, that’s interesting. Once you understand what the government agency is looking for, it can be helpful to think of your response as a story about how your company can help meet the agency’s goals. And, just like when you were assigned to write a story in school, that means answering the “5 Ws”: Who, What, When, Where, and Why.

Who?
The star of this story isn’t you, but your customer. When writing your proposal, think about how it benefits them, taking the focus off of you and placing it on their needs. Most people (and companies) are more interested in talking about themselves than they are in hearing about others, so this approach can be highly effective. An added benefit? Focusing on others can take the pressure off of you.

What?
What does your customer need, and how can you help provide it? Think about the problem, and explain how your company can provide the best solution.

When?
Timelines are critical when working with the government — so be sure to pay careful attention to deadlines and objectives. Can your company provide added value by exceeding deadline requests and delivering more quickly? If so, be sure to highlight these capabilities.

Where?
Does your company’s location position you well to provide the requested service? Will logistics play an important factor? Are your facilities compliant with government requirements? These are all important points to consider.

Why?
In order to rise above the rest, your proposal needs to capture the attention of your target audience, and show how you bring more value than competitors. Be sure to point out what makes you different (and better) than the competition. (HINT: You may want to include “why” statements at the beginning and end of your proposal.)

And How?
Once you’ve addressed the 5 Whys, explain how you will fulfill the proposal. Include descriptions of your processes and best practices, and how they add value.

The End.
A good story ties up loose ends neatly, and wraps things up on a positive note. Summarize your proposal in a sentence or two, and thank the evaluator for their time and consideration.

On that note, we’ll close this blog by thanking you for reading it — and, of course, wishing you luck as you write your government proposal.