10 Tips How to write a proposal in DSE

10 Tips How to write a Proposal




1.  Write a title

A good title for a proposal needs to do the following things:

  • be short
  • be clear
  • focus the reader on the main idea of the proposal 

Use the structure “Proposal for + noun / gerund…” or “Proposal to + infinitive” [NOT: “Proposal about…” or “Proposal on…”]


Proposal to boost tourism in winter in Hong Kong

Proposal for a more environmentally friendly school


2.  Know who you’re writing to

You might be writing to an individual, or you might be writing for a more general audience.  Be clear who you expect to provide you with the proposed funds / resources etc.

 We would like to ask the school / you / your company to provide us with a grant of $100,000…

3.  Keep it formal

There are not many documents that are more formal than a proposal.  Keep it as neutral and formal as possible, avoiding slang and using features of formal speech, e.g. the passive voice

The proposed money would be designated for a new science block

4.  Don’t exaggerate 

Of course, you want to share your enthusiasm, but don’t go all poetic.  Just try to be neutral, and allow the facts to do the persuading for you. 

The Green School status would enhance our reputation [The green school status would make us an unbeatably great school]

5.  Get specific

It’s no good just telling me that something will be “useful” or “helpful”.  Give precise details.  Use your imagination.  How will it be useful?  How will it be helpful?  What exactly will the proposed item look like / do?

If we were to become a green school, several things would have to change.  Firstly, we would need to replace all the bins and replace them with recycling bins.

6.  Be methodical

Proposals (unlike speeches) don’t need to appeal to emotions.  They just need to talk through something logically. 

The first advantage is…


The final benefit is…

7.  Show the counter-view (briefly!)

And I do mean briefly!  You don’t need to analyse your opponent’s argument, but you should show that you have anticipated some potential counter-arguments.

Although some people might say that now is the wrong time to raise taxes, I believe that we cannot wait any longer. 

8.  Use sequencers

Formal connecting words such as ‘furthermore’ and ‘moreover’ are appropriate here.  But limit yourselves to a maximum of two!  Don’t overdo it. 

The sports progr

amme is beneficial for health.  Moreover, it will pay financial dividends too. 

9.  Use headings

You don’t have to, but you might want to.  Sometimes headings are a good way to split up your proposal. 

Description of the Common Room

The common room is designed…

10.  Use ‘would’, not ‘will’

Because we’re talking about hypothetical situations in the future, use ‘would’ (/‘could’).  ‘Will’ is too forceful.

An exchange trip to Beijing would enable us to learn about the Ming Dynasty. 

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