We have textbooks on such bcomm special topics as report writing, managerial communication, oral communication, and cross-cultural communication, but as far as I know, no bcomm teacher/author has tackled proposal writing except as part of a general bcomm textbook. The authorities on proposal writing tend to come from fields other than business (e.g., education, the sciences, publishing) or to be practitioners/consultants, not classroom teachers.
So you may be looking for materials to supplement your textbook’s discussion of proposal writing. If so, here are a few to check out.
- Persuasive Business Proposals, by Tom Sant, is an excellent, and probably the best, book about writing business proposals. If you just want his main points, you can download The Seven Deadly Sins of Proposal Writing, a free white paper he authored for the proposal-writing firm Qvidian.
- My colleague Mary Beth, who teaches our proposal-writing course, regards Deborah S. Koch’s How to Say It: Grantwriting as the best book available in terms of getting students to think and write like the people who are giving out the money. It’s the only one we know of that advises studying the grantor’s preferred “problem-solving approach” and figuring out the grantor’s “ideology.”
- The RFP Database, published by Confluent Forms LLC, offers articles and a wealth of sample RFPs for your students to study and discuss. You do have to register to access these free materials.
- CapturePlanning.com is perhaps the best all-around website for learning about writing business proposals. The site is full of freebies—from examples to articles to templates—that you can access by registering.
- Learntowriteproposals.com offers such useful articles as “Our Top Ten Proposal Writing Tips,” “10 Ways to Make Your Proposal Easier to Understand,” and “11 Things not to Do When You Write a Business Proposal.”
- Debra Klug, author of ProposalWriter.com, discusses a wide range of relatively specific topics, such as getting a government grant to start a business, and provides a huge assortment of links to proposal-related resources.
- At fedmarket.com, Richard White provides links to his free webinars and publications about how to win government contracts.
- The YouTube.com videos by Julia King Tamang (“How to Write a Winning Proposal”) and Doug Stern (“Six Keys to Writing a Great Proposal”) offer sound, specific tips.
And just for grins, watch this FedEx commercial, in which almost every kind of dysfunctional behavior on the part of a proposal-writing team is represented in the span of 30 seconds. (Thanks to my colleague Lisa for sharing this video!)