LMC 3403. CS6: Greening Youth Foundation

LMC 3403.CS1: Groundwork Atlanta

Proposal Goal

Pitch a response to needs your section client outlines within the broader context of environmental justice and risk communication.


Even though proposal formats slightly vary from one organization and agency to the next, solicited proposals generally have unmovable deadlines and specifications for margins, justification, level-1 and level-2 headings, leading, font choice, type size and style, use of links, and the use of tables and figures. Default specs:

  • Page design: Use 1” margins and 12-point Times New Roman for the body of the text. Use no more than two levels of headings; boldface, sans serif.
  • Tables, figures, and bulleted lists: Conventionally number and label all tables and figures. Place all tables and figures next to or following the appropriate text reference. 

The following sections are relevant for a basic proposal. (NB: These are some of the sections generally included in most formal, solicited workplace and government proposals, with the same or very similar section labels.).

  • Title page: The title page typically includes an informative/descriptive title, the names and affiliations of the project/team members, the name of the agency or organization to whom the proposal is submitted, and the date of submission. The title page is not included in the project description page limit. The title page does not include a page number. 
  • Table of contents (TOC): The one-page TOC lists the level-1 headings and sometimes the level-2 headings and the page number for the first page for each section (not the inclusive pages). In electronic documents, the TOC is usually hyperlinked, so readers can click on a section and be immediately moved to that section of the document. The TOC is not included in the project description page limit.
  • Project summary (i.e. Abstract): This (no longer than) one-page overview is a third-person description of the project’s objectives, methods, and significance. The project summary is not included in the project description page limit.
  • Project description (sometimes called a project narrative): This section always has a strict page limit. For a class proposal, the project description is limited to five single-spaced pages. The section label is important: You’re providing an accurate, detailed description, and you’re telling a story to persuade readers not only that the problem is real and important, but that this approach will address the identified problem.  The project description must include these components:
    • Objectives and significance: Be explicit about the problem, its importance, and your overall approach and its value. Address questions such as these: What are the main challenges/goals? Why are they important? What are the new ideas your team is proposing? How will accomplishing these goals affect the challenges? 
    • Background and need:  Contextualize your work. Cite relevant literature (use APA parenthetical, in-text citation style—that is, author, date). Don’t reinvent the wheel. Use verifiable, convincing evidence. Don’t trash anyone else’s efforts (so…don’t say another’s work is “inadequate” or “insufficient” or “unimaginative” or “unworkable”; rather, identify the issues previous work hasn’t yet addressed or completely resolved). Summarize the work of others clearly and concisely. Explain the ways your work uses the ideas and approaches from the literature and the ways your work is distinctive. Address questions such as these: What goals will your work accomplish? What barriers exist to accomplishing your goals? What lessons from past and current research support your work? What value will your work provide?  
    • Project plan: Describe your activities, methods, and rationale. Address questions such as these: What will you do? Why is your approach appropriate? How does your approach specifically address the problems/challenges you’ve identified? Who benefits? Why is your approach particularly appropriate? Rather than say that you will develop a plan that will do X, Y and Z, instead say (a) why being able to do X, Y and Z is important; (b) why X, Y and Z can’t be done now and how will your approach make doing X, Y and Z possible; and, by the way, (c) you will demonstrate X, Y and Z in actual artifacts.
    • Intellectual merit and broader Impacts: Explicitly address the project’s intellectual merit and broader impacts. The project’s intellectual merit addresses its potential to advance knowledge. The project’s broader impact addresses its potential to benefit society and contribute to the achievement of specific, desired societal outcomes.
  • Project plan of work: This section usually has two subsections: (a) an explanation of the approach and (b) the specific work schedule. Describe and explain the way your team plans to address the problem, including the specific challenges you’ve identified. Address questions such as these: What will you do? Who will do what (and why…that is, match people’s qualifications to tasks)? How will you monitor and measure progress on the project? Include your detailed (and feasible, realistic) project schedule. Use a detailed Gantt chart to present your proposed schedule. Include project milestones (expected start dates and expected completion dates) for each task. Identify who is responsible for what. Provide as much detail as possible. The plan of work is not included in the project description page limit.
  • Technology: This one-page section identifies the technology that the proposed project plans to use, specifically the applications for creating the project and for using it when it’s completed. Minimally, the technology section usually provides discussion about availability/access, ease of use for users, restrictions on use (e.g., apps banned in certain countries), and security. The technology section is not included in the project description page limit.
  • Biographical sketches/resumes: This section lists the project members in alphabetical order, identifies their team roles and responsibilities, and summarizes their qualifications. 
    • Provide an identically formatted 100-word bio for each project member.
    • Provide an identically formatted one-page resume for each project member. 

The team member bios and resumes are not included in the project description page limit.

  • References: This section lists all the references cited in the proposal. Use APA citation style. Do not under any circumstances simply list URLs. Do not under any circumstances use MLA format. The references are not included in the project description page limit.