Avoid Costly Mistakes When Learning How to Create a Proposal Outline For Government Contract RFPs 

When learning how to create a proposal / RFP outline for federal contract bids, you have most likely heard of other companies that are eliminated from the competition. Typically, you should develop a How to Create a Proposal Outline Information format and proposal outline that mirrors Sections L and M of the solicitation. This allows the government to follow its own RFP outline when evaluating your proposal.

  • You want to first itemize your government proposal outline to match the agency’s direction and instruction to offerors.
  • Afterwards, you want to expand your RFP outline by entering the subdivisions of each major heading.
  • Your RFP outline should be bulleted to prompt you on what the government contracting agency wants to see in your proposal.

Your project proposal outline must first meet the solicitation requirements. However, it must also flow in a way that is easy to read for the source selection team.

Approaching Your Government Proposal Outline Format for Federal RFPs: When approaching how to create a proposal outline,  your response must be easy to read and follow the format in the solicitation. Successful contractors tend to be concise in their government proposal outline; they often use bullet points for ease of reading by the source selection board. The following are a few tips to follow when developing your RFP outline format:

  • When responding to a government bid, your proposal format should systematically show a road map for solving the agency’s problem. 
  • Your government proposal and RFP outline should address everything the federal government asks for. When you respond to the RFP, understand that the agency has taken the time to write the solicitation. Never think there is something in the government RFP that is too small to discuss in your response.
  • Your government proposal outline should use heading and subheadings. This simplifies the evaluation process.
  • Your proposal format and rfp outline should systematically include the HOW’s, WHO’s and WHENs. This is especially true when you are writing your technical proposal.
  • When addressing your staffing plan, your proposal outline should discuss the organizational structure.
    • Use charts when possible.
    • Describe your key staff and show off their qualifications and experience. This goes a long way in the evaluation process and gains points.

Your Project Proposal Outline Must Follow The Statement of Work Requirements: When you are writing your government proposal, show your understanding of the requirements; your project proposal outline must follow the specific sections of the Statement of Work.

  • Other ways of meeting this requirement could be to simply map the project approach to each section of the Statement of Work.
    • This makes it easier to read without losing costly evaluations points.

See more information about government project proposal writing tips.

Does Your Government RFP Outline Follow the Table of Contents in the RFP? Government RFPs specifically give you instructions on what your RFP outline should look like. Look for parts of Section L and M that state “the offeror SHALL…” This would be a good indicator and hint for your proposal outline.

This is your starting point. If you stray from this important proposal requirement, it can ultimately cost you the contract.

  • As you get further into the proposal writing stages, always go back to see if your RFP outline still follows the RFP requirements as spelled out in Section L (Instruction to Offerors).

It is quite easy to stray when you finally get to the Statement of Work and Technical Approach. You may find yourself writing away and forget to make sure that your RFP outline is followed on a continuous basis.

RFP Outline Tips: The following are some important points to make sure you have a sound proposal outline and compliance matrix before responding to government RFPs:

  • Follow what the Solicitation tells you to write about. This is true regardless of how unorganized the government may be.
  • Pay attention to amendments to the original solicitation. They can change the government proposal outline to some degree.
  • Even if you need to write more than the basic RFP requirements, always make sure that your RFP outline adds sections but not take away from existing ones.

What Happens if You Don’t Follow a Sound Project Proposal RFP Outline?

Our experience shows that when a government contracting agency finds your proposal hard to read, you will end up getting low technical evaluation scores. Even when you challenge the result in a bid protest, you will more than likely not prevail because a court will only look to see if the government’s decision was reasonable. This is why your project proposal outline response is critical to your technical evaluation.

If you need help adopting how to create a proposal outline for your first government contract proposal, or have written them before but are not getting the results, call our government proposal writing consultants for expert guidance. We have sat on agency source selection teams. We know what the government looks for.  

For help in your RFP outline and proposal writing efforts, call the proposal writing experts at 1-866-601-5518.

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