Julia Reich Design specializes in design and branding for nonprofit organizations. In this case, the prospective client is undergoing a significant shift in focus and will be adopting a new name in the process. The proposal is for development of a new logo, tagline and brand guidelines manual—all of which work together to provide visual support for the organization's change in focus. What's particularly special about this proposal is how well it demonstrates that the project and the design firm are a good fit for one another.
The cover says immediately, “We heard you:”
A well-chosen photo and supporting caption on the front cover demonstrate that the design firm understands the client's shift in focus: to include a diverse audience of individual donors rather than just foundations.
The cover letter opens a strong case for a good fit:
In the opening paragraph, Julia recalls several key points that she took away from her initial communication with the prospect about this project. It's a great way to demonstrate to the prospect that she clearly understands what they are trying to accomplish. This should immediately bring some level of comfort and confidence about working with Julia and her firm.
She literally states, “This project is the perfect fit for my firm!” Then she backs it up by iterating her firm's three primary areas of expertise: brand identity (called for in this scope of work), print design and website design. Even though print and website design are not part of this scope of work, they're almost certainly services that will be required at some point in the future, and Julia ensures the prospect is aware her firm can provide these services. It also sends a message that Julia is interested in a long-term relationship.
Julia includes the names of several clients that will be meaningful to the prospect and further build a case for her firm's credibility as a service provider within the nonprofit sector.
Sets the stage:
Before diving in to the heart of the proposal, a background page provides a clear snapshot of where the client organization is now, and where the client wants it to go. This reinforces confidence there is a shared understanding between the client and the design firm of the challenges and goals before them.
Clarifies the process:
A goals page expands upon each area of work that is included in the proposal, with easy-to-read bullets detailing what to expect with each deliverable. This is a great way to demystify the creative process and to ensure the prospect's expectations are aligned with the design firm's intentions. This level of detail is particularly helpful for a prospect that may be inexperienced with creative processes and standards. By not assuming too much in this regard, a design firm can avert misunderstandings and misaligned expectations once work is underway.
An action plan page details three phases of work, and the steps involved with each phase. Revision cycles are clearly outlined to remove any assumption on the part of the prospect that limitless revisions will be permitted. Timeframes are stated in number of weeks rather than with specific dates, providing flexibility. Outcomes are specifically detailed for each phase of work.
Strengthens the argument:
Because Julia Reich Design specializes in work for nonprofit organizations, multiple relevant case studies are available to support this proposal. But more than just displaying the work, these case studies include narrative content—and in some cases, testimonial quotes—that further demonstrate a relevant connection between the firm's experience and the new work proposed.
Relevant experience is further reinforced in the about us section, this time with a list of nonprofit sectors for which Julia Reich Design has completed projects.
A partial client list builds upon the names of clients mentioned in the cover letter and case study section, all supporting a strong case for relevant experience in the nonprofit arena, using names of organizations that would be recognized as peers in the industry.
Reinforces the suggestion of long-term potential:
Team bios are written to showcase each person's skills as they relate to the stated scope of work. Additional skills related to potential future opportunities are included as well.
Update: Since this proposal was written, Julia Reich rebranded her firm with the help of Marketing Mentor's, Ilise Benun. When Julia started her business as a freelancer, the name Julia Reich Design worked just fine, but when her firm evolved to a virtual agency involving several creative resources, Julia found the name to be limiting. She discovered that clients and prospects assumed she was doing all of the work herself, and were reluctant to give her heavier loads, or to refer her for larger projects because they thought it would be too much for one person. Her company, which focuses primarily on work for nonprofit organizations, now goes by the name Stone Soup Creative. The name is based on the children's folk tale that teaches the lesson of collaboration.
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