Responding to government requests for proposals (RFPs) is essential for nonprofits seeking funding and companies seeking new business, but the process can be complex and time-consuming. Clear and concise writing software can streamline text and increase your chances of success. Our in-depth guide offers valuable insights on proposal writing best practices, the RFP process, and leveraging software. No matter your experience level, our guide can help you write a winning bid. Start now and discover the secrets to successful proposal writing.



Understanding the Government RFP Process

To respond to a government RFP, it is important to understand the RFP process. Below are the key parts of the process that every organization should know:
Types of Government RFPs:

There are different types of government RFPs, including the request for proposal, request for quote (RFQ), request for information (RFI), and request for application (RFA). Understanding the different types of RFPs can help you determine which opportunities are the best fit for your organization.

Researching and Identifying RFP Opportunities:

Once you know what type of RFP you’re looking for, it’s time to research and identify opportunities. You can do this by visiting government agency websites or by subscribing to RFP notification services. Read the RFP thoroughly and understand its requirements and evaluation criteria.

Understanding the Evaluation Criteria and Scoring Process:

It is critical to understand the evaluation criteria and scoring process of the RFP to increase your chances of winning. They usually include the technical approach, past performance, management approach, and cost. Address each criterion thoroughly and use clear and concise language.


Proposal Writing Best Practices

Following these proposal writing best practices will help you craft a persuasive proposal that stands out from the competition. Here are tips to help you write a winning proposal:

  • Develop a proposal outline that addresses all the RFP requirements and evaluation criteria.
  • Use clear and concise language that is easy to understand and avoid technical jargon and acronyms.
  • Use specific examples to show how your organization meets each requirement.
  • Highlight your organization’s relevant expertise and experience using case studies, success stories, and client testimonials.
  • Edit and proofread thoroughly to make sure there are no typos, grammatical errors, or inconsistencies.
Here are some examples of how editing for clarity, brevity, and simplicity will improve your proposals and grant applications:
  1. Our solution will utilize use a scalable cloud infrastructure to enable government agencies to easily expand their operations ​without any with no performance degradation.


  2. Our team carefully selects each and every machine part to ensure compatibility and optimal ideal performance in the proposed solution.

  3. The purpose of this document is to explain This document explains our pricing structure, including all associated costs and any potential discounts for government agencies.

  4. It is important to consider Consider the scalability of the proposed solution to ensure that make sure it can accommodate future growth and expansion.

  5. We will incorporate advanced analytics and reporting capabilities ​in order to provide government agencies with real-time insights into their operations.

  6. We have successfully delivered ​numerous many projects that meet or exceed all ​mandatory requirements set by government agencies.

  7. To ensure security, we will employ state-of-theuse state-of-the-art encryption techniques for all data transmissions and storage

Consider learning from communities of proposal writers like the Association of Proposal Management Professionals, American Grant Writers’ Association, Society for Technical Communication, and Write the Docs.



Building a Winning Proposal Team: Roles and Collaboration in Funding Proposals and RFP Responses

Creating a winning proposal or RFP response requires a skilled team including technical writers, subject matter experts (SMEs), editors, and marketers. They must all work together to create a cohesive document that meets requirements, effectively communicates the company’s strengths and capabilities, and appeals to the needs and interests of the target audience.

Each role is vital: technical writers convey complex information, subject matter experts ensure technical accuracy, marketing writers promote the organization’s mission, and editors ensure polished, error-free content. A cohesive and collaborative team, supported by editing software, is essential for success in the competitive nonprofit funding proposals and government RFP responses.


Here’s how each role contributes:

Subject Matter Experts

Subject matter experts provide an invaluable technical foundation and credibility to a proposal. Their in-depth understanding of the specific field, industry, or issue the project addresses makes sure the proposed solution is both possible and practical. SMEs collaborate closely with technical writers to ensure the accuracy of the information presented and to provide insights that strengthen the proposal.

