43 Free Project Proposal Templates | Expert Guide and Tips

43 Free Project Proposal Templates | Expert Guide and Tips

A project proposal is a document that states the purpose of a project and describes how the project will be executed.

A project proposal is meant to ask decision-makers or external parties such as sponsors to buy in and support the implementation of a project. A project proposal has not been deemed a contract as it doesn’t outline legal terms and obligations. Senior management or sponsors do not have to sign the document to approve the project for execution. 

Why is a project proposal needed? A project proposal initiates a professional working relationship between an organization and outside contributors or senior management (decision-makers) employees. The proposal should outline all the aspects of a project; objectives, purpose, activities, project costs, and any other relevant information. By giving stakeholders a clear understanding of what the project entails, approval and funding can be allocated and awarded to the project.

A project proposal is essential in several ways, such as proving the viability and need for a project. It also helps identify the requirements of a project and define the roadmap toward the success of a project. Since most sponsors and senior managers won’t approve project budgets with a proposal, it is essential to secure funding and support.

A proposal also helps define the structure and organization of a project execution plan beforehand, facilitating accountability within an organization and among project stakeholders. In addition, proposals increase an organization’s credibility and exposure when they reach out to external partners, fostering organizational growth. Lastly, a proposal gives a broad overview of the project and clarifies the associated deliverables.   

Different Kinds of Project Proposals

Different types of project proposals can be used under different circumstances. These types of proposals include:

Formally solicited project proposal

A formally solicited proposal is prepared to respond to an official Request for Proposal (RFP). An RFP outlines the stakeholder or client requirements and needs and, in some cases, instructions on how the proposal should be structured. A formally solicited proposal is written by the specifics of the RFP and is, therefore, more constricted.

Informally solicited project proposal

A project proposal prepared without an official RFP is known as an informally solicited project proposal. This implies there are no project specifics or demands by which the proposal is expected to abide. Therefore, this type of proposal is the initial step of the project and acts as a proposal request outlining rough details about the project that simply prove the project’s viability.

Unsolicited project proposals

An unsolicited project proposal is presented when the sponsor or manager has not requested one or doesn’t expect it. The proposal must be detailed to prove the project’s viability and value to the audience.

Continuation project proposals

A continuation proposal is written to update ongoing projects or a reminder of already approved projects. A continuation proposal will usually be submitted as a report on progress and changes within project execution or check-in after a milestone to secure funding for the next project phase.

Renewal project proposal

Sometimes projects can be terminated for varied reasons, such as outliving their usefulness or halted due to a lack of project resources and support. A proposal can be written to prove the project is still viable and valuable by highlighting its ROI (Return on Investment). Such a proposal is known as a renewal project proposal.

Supplemental project proposal 

Supplemental projects are drafted when more resources than allocated initially have to be added to a project. This type of proposal highlights the need for the additional resources and value they bring to the project. A supplemental project proposal continues the original proposal and will usually be required when the project scope outgrows the initial scope.  

Some other types of project proposal templates include:


Construction-Project-Proposal-Template

Construction project proposal template

A template meant for construction projects such as building construction, bridge construction, etc. It entails sections for labor, materials, equipment, and services rendered by the contractor.

Download: Microsoft Word (.docx)


IT-project-proposal-template

IT Project Proposal Template

IT project proposal templates are used by IT experts to highlight the different aspects of an IT project. The template has sections for the names of the stakeholders, technology requirements, software and hardware costs, security risks, operation and maintenance costs, etc.

Download: Microsoft Word (.docx)


Software-Project-Managment-Proposal-Plan-Template_

Software Project Proposal Template

Software engineers, developers, and analysts can use a software project proposal template to highlight the different stages involved in software development and testing. The template shows all the tasks that have to be fulfilled, time estimates, and payment terms.

Download: Microsoft Word (.docx)


Marketing-Project-Proposal_

Marketing project proposal template

This template is used to outline how a marketing project is to be undertaken. It contains sections for project goals, resources, methodologies, and project results or deliverables.

