Proposal Template proposal

Process 2001-09-17

Summary:

Agreed that it's suggested that proposals be drafted according to a specific template which provides for certain categories of information

Proposal:

"We suggest that proposals coming to the whole group be drafted according to this template."

You are a member of a cohousing community and you've been thinking.

Maybe you see something that needs improvement, or perhaps you have a new idea, or read something in the Cohousing Journal that sounded really cool.

Now you want your community to do something about it!

Float the idea with a few friends in the community. This will help put your thoughts in order and reveal anything obvious you should know about.

Go to InfoCo (they deal with proposals going to the cmty meeting agenda) and check to see what details, such as committee approval, you need to put into the plan.

Do the "Writing a Winning Proposal" Worksheet. Really.

Bring the polished proposal to InfoCo. They will get it on the agenda and distribute it before the meeting. They will strategize how to best mesh it into the upcoming community meetings to maximize its exposure and give it a chance for a thorough presentation. Usually a proposal will go through two meetings. The first for discussion, the second for the decision, so that you have time between the first and the second to refine the proposal based on the discussion.

Writing a Winning Proposal

Important: Before you bring a proposal to the InfoCo Committee for inclusion on a full community meeting agenda, it must be discussed by the appropriate committee. If you're not sure which committee that would be, ask InfoCo for advice.

First, outline the issue.
What issue do you want to move forward; what's going wrong; or what would you like to see happening that isn't? Remember to state who has identified this as a problem, as well as telling us why that group thinks it's a problem. (Also consider whether someone else might think that the issue in question is not a problem. If so, address that later in the proposal.)

Second, deliver the background information.
Now summarize the relevant information to make an "informed decision". That means having price comparisons if appropriate, an idea of how well this sort of thing has worked in the past or in other cohousing communities, etc. Resist the temptation to offer your own opinion here--just the facts. Look carefully at the proposal itself. What factual questions might people ask you about it? Answer those questions here. Be sure to define any terms with which your readers might be unfamiliar. Also answer the question of who will be responsible for carrying out the proposal. State the financial and labor obligations and what budget line item it might come out of. What�s the timeline? (Note, if your proposal involves lots of numbers, explain everything thoroughly. Graphs and diagrams help.)

Third, state the proposal.
Use clear wording and keep it brief. The substance should be in the previous section.

Fourth, review the opinions.
This is where you explain why you and the committee like the proposal, why it is a better solution than any of the other ones floating around. Also (very important!) you present the other side(s) of the issue. If there are only two sides to the issue, you will probably want to use the standard Pro/Con format. If the issue has several different sides, you might want to have a "Questions to Consider" section instead. Try to find the weaknesses in your own proposal. Ask the committee to brainstorm possible Cons. The group needs a thorough Cons section (as well as a thorough Pros section) to make a good decision. Know your community well enough, or spend enough time talking to folks, to know what kind of objections are out there so that you can make a better proposal and incorporate more Pros and Cons.

Fifth, cite your sources (if applicable).
Consider all of the information that went into creating this proposal. Make a list of your sources of information (e.g., talking to community members, using cohousing-l, professionals in the field) and what you learned from those sources. List what committees the proposal has been reviewed by.

Remember: Until the group passes your proposal, it is just another idea, subject to change. Don't be afraid to hold it up and look for holes!

SAMPLE PROPOSAL

Children's toys on sidewalks at night

Issue:
� There are lots of small bicycles and other childrens toys that remain on the sidewalks at night after the children have gone in.
� The toys are dangerous to pedestrians in the dark.

Information:
As the weather has gotten warmer more toys are out and about. Many people have been commenting on this lately. Having a place to put the toys at night would make it easier for toys to be put away. The obvious places are near each gathering node. A toy corral could be designated and some small expense set aside for a picket fence as a boundary. Each night before kids come inside the parents could help develop a culture of the kids bringing the toys to the corral. The Parents Against Injury at Night (PAIN) will be responsible for building the corrals.

Proposal:
� A space of approximately 4 foot by 4 foot shall be designated as "Toy Corral" in each of the two gathering node areas.
� A cost of no more than $200 dollars shall be spent on the two combined areas.

Pros:
� People would not get injured by stumbling over toys at night.
� The general aesthetic appearance of the community may improve

Cons:
� The aesthetics of the toy corrals may not appeal to folks
� The children may rebel

Reviewed by Land Use Committee and Finance Committee

Comments:

Was consensed on.

Process Comments:

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