Think of this section as an “executive summary” of your whole proposal. Consider beginning with a brief story, anecdote, or description that illustrates the “current situation” that has made your project a necessity. The first paragraph briefly introduces your audience to the community and its people, the relevant history or background information necessary to understand the community and/or the problem or need, what the specific problem or need is and its importance, your specific proposal to solve the problem, and a justification for how it will benefit the community. Imagine a specific audience that you are writing to and what they would need to know to make a decision.
II. Define in detail the problem or need that your project addresses using cause-effect reasoning:
Provide the relevant background information of the problem that your project seeks to solve, focusing on the problems or needs that it has–especially those that your project will seek to address. What has led up to this moment? As much as possible, use cause-effect reasoning (explain the causes that lead to the problem you are trying to solve, and show the effects of the problem). What are the causes of the problem, or what is lacking and needed in the community? Describe the “current situation” that has created the urgency for change. What is your vision for the future of the community? This section is a good place to use your research. Convince your audience that there’s a real problem or real need for change, and something needs to be done about it. So you need somehow to make it personal or show how it affects the reader and the community.
Depending on how much you have to say, you might consider breaking this section down into shorter paragraphs that address:
History / Background
Causes and Effects
Need / Urgency
Vision of the future
(Optional: If some people may be skeptical, or what you are proposing is controversial, this is a good place to insert opposing viewpoints and refute them, before continuing on with your own proposal.)
III. Identify those whom the problem impacts and whom the solution will benefit:
Describe who lives in your community (residents, business owners, tourists, employees, government officials, police, customers, homeless people) and how they are affected by the problem or need. Who is a part of the community? Who is affected by the problem or the need? Describe the residents, workers, community groups…anyone significant who will benefit from what you propose. Use your research and interview(s) here. Quote them.
IV. Describe your solution:
Describe in as much detail as necessary what you are proposing, explaining how it will address the causes (above) and change the effects (above) . Be specific and detailed. Your reader should be able to visualize your solution. After showing a problem really exists, you need to show your solution, one which is solvable, doable, and practical.
Explain your proposal in detail (with step-by-step specifics on how your solution works).
Use causal arguments: Show how one consequence will lead to another until the problem is solved or the need addressed.
Use analogy: Perhaps your solution or a similar idea elsewhere is successful.
Use precedent: Perhaps your solution or a similar idea has been successful in the past. If a similar solution was not successful, show how your community or situation is different so that the solution will now work in your community.
V. Explain the benefits of your proposal:
Show how your proposal will meet the needs and concerns of those affected––identified in section III (above)––and solve the problem described in section II, and why it is the best plan. Argue convincingly in favor of your proposal. Again, use cause-effect reasoning: what will the effect of your solution be? Who benefits? How do they benefit? What vision a better future will your proposed ideas create? Give reasons for your audience to implement your proposal (other than those which relate to its being able to solve the problem or make positive change happen by giving arguments from the heart and from values).
VI. Acknowledge drawbacks, costs, or other objections to your proposal and refute
Explain to those who might disagree with your proposal why your project/ solution will be effective, and respond to potential objections. Acknowledge the potential objections by all/any of those affected by the project (such as residents, business owners, employees, tourists, government officials, police, homeless people) might have–or the problem that your project addresses. Who lives in the area and what might their concerns or objections be? Respond to them here. Be reassuring and honest. Not every solution “solves” a problem entirely, but some may lead to a worthwhile improvement. Not every new idea creates paradise either, but change is small and it can create valuable progress. You can admit this; it’s better not to oversell your idea and risk disappointment. Show how the benefits of your solution or idea outweigh the costs. If the costs are high, appeal to the values of the audience by showing that your proposal will lead to actions that lead to consequences that your audience values.
VII. Counterargue alternative solutions:
Identify two or more likely solutions that your readers might prefer–solutions different from your own–and explain why you rejected them in favor of your own proposal. This section addresses readers who may feel that the change you suggest is needed or that the problem requires a solution, but your idea isn’t the best way to go about it. Here, you can identify some other strategies that you could have proposed, and explain why you settled on your idea.
VIII. Conclusion: Describe an implementation plan, or issue a call to action urging your readers to support your project. Re-emphasize the importance of solving the problem. You can also acknowledge that while your proposal may not solve a problem 100%, ro change the world, it still can reduce the impact of the problem, or “push the needle” in the right direction and therefore be beneficial. Consider ending with a hopeful description of an improved future for the community.
Works Cited Page
Use MLA style for your sources.