Download: Microsoft Word (.docx)


Enginerring-Design-Project-Proposal-Format-Sample_

Engineering project proposal template

Engineering projects can be broad in terms of scope. An engineering proposal template has added sections to cover background information, project scope, and different project tasks.

Download: Microsoft Word (.docx)


Simple-Business-Project-Proposal-Template_

Business project proposal template

A business type has sections for project objectives, justification for the project, impacts of executing a project, resources required, and a schedule. It can be used to pitch different business projects.

Download: Microsoft Word (.docx)


Freelance-Proposal-Sample_

Freelance project proposal template

Freelancers can use a project proposal to seek a job from a client. A template suited for such a situation is a freelance type of template which outlines customer needs, project deliverables, timelines, and project costs.

Download: Microsoft Word (.docx)


Mobile-App-Development-Startegies-Proposal

Mobile app project proposal template

App developers will usually seek external contributors to invest in their mobile applications. A mobile app proposal template can be used to pitch the project. The template outlines the associated design stages of the application and itemized costs.

Download: Microsoft Word (.docx)


Website-Design-Proposal-Template_

Web design project proposal template

A template prepared by web designers to businesses or managers. It outlines the project objectives and how the website will achieve them.

Download: Microsoft Word (.docx)


Social-Media-Project-Proposal-Template

Social media project proposal template

Social media project proposal templates are meant for social media campaigns. The template has an executive summary, project problem statement, project objectives, methods, and scheduling and can also include a budget.

Download: Microsoft Word (.docx)


Simple-Accounting-Proposal_

Accounting project proposal template

Financial experts use an accounting type of template to pitch financial services proposals to organizations. The template entails the terms of service, objectives of the services, solutions for financial issues, and a breakdown of associated costs.

Download: Microsoft Word (.docx)


consulting-proposal-template-

Consulting Project Proposal Template

A template meant for individuals in the consultation industry when describing how they offer their services or pitching to get a job. The template outlines the services offered, deliverables, and project schedule. Sometimes, contract terms can also be added.

Download: Microsoft Word (.docx)


Research-Proposal-Template_

Research Project Proposal Template

Researchers use research proposal templates to propose a project. In addition to the fundamental components of a project proposal, research proposal templates have literature review sections, research design and method, and reference sections. These templates are meant for any type of research, academic, scientific, or any other.

Download: Microsoft Word (.docx)

    How to Write a Project Proposal

    Once it is clear what type of project needs to be prepared, the writing process can be initiated. Writing can be done from scratch or with a project proposal template. Regardless of the approach, essential components need to appear in the proposal.

    They include:

    Write project proposal outline

    The first item to be prepared is the proposal outline. The outline takes up the cover page and sometimes the document’s first page. This introduces the proponent to the audience and gives other relevant introductory details such as:

    • Name of the organization: The name of the proponent organization should be written to let the sponsor or manager know who is proposing.
    • Project title: Each project will have a title or name that it is referred to. The title can be based on the project’s purpose or the proponent.
    • Project timeframe: The project timeframe needs to be indicated at the beginning of the proposal so that the sponsor or manager knows what level of commitment is being asked of them. Projects have varying timeframes from daily, weekly, quarterly, yearly, two years, etc.
    • Prepared by: The proposal should highlight the participants involved in preparing the proposal. Where the proponent is an organization, the proposal could be written by the manager or any other appointed organization representative.

    You can take help from our pre-formed project proposal documents:

    business project proposal sample pdf

    project proposal template download 02

    project proposal sample pdf for students 03

    project proposal sample pdf for students 04

    project proposal sample pdf for students 05

    project proposal sample pdf for students 06

    simple project proposal example pdf 07

    simple project proposal example pdf 08

    simple project proposal example pdf 09

    project proposal sample pdf 10

    project proposal pdf free download 11

    project proposal pdf free download 12

      Attached documentation

      Any attached documentation should be indicated. This can be achieved by supplying a list of the documentation.

      Project contacts and authorization

      Communication is an essential factor in the success of a project. Therefore, contact details and individuals required for various authorizations should be provided to streamline the flow of information should the project be approved.

