I receive copies of proposals by email from various organizations asking me to give my opinion on them. And quite often the proposals I receive are not very convincing.
Many non-profit organizations do not have the funds to hire a proposal writer and the regular staffs of many operational organizations often do not have the time to devote to learning how to produce a quality proposal.
While many funding agencies recognize that lack of proposal writing skills does not necessarily mean that the organization sending in the "less than convincing proposal" is not capable of successfully conducting a program, but a proposal must be clear, complete and get its point across.
There is an organization that has a site online that can be helpful to the small non-profit that needs some assistance in proposal writing. The Foundation Center has posted a brief outline of what a proposal should contain. This is not meant to be a compete tutorial on proposal writing, but it should provide the "new comer" to proposal writing with an idea of what an adequate proposal should contain.
The site contains such basic information as stressing the need for gathering the necessary background information for your proposal. Now, this may seem obvious to the veteran proposal writer, but many readers would be surprised at how many proposals go to potential donors with no data to backup what is being asserted.
The Foundation Center's short and simple tutorial takes the reader through a step-by-step process from the Executive Summary to the Conclusion.
As I said before, this is not an exhaustive course, but if you feel that you are "lost at sea" when it comes to preparing a proposal for a funding request, I would recommend your taking a look at the Foundation Center's Short Course on Proposal Writing. It can be found at:
THE FOUNDATION CENTER