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Instructions for Writing a Concept Paper

by Sherri Jens, Demand Media
    Writing a clear and persuasive concept paper helps grant writers and project leaders to gain the support they need.

    Writing a clear and persuasive concept paper helps grant writers and project leaders to gain the support they need.

    Knowing how to write a well organized and persuasive concept paper can mean the difference between obtaining adequate funding for a project and being denied. Funding organizations decide how to allocate funds, personnel and approval for projects based on the information provided in these important documents. Concept papers contain detailed information about how long a project may take, how much money it may cost and how its completion may benefit all parties.

    Step 1

    Write a clear and succinct purpose statement. Your purpose statement should be direct, clear, and detailed. Include what you are requesting (funds, approval, equipment), what problem you are attempting to solve and what benefits you expect.

    Step 2

    Show your knowledge of the funding organization in the introduction. Let the agency know that you understand the types of projects they fund and their overall mission. Then tell them why your particular project is a good match with their vision. Provide the company information that illustrates alignment between your goals and their organizational ideals.

    Step 3

    Illustrate the need for solving this problem. In this section of your paper, provide information about what has been done in the past to try to correct the problem or address the issue. Establish yourself as an expert on the topic by citing statistics, facts, historical data or ongoing issues surrounding the problem.

    Step 4

    Describe exactly your procedures for accomplishing the task. If your project is a study, include methods of research and gathering data. Mention surveys or other types of feedback that you might use to assess goals. Provide a list of which personnel are better suited for particular jobs, credentials and precise job descriptions for each.

    Step 5

    Explain what you need from the organization and why. Including anticipated budgets, estimated costs of operation and upstart, equipment, supplies and training will demonstrate that you are knowledgeable in all aspects of the potential project and its implementation. You can also provide a time line showing the funding organization how much time you plan to allot to each stage of the project, in addition to indicating your anticipated date of completion.

    Step 6

    Link your theory to practice. Relate to your audience the connections between your ideas, your plans and your expected outcomes. By linking thoughts to actions to results, you illustrate to the organization that you have thought out the project from start to finish and have not overlooked any important details.

    Step 7

    Emphasize the benefits of the project. End your proposal by revisiting the benefits to the organization. Giving a more in-depth explanation of reasons the project will be beneficial to the organization and will help to reinforce the positive outcomes mentioned in the introduction. Ending on a positive note will help your readers to remember your project’s proposal and its potential solution to the stated problem.

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    About the Author

    Sherri Jens has been writing since 1995, with articles published in “Visitor Behavior” and “Interpedge.” She has taught writing since 1998 and college-level writing since 2005. Jens holds both a Master of Education in English language arts and a Bachelor of Science in psychology from Jacksonville State University.

    Photo Credits

    • business report image by Christopher Hall from Fotolia.com

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