Technical Writers

Technical writers serve as the backbone of a proposal team, expertly distilling complex information into clear, concise, accessible content. Their ability to interpret technical documents and data enables them to present a project’s strengths and unique elements in a way that evaluators can easily understand. Additionally, technical writers bring valuable skills in organizing and presenting information logically and persuasively, making sure the final document is cohesive and impactful.

Marketing Writers

Marketing writers inject storytelling elements into the proposal process, effectively conveying the organization’s mission, vision, and unique value proposition. By crafting narratives that resonate with the target audience, they strategically position the organization as a prime candidate for funding or contract awards. Collaborating closely with technical writers, subject matter experts, and editors, marketing writers make sure the proposal is engaging, persuasive, and consistent with the technical information provided.


Editors refine and polish a proposal, making sure the final document is error-free, consistent, and professional. They review content produced by the team, checking grammar, punctuation, syntax, and clarity. Additionally, editors make sure the proposal adheres to the specific formatting and style guidelines set forth by the funding agency. Providing a final layer of quality control, editors elevate the proposal and increase its chances of success.


Collaborating with Multiple Authors to Write with One Voice

Writing a proposal can be a complex and challenging process, especially when multiple authors are involved. To create a proposal that is cohesive and consistent in tone and message, all team members must work well together.

Difficulty of Collaboration and Co-Authoring Important Info

Collaboration is often necessary when writing a corporate report or an RFP response, but it can also be one of the most challenging parts of the process. Coordinating multiple stakeholders, managing expectations, and navigating differing opinions can create tension and prolong the writing process. This requires strong communication skills, active listening, and a willingness to compromise. Writing with others can also lead to delays if stakeholders have busy schedules or are not available to provide input promptly. Despite these challenges, collaboration is essential to make sure the report or RFP response meets everyone’s needs and presents a united front to the audience.


Strategies for Effective Collaboration

  • Establish a Style Guide

    A style guide is a document that outlines the organization’s guidelines for language, tone, formatting, and other key elements of the proposal. By following a style guide, all team members can make sure the proposal is consistent. This can be created manually or using a tech tool like PerfectIt.

  • Provide Clear Instructions and Deadlines

    Clear instructions and deadlines make sure all team members are on the same page and working towards the same goals. Providing clear instructions also avoids misunderstandings.

  • Encourage Communication and Feedback

    Open communication and feedback keep all team members aware of any changes or updates to the proposal. Feedback can also identify potential areas of weakness or gaps that need to be addressed.

Effective collaboration is key for creating a cohesive and persuasive proposal. By establishing a style guide, providing clear instructions and deadlines, encouraging communication and feedback, and using tools and technologies that help with collaboration, all team members can work together to create a proposal that speaks with one voice and meets the needs of the RFP. Check out our series about collaborative writing for work.


Proposal Writing Power Moves

When planning and executing your proposal, keep these power moves in play to put your response ahead of the competition.

Corporate Storytelling

Corporate storytelling is a powerful technique that involves conveying information in narrative format to engage the reader and make an emotional connection. In a proposal, corporate storytelling can be used to:

  • Differentiate Your Organization: By telling a compelling story about your organization’s history, values, or mission, you can distinguish your organization from its competitors.
  • Engage the Reader: By using storytelling techniques such as vivid imagery and relatable characters, you can engage the reader on an emotional level and create a lasting impression.
  • Show Your Strengths: By telling stories about past successes or innovative solutions, you show your organization’s capabilities and establish credibility with the reader.

Plain Language

Plain language is the practice of using clear, concise language that is easy to understand. In a proposal, plain language should be used because:

  • You may need to clarify complex concepts: By using plain language, you clarify ideas or technical information, making it more accessible to the reader.
  • It reduces the risk of miscommunication: Using clear, concise language reduces the risk of miscommunication, making sure the reader understands the proposal’s message and goals.
  • It shows professionalism: By using plain language, you show professionalism and attention to detail. This proves that your organization takes the proposal seriously and has taken the time to make sure the message is communicated effectively.

Take a Break

Pushing straight through writing a proposal or report is a recipe for sub-par writing and editing. Build in time to rest because:

  • Writing is a process, not a task.” Trying to put research, writing, revising, and polishing into one sitting is too much for your brain to process. Trying to do everything at once is overwhelming.
  • Our brains work best when we give them time to percolate. Do something else and let your mind make connections in the background.

