Formal proposals

Jeff Kupperman's picture

Now that you have had a chance to explore different potential solutions, it’s time to choose the best aspects of those solutions and synthesize them into a draft of your formal proposal.

As you make your decisions about what will go into your formal proposal, think about what elements would be most likely to address the needs and goals of your primary persona. At the same time, think about which combination of elements is most:

  • feasible (what can actually be done, considering practical, financial, and political factors?),

  • breakthrough (what hasn’t been done, or done this way, before in Michigan?), and

  • delightful (which ideas are you most excited about?).

As you hone your arguments, do your final research, and finish the actual write-up of your proposal, there are some other key structural steps to which you must attend. Be sure that by the final draft:

  • Your preambulatory clauses clearly and succinctly define the problem your proposal is addressing, and should persuade the reader that this is a problem needing to be solved.

  • Your operative clauses clearly and in detail state the solution you are proposing (that you’ve chosen from among the three potential solutions you outlined earlier). These clauses are not where you make the argument for your proposal (that is done in the operative clauses) but are, in effect, your directions telling the legislature exactly what needs to be done to implement your proposal.

  • You’ve thoughtfully outlined and responded to possible counter-arguments to your proposals.

  • You’ve carefully described your research process.

  • You’ve described your consultations in some detail, outlining what you learned, how your perspective was expanded, and where you received useful “push back” on your ideas.

  • In cases where the proposal was created by a team of two, you’ve described which partner did what.  

A first draft of your formal proposal is due Sunday, Nov. 4. You don’t need to have all of these elements complete and polished by then, but you should at least have a good start on most of them. Your final draft is due Sunday, November 11.

See these proposals from a past MSC platform for examples of language for the formal proposal section (noting that the overall format has changed somewhat in the last few years) and also this guide to suggested vocabulary for the preambulatory and operative clauses.

As you craft your formal proposal, stop every once in a while and imagine explaining it to your primary persona. What would they think about it? Would they feel that their needs are being met? Would they be excited about it -- enough to come to Lansing with you to cheer you on?

Online Participation

While we encourage you to continue participating in general discussion topics, at this point you should be focusing most on commenting on proposals written by others, offering them your thoughts about their proposals, raising questions, and seeking clarification where warranted. Of course you should also respond to comments on your proposal from others.

The spirit of MSC is helping one another to do the best possible work, so please read some of the proposals written by your peers and offer comments, specific praise, and any suggestions you might wish to pass along.