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Project Proposal Template

Use this free Project Proposal Template for Word to manage your projects better.

Use this project proposal template to start a new project—outline project goals, deliverables, timelines, resources and budget. Then, let everyone know what problem your project solves, and put yourself that much closer to approval and kickoff! Download your free project proposal template for Word now and start your project off right.

Our project proposal Word template is designed to work for projects across industries. Customize it to your liking and turn it into one of the following:

  • Construction proposal template
  • IT project proposal template
  • Marketing proposal template
  • Engineering project proposal template
  • Business proposal template

But before we dive into how to make a project proposal and how to use our free template, let’s begin by understanding what a project proposal is.

What Is a Project Proposal?

You can think of this project proposal template as the vehicle in which you deliver the rationale for your project. It’s a formal communications document that exists to convince your sponsor or boss that the project has a good reason for existing as it addresses a specific problem or exploits a unique business opportunity.

The project proposal is created to kick off a new project. The project proposal must be in-depth, but the cover letter and executive summary must be clear to convince the sponsor of its value. The whole project rests on the project proposal document because after reviewing it, the sponsor will either approve or pass on the project.

project proposal example
An excerpt from ProjectManager’s proposal template.

Why You Need a Project Proposal Template

A project proposal template is necessary when coordinating resources, tasks, equipment and materials within a timeframe to reach a business objective. It helps you structure the project so that it remains on track with your goals and objectives. This focus is what leads to a successful project.

The project proposal template should be used by the project manager, though that’s not always the case. Sometimes a project manager will come on board a project after the proposal has been approved, and they’ll inherit the document and be expected to carry it out. Either way, when a project proposal document has been approved, the next step is writing a business case. That’s a document in which the financial requirements are outlined and explained. Also, you’ll have to write a project charter to scope out the project and ensure that all parties involved know what’s required.

A project proposal template is necessary when coordinating resources, tasks, equipment and materials within a timeframe to reach a business objective. It helps you structure the project so that it remains on track with your goals and objectives. This focus is what leads to a successful project.

How to Fill Out a Project Proposal Template

Writing a project proposal document varies depending on the project, but the planning of any project shares foundational parts. Some of those pieces of the project proposal that are universal, no matter what you’re working on, are defining your audience. You have to know who you’re talking to or there is no direction to your project, whether it is a construction, IT, marketing or business proposal.

Another fundamental is identifying a problem and explaining how the project plan is the solution to that problem. Projects aren’t initiated for the fun of it. There must be a purpose and that has to be clearly defined in the project proposal document.

All projects require research. Whether that’s going back to historical data or market research or tapping the experience of experts, the project needs to provide the due diligence of stating what the issue is and what the potential solutions are. Then the project must be tethered to the organization’s business plan. It must adhere to the strategic goals of the organization, of course. But the project plan must also act as a means to further the organization’s success. This must be clear in your project proposal format.

Every plan must also have a timeline over which the project will run its course. Resources must be noted – what type and how much – as they’re the materials with which you build your project. With all these pillars in place, you can now start your project management proposal template.

gantt chart for project timelines
ProjectManager’s online Gantt chart is perfect for making project timelines. Try it today

While some people use an Excel project proposal template, we’ve provided a Word template to help you with the actual document creation step-by-step. All you have to do is fill in each step with the pertinent project information. So, now, how do you use this free project proposal template?

What Is Included in This Free Project Proposal Template for Word?

If you’re looking for a project proposal format, you probably want to learn how to make your own proposal. Our free project proposal template for Word is a great starting point for anyone who wants to create one.

Most project proposal examples have a similar structure. These are the most important elements of a project proposal outline:

  • Cover letter
  • Executive summary
  • Process
  • Initial consultation
  • Solution
  • Implementation
  • Deliverables
  • Duration
  • Costs (project manager, consultation, project plan, etc.)
  • Additional costs (travel and expenses)
  • Billing
  • Terms and conditions
  • Acceptance letter

Our free project proposal Word template has all those elements and can be easily adjusted to your IT, construction, marketing and business proposals. Use it as a project proposal example, and try our project management tool once you’re ready to start managing your project.

