Proposal assignment

imagesThe final project for this course is a full and detailed proposal for a media tool that a civic organization could use to  to do their work. That tool could be a website, app or a focused digital media campaign.

The proposal should be created in Medium and should be beautiful (in other words, put some thought into design). All of the components listed below should be in the proposal. To that end, you are required to take your proposal to Writing Center on campus for a review before submitting it (one person from your group e-mail a copy of the Writing Center appointment.)

Grammar and spelling count. You are making an argument in this document and clear, compelling arguments turn on clear, compelling writing. Misspelled words and bad grammar can kill an otherwise strong argument.

Schedule:

Nov. 18/19 – In-class work on project proposals. One-minute elevator pitch to the class.

Nov. 23/24 – In-class work – Today’s deliverables: By the end of class today you should have a full description and history of the organization you using in your proposal. You also should have a detailed outline of the proposal on one of the whiteboards. So have each heading (ie “problem/opportunity statement”) and then bullets underneath.

Nov. 30/Dec. 1 – In-class work

Dec. 2/3 – Proposal presentations

Presentation are a max of 7 minutes and should have at least 7 images. Everyone should participate in the proposal presentation.

During the presentation you will show us the problem (not just tell us) and show us how you propose to address that problem. Your presentation should also include some information on costs and design.

Proposal due:

MW section – 12/10 by 3:30 p.m.

TTh section – 12/11 – 1 p.m.

Here are the components of the final proposal:

• Abstract

This is a brief overview of your proposal (sometimes called an “executive summary”) that frames the problem you are trying to solve and the solution you are proposing.

• Organization description and history

Your proposal should be aimed at a specific organization. This section should outline the organization’s history, mission and strategic and tactical approach. In other words, what do they do and how do they do it. You should also summarize their digital media presence/strategy.

• Problem/opportunity statement

This is a brief statement that succinctly states the problem and how you will solve it.
• Beneficiaries

Aside from the organization, who benefits from your proposal and precisely how do they benefit?

• Audience/user base

An awareness or advocacy campaign or project should have a very highly defined target audience or user- base. So, for example, if you are proposing a series of web videos to help raise awareness for homelessness, who are they aimed at? Potential activists? Those with very low knowledge of homelessness? Legislators? Potential donors?

• Project description

What precisely are you proposing? What evidence-based problem will it solve?

• Deliverables

What will your completed project look like. What tangible “assets” will result from it?

• Budget

Often the determining factor of whether a project will get done or not is cost, so this is a critical part of your proposal. You need to figure out what it will cost to get the resources you need to employ. Do you need to hire a filmmaker? An app developer? A designer? How much does that cost? This should be in an easy-to-read table format that has the costs grouped together. For example, website hosting, maintenance and design should be group together with a subtotal.

• Success criteria

How will we know if the project has succeeded? This will require you to briefly restate the problem and your proposed solution and provide some sensible metrics. What can reasonably considered a success when it comes to video views? Web site visits? App downloads? On what are you basing those numbers?

Appendices:

• Twitter list
• Stakeholder interviews

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Grading

• Completeness
• Effectiveness of presentation ( problem and solution clearly and compellingly presented)
• Rationale
• Writing style/mechanics
• Document design

Quality writing is critical in all good proposals. It should be clear, concise, and free of jargon. There should be no spelling or grammatical errors, and the proposal should be easy to read. Sloppy proposals and proposals laden with jargon do not provide a positive image of the offerer, nor do they lend confidence that solid research will follow. Proposals that are well-written and attractive are a pleasure to read, and they make a good impression with reviewers.

There are several places online that provide examples and advice. Here is one.