15 minutesBy Canva Team

Making a project proposal: How-tos, templates, and tips

Discover what a project proposal is, its main components, different types, and uses. With our guide and templates, learn how to write a proposal for a project that hooks stakeholders to hop on board.
Project Proposal
Project Proposal

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What is a project proposal?

A project proposal is a written document that describes a project you intend to execute. It usually includes your project’s goals, methods, timeline, budget, deliverables, and resource requirements. Depending on the type and the scope of your project, you can choose what to include and what not to include in your proposal.

Example of a project proposal with a monochromatic design

Example of a project proposal with a monochromatic design.

Since the purpose of a project proposal is to get your project approved or supported by your clients or stakeholders, it should persuade them of what makes your project worth pursuing. This means that apart from outlining the what and how of your project, it should also make a case for why. It helps to think of your proposal as answering the following questions:

  • What is the end goal it tries to achieve?
  • How do you intend to achieve it?
  • Why is it important to achieve it?

What to include in a project proposal?

What you include in your proposal depends on the details of your project, but the following are the components you should account for in order to create a solid proposal.

Write your table of contents according to the parts of your proposal

Write your table of contents according to the parts of your proposal.

What are the types of project proposals?

A project proposal varies depending on what it’s proposing and the nature of how it was requested by the client. Know the different kinds of project proposals you can make depending on their purpose.

Example of a minimal project proposal for website redesign

Example of a minimal project proposal for website redesign.

Why use a project proposal?

Your project depends on it

A project proposal is your project’s ticket to getting the approval or support it requires to be executed. Since it’s both informative and persuasive, you can present the details of your project clearly while also packaging them as selling points. With a project proposal, you can:

  • Convince clients to do business with you
  • Form new partnerships
  • Secure needed funding or resources

It’s versatile and flexible

There is no one-size-fits-all project proposal format. Regardless of your field and the type of project you’re campaigning for, you can modify the content of your proposal to fit what you and your client need. The following are some of the many areas where you can use a project proposal:

  • Social media marketing
  • Content marketing
  • Web design
  • Non-profits
  • Government agencies

You can keep your team on the same page

Because your project proposal contains important information about your project, you can use it as a source of clarity on goals and objectives to align your team as you go along in managing your project.

With Canva for Teams(opens in a new tab or window), you can store your project proposals and other documents in organized folders, which you and your team can open on any device, anytime. This gives quick and easy access to source-of-truth documents, helping keep your team in the loop.

How to write a project proposal effectively

Find out how to write a project proposal that’s not only thorough but also increases your chances of getting your project endorsed by your stakeholders.

How to write a project proposal effectively

Double-check your sources
Reliable sources help increase your credibility. Make sure to check for up-to-date sources with a reputable author, accurate information, and relevant coverage.

Get inspired with project proposal templates

Earn your clients and stakeholders’ approval with a structured business project proposal. Canva’s collection of project proposal templates can be customized to fit any project you’re writing for. Select any layout, whether that’s a research proposal template, a marketing proposal template, or a project management proposal. Easily edit with our free proposal maker on Canva Docs.

All you need in a project proposal maker

Write an effective project proposal online without the trouble of a difficult word processor. Canva’s free online proposal creator has the tools and features you need to craft a proposal for your project. With our drag-and-drop editor, easily edit, collaborate on, and share your project proposal online. Our content library and visualization tools allow you to create stunning documents to captivate your clients.

  • Great on any device

    Great on any device

    With responsive Docs, create, view, and edit your doc on any device. Perfect for when you're on the go.

  • Visual library for visual Docs

    Visual library for visual Docs

    Seamlessly add visuals like graphs, tables, images, videos, graphics, and more, all available within your doc.

  • Collaborate in real-time

    Collaborate in real-time

    Work with teams and build on ideas with comments and emoji reactions. Keep sync sessions on track with a timer.

  • Magic Write your first draft, fast

    Magic Write your first draft, fast

    Beat writer's block and skip ahead to your first draft with a single text prompt on Magic Write.

  • Share your work effortlessly

    Share your work effortlessly

    Share a link to your doc and control your team’s access. Track activity, views, and comments via Insights (Pro).

  • Turn Docs to Decks

    Turn Docs to Decks

    Instantly convert your document to a fully customizable Canva presentation with Docs to Decks.

Tips for writing a proposal for a project

Creating a project proposal that’s compelling can be achieved by being mindful of what you write and how you write it. Here are some project proposal tips to consider in order to get your proposal done right.

Don’t skip on research

You’ll want to take on your proposal fully aware of what to write and who to write it for. Researching beforehand helps you identify exactly what your client needs, therefore giving your project a clear direction. With research, you also gather information like figures, reports, and studies which you need to back your proposal. Don’t forget to choose reliable sources to ensure that your data is accurate.

Avoid being overwhelmed by all your gathered info by organizing them into graphs like concept maps and synoptic tables, which you can make on our free Whiteboard tool(opens in a new tab or window). You’ll have an easier time referring to them when you finally cite them as you write. All of this ensures that you stay on top of your proposal so that when your clients raise any questions, you’ll be prepared to answer them.

Create an outline

Having detailed research is one thing to consider — another is making sure your proposal follows a sturdy structure. With a project proposal outline, you don’t have to stare at a blank page, wondering how to start or what to write next. Your outline makes sure that your writing has direction and consistency. This can also help you account for all the information you need to include, and plan around where to put them in your proposal best. If you’re stuck in a rut, you can tap into AI writing assistants like Magic Write(opens in a new tab or window) for first ideas on how to outline your proposal.

Canva’s Magic Write can be used to create outline drafts for your project proposal

Canva’s Magic Write can be used to create outline drafts for your project proposal.

Be convincing

Remember, you’re writing your proposal to win over your client’s support. The more compelling you are, the better your chances. Something you can do is add testimonials from your previous clients to boost your prospects. But more importantly, instead of making your proposal a plain presentation of your project, make it about your client — how does it relate to, affect, and help them? Write your proposal so that they feel like they need this project, and that they’re going to miss out on incredible benefits if they don't support it.

Language is key

The language you use can make or break your proposal. Keep your sentences and word choices simple — a proposal that doesn’t use overly technical jargon is easy to follow. Grammar and spelling too, when done right, help make your proposal read professional. Before submitting it to your client, make sure to proofread your output to correct any errors you might find, or have an expert take a look.

Make it visual

It helps to have a proposal that’s easy to look at. You can add a table of contents at the beginning of your document for quicker navigation. Make sure your formatting, like your headings and margins, is clear and consistent, too.

To save yourself some time, you can start with a template that already covers these for you and even gives your proposal that extra design flair to keep your clients more engaged. For this reason, it’s best to use a word editor that offers many different kinds of templates. It should also have easy customization tools so you can seamlessly add visual aids to accompany your proposal and make it more dynamic.

Canva has hundreds of professionally-designed project proposal templates ready for use. You can edit these to showcase your brand, as well as add infographics, charts, and even videos, helping you create the ultimate visual project proposal that’s sure to grip your stakeholders.

By clicking Design, create customizable Design Blocks to decorate your proposal

By clicking Design, create customizable Design Blocks to decorate your proposal.

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Write a project proposal that hooks clients to hop on board your project. With hundreds of templates on Canva’s proposal maker, create compelling, visually supercharged project proposals you can collaborate on with your team.
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