Use Editing Software

Editing software lets you combine human ingenuity and creativity with a computer’s attention to detail. These tools let you polish your proposal with precision.

  • Streamline the Proposal Writing Process: With built-in tools and features designed to optimize the writing process, writing software lets proposal writers focus on developing compelling content. This eliminates the need to spend valuable time on formatting, organization, and other logistical tasks.
  • Ensure Consistency: Consistency is important when crafting a proposal, as it makes the document easier to read, understand, and evaluate. Writing software helps maintain a uniform tone, style, and formatting throughout the proposal, ensuring a professional and polished final product.
  • Improve Accuracy: By detecting errors in grammar, spelling, and punctuation, as well as suggesting simpler, more concise alternatives, clear writing software enhances the accuracy and clarity of your proposal.


Projecting Authority: Why it Matters When Writing a Proposal or Response to RFP

When writing a proposal or a response to an RFP, try to establish yourself as an authority in your field. Being perceived as an authority establishes trust with the reader and shows you have the knowledge to address their needs, which helps you stand out in a crowded field, strengthens your credibility, and improves your chances of winning the bid. It also reinforces your position as a leader, which improves the collaborative process and helps you guide your team to success.

Ways to Convey Authority through Writing Style and Tone

  • Use active voice and strong verbs: Using active voice and strong verbs can help convey confidence and authority in your writing.
  • Avoid jargon and unnecessary complexity: Using clear, concise language free of jargon and unnecessary complexity makes your message easy to understand and reinforces your credibility.
  • Present information logically and persuasively: Presenting your information in a logical and persuasive way establishes your authority in your field.


Why Getting Started Is So Hard

Writing a corporate report or a response to RFP is daunting. Many professionals find it challenging to get started because of the overwhelming nature of the task. The beginning of the process involves defining the scope, gathering data, and organizing thoughts, which can be time-consuming and exhausting.

Getting started can be the hardest part of the process because there are so many possibilities. A blank page often feels overwhelming. You think about all the people who will read and critique your writing. It’s like writing stage fright. The key is to overcome this page-fright and dive into your process. Even a small step will get you moving towards your goal. To achieve this, start with a clear understanding of what you want to say and how you want to say it. You may wonder how to present complex information in a way that is accessible and engaging to your audience. These challenges can make getting started the most difficult part of the process.

Strategies to Get Started 

Here are ideas for how to start when you’re stuck:

  • Create an Outline

    Creating an outline helps you structure your proposal based on the requirements of the RFP or grant’s description. It lets you sketch out thoughts without feeling bad if they are messy or incomplete. Better yet, it gives you a form of sorts to fill out rather than a blank, unstructured page.

  • Brainstorm about the Project

    Brainstorming sets your mind free to come up with whatever it will. It doesn’t need to be formal or in order, so it’s a low-pressure way to get something on the page. From there, you can start making connections and finding your flow.

  • Start with the Easiest Part

    Proposal and RFP writing doesn’t have to be linear: you can start with whatever feels easiest to tackle, even if it’s in the middle or at the end of your proposal. You can edit to make everything flow together once you have a draft written.

  • Gather Prewritten Resources

    Go get things like your company profile or financial overview and paste them right in. Whether you use a tech tool like Quick Parts or TextExpander, or you copy and paste from previous documents, filling in some of those repetitive details can make the page feel a lot less blank and a lot less intimidating.



Enhancing Your RFP Response with Clear and Concise Writing Software

Benefits of Proposal Writing and Editing Software

Using clear and concise writing software can help you streamline the writing process and improve the quality of your proposals. Software offers features and benefits that help in several ways, including:

  • Simplifying the proposal writing process by providing templates, style guides, and examples that guide you through it.
  • Enhancing the readability of the proposal by analyzing the language used and suggesting simpler, more concise alternatives.
  • Ensuring consistency in tone, style, and formatting throughout the proposal, making it easier to read and understand.
  • Improving the accuracy of the proposal by detecting errors in grammar, spelling, and punctuation.
  • Saving time by automating certain parts of the proposal writing process, such as generating cover pages, tables of contents, and appendices.

