What makes a strong proposal?

Nassrin El-Gosi
2 min readAug 2, 2022


— Part 1

Business proposals are powerful tools to present your unique services, impactful capabilities, and expertise in response to clients’ needs.

So, what makes a strong proposal?

There is a number of key considerations that — when integrated effectively — result in strong proposal products: persuasive writing, value-based approaches, and multiple entry-points.This post will unpack the first.

Whether you’re an emerging grants proposal writer or established professional, then the following might be useful to you.

Persuasively written. Persuasive language prompts us to believe either through logical and researched reasoning, compelling story-telling, or both. When was the last time you purchased.

How do you know if your proposal writing is persuasive? Here are some tips:

  • Is it client-centric? Does it speak to the client’s needs & priorities?
  • Is it evidence-based?*
  • Is it in active voice?**
  • Does it sell and prompt the reader to take action?

*As a DEI-practioner, I always pause and discern how evidence-based (i.e., the proposed intervention is based on proven results) is defined in a specific context. It requires discernment and interrogation within the ‘do no harm’ approach: who does the evidence include and who has it systemically excluded? Community-based solutions could emerge based on self-reported needs and assets outside of a formal research and needs-assessment.

**Except for strategic instances and donor-specific context, I recommend using ‘active voice’ to deliver an impactful written message.

If your firm is hiring a grant proposal writer — or if you’re embarking on a grant writing career — then make sure to review this evaluation criteria.


Disclaimer: Unless otherwise stated or referenced, the above opinions are my own and do not represent those of my former/ current/ future employers/clients. The content may not be used, embedded, and/or copied without prior written consent by the author. This post should not be interpreted as advisory services rendered.

About the Author: Nassrin El-Gosi is a Program Design and Business Development Consultant. She is a Disability Inclusion advocate, centering the experiences of the chronically ill. Contact her on LinkedIn for consulting inquiries.



Nassrin El-Gosi

Unpacking program design, grant writing, business development, DEI, and career readiness approaches. Opinions are my own.