      Write an executive summary of the project

      The next component of a project proposal needs to be included in the executive summary. The executive summary can capture two items: project background information and project objectives.

      Give project background

      Several things should be highlighted to give the audience a background of the project. A project proposal summary needs to address the following;

      • History: There should be a detailed summary of the subject matter or topic associated with the project and the problem being addressed by the project. It should identify the problem and why the sponsor or manager should aim to resolve it.
      • Requirement: A summary of the resources that will implement the project should be provided. A project can have recurring or one-time requirements. Requirements can be defined by description and quantity.
      • Success criteria: Once the problem is defined and the requirements, the metrics to measure the project’s success can be indicated. Most projects will use KPIs (key performance indicators) to measure success. Projects with measurable outcomes have a higher approval rate.
      • Solution and implementation: The proposed solution and process of implementation should also be introduced in the summary.

      Project objectives

      To conclude the summary, the objectives of the project should be clarified. Objectives are the measurable goals that will be achieved after the project has been successfully implemented. Therefore, proponents are urged to have at least a specific objective (specific to the project) and a general objective (supports other sponsors or business objectives).

      Project methodology

      The third item that ought to appear on a project proposal is the project methodology. The project methodology can be characterized by the following:

      • Project approach summary: A summary of the techniques, processes, and methods to fulfill critical activities, such as milestones, should be given. The overall plan of the proponent can be provided at this point.
      • Deliverables: The project deliverables expected at the end of the project should then be listed. Examples of project deliverables are products, services, information, etc
      • Task breakdown: A breakdown of all major project activities should be given. A list of tasks involved at every stage of the project effectively breaks down tasks. 
      • Time estimates: The timeframes associated with each step required to achieve the set objectives should be provided. These can be indicated in the form of a project schedule. The time estimates must add up to the estimated project timeline. Ordinarily, a Gantt chart that shows the tasks, timeline, and resources needed to complete each task is used.

      Project management techniques

      When undertaking a project, risks are generally inevitable. Any probable changes from the predetermined workflow can be deemed as risks. Sponsors and managers will ordinarily want to see a proponent’s preparedness for such risks. This section should have the following information:

      • Risk management plan: A risk management plan indicates the necessary actions to be undertaken if a risk or change in the project life cycle occurs. The plan should be detailed to show the contribution of the mitigation action to the project objectives.
      • Risk register: All the foreseeable risks associated with the project matched with proposed counter efforts should be provided.

      Project cost

      The next step is to identify and define the project requirements. Every project requires money to implement. This section of a project proposal is essential to a sponsor or manager in that it influences the viability of a project.

      This section should describe the following:

      • Project budget: A detailed budget of all expected costs at different project phases should be included. The costs should be divided into different categories such as salary, construction, miscellaneous, etc. A well-written budget should incorporate overhead and indirect costs. 
      • Budget narrative: A brief budget narrative can be provided to clarify or justify items in the budget – for example, why a 5% miscellaneous cost is needed etc.
      • Resources: All the resources needed at different project phases are necessary. Resources cover a wide range of items needed to execute the project, such as tools and equipment, time, labor, etc. 
      • Additional costs (travel and expenses): Any additional costs incurred before, during, or after the project should be indicated. Additional costs will typically not be directly utilized by the project. Additional costs include permits, licenses, industry-related fees, travel fees, etc.
      • Additional financial statements: The project proposal should then state any additional financial documents required to make decisions for the project—for example, tax return files, profit and loss statements, receipts, invoices, etc. 
      • Measurement and reporting: Monitoring, measuring, and reporting results are crucial in determining project success and should be defined next. The procedure for these three processes should be clearly defined. The frequency of monitoring and aspects to be monitored should be stated. The metrics for measuring results should be defined, and the reporting procedures. It should be clear how and when sponsors should be expecting status reports. 
      • Implications for the project: Next, the project proposal should have an overview of all the essential details that illustrate the value of the project and why the sponsor or manager should approve it. Should the project fail to be approved, the implications that would ensue should also be highlighted. Note that sponsors and managers want a project whose benefits outweigh the costs.
      • Milestones: Milestones are project phases that need to be completed between the project timeline for the overall project to be completed. Milestones are more of a measure of success than tasks. Each project must have several milestones so that any issue can be identified and attended to earlier in the project.