Writing software like PerfectIt and WordRake can improve your organization’s proposal writing process, enabling you to create persuasive and well-crafted responses to government RFPs. By leveraging the software’s features, you increase your chances of success and win valuable nonprofit or government funding. Check out our technical training video series for managing large, complex documents. It’s designed for legal professionals, but works well for any business writer with long documents and multiple authors.

The Human Touch with the Power of Software

While editing tools like PerfectIt and WordRake can significantly improve the proposal writing process, human editors still play a critical role in crafting a successful RFP response. The software streamlines certain parts of the writing process, but human knowledge is necessary to create a persuasive and compelling narrative that appeals to the target audience.

A combination of clear and concise writing software and human editing expertise lead to a powerful and successful proposal. Here’s how:

  • Augmenting Human Expertise: Editing software tools can enhance the skills of proposal writers by automating error detection and suggesting simpler, more concise language. This lets human editors focus on refining the proposal’s overall messaging, structure, and strategy.
  • Complementing Each Other’s Strengths: Editing software excels at ensuring consistency and eliminating errors, while human editors can understand the nuances of language, tone, and context. By leveraging both, proposal writers can create a well-rounded and polished RFP response.
  • Collaborative Editing Process: The editing software can be an initial step in the editing process, letting human editors work on more complex issues and fine-tune the proposal’s content.

By combining the strengths of the software and human editors, you can create an RFP response that stands out from the competition and increases your chances of winning valuable funding. For more tips about writing for work, check out our business writing video training series.

Software to Try for Proposals and Grants

By incorporating clear and concise writing software like PerfectIt and WordRake into your organization’s proposal writing process, you can create polished, professional, and error-free RFP responses. Using these editing tools leads to a stronger response to the RFP and increase the chances of winning the bid. Here’s how they help:

  • PerfectIt ensures consistency throughout a document. It checks for errors like inconsistent capitalization, formatting, and spelling. Using PerfectIt saves time and makes sure the document is error-free, reducing the need for manual editing.
  • WordRake streamlines the writing process by identifying extraneous words, redundancies, and other issues that make a document more difficult to read. WordRake improves clarity and simplicity, making writing more engaging and persuasive.

By following proposal writing best practices and using editing software, organizations can improve their chances of success when responding to government RFPs and other grant opportunities. Clear and concise writing is important, and investing in software that simplifies the process, ensures consistency, and improves accuracy can save time and resources.


A Painless Plan for Writing Winning Proposals

Get straightforward technology that seamlessly fits into your writing workflow—just like spellcheck, but better. With one click, WordRake brings extraordinary results so you’ll never to struggle with writing again. If you’ve ever written a corporate report, submitted a response to a government RFP, applied for a grant, or presented to an impatient board of directors, then you understand the pain of picking through an over-length draft to trim words and fit within word- or page- limits. And you know that every wasted word diminishes your chance of success. With WordRake, we’ll shrink your word count and improve your meaning. 

WordRake provides an in-house editor to any professional who wants to clarify and strengthen their writing. Run it through a document and watch it catch flimsy phrases and cluttered clauses that keep readers from your intended meaning. Not only does it elevate your sentences’ clarity, but it instills greater confidence as a writer, helping you identify bad writing habits you can learn to leave behind. I recommend WordRake to anyone working with words.

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Writer, Editor, and Writing Coach, RiggsWriting LLC

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I frequently write technical articles. WordRake’s editing in Word or Outlook is amazing. My regular editor, an English major, is mostly now off my back. If your professional duties require writing, you must give this software a try.

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Vice President and General Partner, Maxcis Incorporated

I have been using WordRake for at least four years. I use it for all my writing. It is not a grammar check like Word has. It helps you tighten up your text and presents better ways to say what you want. It is amazing. For $149 a year, you won’t believe how good it makes you look.

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Consultant, Software Analysis Corporation