How to Use This Free Project Proposal Template for Word

Below, we’ve outlined all the steps you need to take to create your project proposal. Each section of this simple project proposal template for Word is described in full to help you know what data or information you need to include in each area of the free project proposal template.

Executive Summary

First, you have to write what is called an executive summary of the project. Think of it as an overview of the project in which the entire project is noted within the history, vision, goals and timeframe of the job. This is like your elevator pitch, where you want to capture the audience with a vivid picture of the project as a whole. After your executive summary, which sketches out each of the sections of the project proposal form, the sponsor should already be sold on the idea.


This is the section in which you provide a history of the business, which puts the project in context. Describe the relevant history that has happened in the company until the date of the proposed project. If there have been any previous projects that through their experience will help or hinder the project, note them in your project proposal format. Don’t leave anything out; if you do the sponsor may come back with questions and request more information, which delays the start of the new project.


At this point in the proposal, go into great detail about the business problem the project solves or the opportunity it is taking advantage of. If it’s a problem, what type of problem is it? What are the features of the problem that the company is directly experiencing? If you’re addressing an opportunity, then what’s the environment for that opportunity? Is there a timeframe in which it can be taken advantage of?


Now the important piece of the proposal puzzle: How do you plan to solve this problem? Write what that solution is, then explain the scope of the solution and the way in which it’ll be delivered. Don’t get off track. Your project is about this solution and only this solution. The more narrowly focused you are, the more likely you’ll communicate your idea and it will succeed.

Project Proposal Template Format

You’ve got your background done, and you’ve put this new project in context. Now you need to describe the new project.

What’s Your Vision and Your Goal?

Be clear and state the vision of the project and its goals and how they align with the organization’s business plan. You must be specific and the goals must be measurable. Think action-oriented, realistic and based on time. This isn’t a place for broad strokes, but rather for concise and exact results you expect to achieve. Add clarity by having the goals listed.

What Are the Deliverables?

Whatever the project scope is, there are going to be deliverables throughout its life cycle. These are crucial to the project’s success and need to be detailed.

What Is the Timeframe?

A project isn’t a project if it doesn’t end. Every project is subject to its timeframe, and this is where you detail yours. What’s the amount of time you need to complete the project phases? Specify that here.

What Are the Resources?

A project needs resources to get it done, and this is the section you’ll detail those needed to complete your project. List the type of resource and the quantity and then add notes as needed to clarify.

What Is the Project Budget?

Resources cost money, and that financial obligation is estimated here. This is an important part of the budget for the sponsor, as they are going to pay for it and you have to show them a return on that investment.

Who Owns the Project?

Here you outline the people responsible for the project, the target of the project and the person whom the project is being executed for. Determine who is the project sponsor, customer, project manager, etc.

How Will the Project Be Reported On?

If the sponsor approves the project, they are going to want a progress report. The frequency of those reports will be determined in this section of the project proposal form. Also, how will the reports be distributed and who will get them? You can also put in the number of team meetings you intend to have over the life cycle of the project.

What Are the Risks and Issues?

Risks are what might happen. You need to write them down, how they may occur and what to do if they do. Issues are something that has happened. While there are unlikely to be many before the launch of the project, if anything is going to stop deliverables from being delivered, this is where you want to collect them.

What Are the Implications for the Project?

This is the part when you explain what would happen if the sponsor chooses not to accept the project. What will the implications be? Make it clear that the cost to the business of not taking on the project is higher than if they approve it with a case scenario.

What Are the Success Criteria?

How do you define success in the context of this project? This is the section in which you get to note what that is. Be careful and specific in rendering these project success details. It’s helpful to list five key success criteria against which the project will be measured.


Someone is going to have to authorize the project throughout its lifecycle, and this is the section in which you determine who those people are.


Document the supporting papers that underlie your project here.

Benefits of Using a Project Proposal Template

The advantage of a project proposal template is that the outline is already done. All you have to do is fill in the blanks. True, that’s the hard part, but anything that structures your proposal will make it easier for you to write and for others to read.

