Winning Proposals for Coaches and Facilitators: Create Alignment First! By Martha Lasley
I’ve written way too many proposals. Over the years, I’ve learned never to write a proposal until we already have a verbal agreement about the money. The proposal merely validates the oral agreement.Thanks
I’ve written way too many proposals. Over the years, I’ve learned never to write a proposal until we already have a verbal agreement about the money. The proposal merely validates the oral agreement.
When someone in an organization asks for a proposal, I used to think that meant they were ready to move forward. It doesn’t. It means they are fishing or blowing me off or considering someone else and using me to show they’ve done their due diligence. I can spend a lot of time writing a great proposal, but unless I have the agreement first, I’m wasting my time. I assert that after you make a strong connection, get in touch with their pain, offer a program that will relieve some of that pain, and—come to an agreement about money and logistics, then you’re ready for the proposal.
Most of my proposals depend heavily on using the client’s language and have several sections that might look like:
Situation Summary – the needs of the organization
Desired Outcomes – the results they want, measures of success
Recommendations – description of the program, methodology
Value and Investment – costs and what they pay for
Timing and Scope of Project – logistics
Acceptance – authorization to proceed
If you want to know how to write a great proposal, I recommend Robert Middleton’s online book, The Marketing Guru, which is full of useful marketing information.
I am thrilled that I get to work with a lot of social activists in nonprofits, but I also love working with the cut and thrust, masculine energy of corporations. I feel at home in that environment, but part of what I love is that I get to impact the softening of the work place and bring in some balance with nurturing, compassionate energy.
I enjoy companionship with people who can see beyond the evil empire stereotypes and truly enjoy working with organizations. Business drives the economy and has incredible power to mobilize resources for personal development and social change. Organizations provide jobs that sustain people and offer products and services that make life easier.
That doesn’t mean I endorse the dark side or the atrocities committed in the name of business. Despite deep despair about how some businesses operate, I have great hope that infusing compassion in the business world has the power to unite us, offering global communion that crosses ethnic and political boundaries. I long to partner with a cadre of sensitive, vulnerable, visionary leaders who embrace the business and nonprofit world and choose to serve by helping them evolve.
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ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Martha Lasley is a founder of Leadership that Works, home of the business coaching for Transformation program that offers an ICF accredited coach training certification geared toward supporting nonprofit leaders and social change activists.