      Appendix 

      Lastly, the document appendix should outline all the separate documents or accompaniments attached to the project proposal as supporting material. For example, attachments can include study reports, letters supporting the proposal, project site maps, charts, graphs, images, etc.

      Project Proposal Templates

      Writing project proposals can be involved, especially when you are unsure where to place certain information. However, with our free downloadable project proposals, all that is required is to fill in all the necessary information in the blank sections to develop a professional proposal.

      A project proposal template has a layout of all the fundamental sections needed for a stellar proposal, which speeds up the writing process and reduces any associated frustrations.

      project proposal pdf free download 13

      project proposal template free download 14

      development project proposal sample pdf 15

      development project proposal sample pdf 16

      development project proposal sample pdf 17

      project proposal sample pdf for students 20

      project proposal sample pdf for students 21

      project proposal sample pdf 23

      project proposal sample pdf 24

      project proposal sample pdf 25

      project proposal sample pdf 26

      project proposal pdf free download 27

        Tips to Make Your Project Proposal Professional

        Every proponent hopes that their project proposal will be approved. However, approval may not always be guaranteed due to various factors such as impracticality, poorly scoped project, affordability factors, or poorly written/drafted project proposal templates.

        The latter can be remedied in the following ways:

        Write an outstanding executive summary

        Get the reader’s attention from the start; executive summary. Note that most sponsors or managers will go through the summary before reading the entire document. Therefore, aim to win them over with the executive summary.

        Do your research

        Research what each project stakeholder expects from the project and demonstrate your familiarity with the topic throughout the document. Use factual information. If any misleading information is identified, this can harm the proposal’s chances of being approved.

        Proofread

        Always review the proposal before submitting it. Carry out several reviews and edit any mistakes in the project proposal template. Have someone else read the proposal and give feedback before submitting the final draft.

        Keep it simple and concise

        An excellent project proposal should convince the audience that a project is worth undertaking in simple, clear terms. Also, it should be kept brief by going direct to the point.

        Make a positive hypothesis

        The sponsor or manager will always be interested in the outcome and whether it solves or identifies a problem. It is, therefore, wise to develop a positive theoretical outcome to represent what the sponsor or manager should expect from the project.

        Set realistic expectations

        When setting deadlines and schedules, allocating funds/resources, determining requirements, etc., be realistic. Exaggerated expectations in the template can lead to false expectations if the project proposal is approved.

        Tailor it to who you’re writing for

        A project proposal should be personalized to meet the person’s requirements being proposed. For example, a CEO will require different information than an MD within the same organization.

        Make a realistic estimation

        IT is best to develop the best and worst-case scenarios outcomes for the project, which is a realistic estimation of the success of a project. If the worst-case outcome is better than the current status of things, then the probability of approval rises significantly.

        Use emotive language

        As much as a project proposal is a formal document, it is okay to evoke emotions from the reader as long as it is not overdone. Long boring proposals take away the reader’s interest in the proposal.

        Be confident with your decision

        It is hard to sell an idea you don’t believe. Therefore, own your proposal and let it show in the document. Use case studies where possible to support the information given in the proposal.  

        project proposal sample pdf for students 33

        project proposal sample pdf for students 34

        project proposal sample pdf for students 35

        project proposal pdf free download 40

          Final Thoughts

          Project proposals are essential tools for communicating ideas in a bottom-up organization system. The proposal introduces the project to the sponsor or manager and outlines project requirements and processes, timeline, and expected outcome. Depending on how the proposal is initiated, there are different project proposals; formally solicited, informally solicited, unsolicited, continuation, renewal, and supplemental.

          These project proposals can be written using templates designed to satisfy different user requirements based on the type of project. Lastly, a project proposal should not be too long but should be detailed enough to communicate what the proponent is proposing.