A template by definition also creates continuity. Having a proposal template means that all your proposals will have a unified look. That’s going to make you look more professional. Remember, many project proposals spend so much time on the details, which are important, but they forget that presentation is also going to sway a potential client.

On a more practical note, a project template saves time. As noted, you don’t have to reinvent the wheel each time you’re proposing a project. You can instead spend your time on the nuts and bolts of the proposal, which are frankly the most important aspect in terms of winning that proposal.

Disadvantages of Using a Project Proposal Template

The biggest disadvantage of using a project proposal template is that it’s a static document. If you win the project all that data needs to be transferred to whatever project management software tool you’ll be using to plan, manage and track the work.

But most project management software isn’t used for proposals so let’s look at other issues with using a project proposal template. They are generic by design and the one you’re using might also be used by the competition. It’s not the best way to differentiate yourself and show that you’re the best organization for the project.

Templates aren’t made to be unique and often act as a square peg trying to fit in a round hole. The project, whatever it might be, is one of a kind. If you’re proposing to manage it with a template, then you’re already a step behind. You’re showing that you don’t really care and won’t go the extra mile to create something specially made for the project.

Tips for Using this Project Proposal Template

Something to remember when creating a project proposal form is that the cover letter or executive summary is often the only thing they read. If you don’t wow them from the get-go then they might lose interest. There goes your project.

Along the same lines, you must show throughout the proposal that you understand the needs of your client, stakeholder and/or end-user. This is why research is so important. You can’t be expected to know everything about their business, but you should do the work to be intimately familiar with whatever venture you’re proposing.

While you should have spent a good amount of time on the project scope and budget, you might not have given the proposal a final read. Editing is important. It looks bad if there are typos or if your tone and style are diametrically opposed to the organization.

Give the proposal a rest, get some coffee or lunch, then go back to it with fresh eyes. You’d be surprised what you find. Or, better still, get someone else to edit the proposal. You can never have too many eyes on a piece of writing.

Other Project Management Templates to Help You Create a Project Proposal Format

A project proposal form must be thorough and convincing in order to get the green light. As you work to assemble the parts that make up your proposal, use these free project management templates for Word and Excel to make sure you write the best proposal possible.

Executive Summary Template

The executive summary might be the most important element of any project or business proposal. It’s the hook that captures your reader, so you want to make sure it’s well-crafted. The free executive summary template helps you write just the right amount to engage your stakeholder and not overwhelm them with too much detail.

Marketing Budget Template

A marketing proposal wouldn’t be complete without having a section to talk about costs and budget. Our marketing budget template is the perfect tool to help you create a budget for your marketing proposal.

Construction Proposal Template

Even though our project proposal format works for construction, marketing and IT projects, our construction proposal template was specifically designed to include what’s most important for a construction proposal.

Requirements Gathering Template

Part of any project proposal is understanding the project requirements. The free requirements gathering template is a place to collect those requirements and communicate them between the user and the developer. This template is great for product or IT proposals, which have strict requirements about the product to be delivered. If your proposal is approved, you’re one step closer to planning a successful project.

RACI Matrix Template

Using our free RACI matrix template is a great way to understand who on your team is responsible for what, and which stakeholders need to be prioritized. It’s a fundamental plank in the platform that will hold up your project. Therefore, it’s important to understand the RACI of your team, in other words, who is responsible, accountable, consulted and informed on the project.

These are just some of the free templates we offer to manage any type of project. In addition, you’ll find industry-specific project management templates for construction, marketing and IT projects.

Related Content

ProjectManager is not only award-winning project management software, it’s a hub for experienced project managers. It’s also great for those new to leading projects. ProjectManager is your one-stop shop to learn the fundamentals of the profession with informative articles, videos and guidebooks that are regularly published on the site. Here are a few that relate to project proposals.

ProjectManager is online project management software that provides tools to address every aspect of managing a project, from beginning to end. Once you’ve used the free project proposal template and you’re ready to take your project to the next level with real-time scheduling, reporting and tracking, visit ProjectManager and take our free 30-day trial.