Proposals & One-Pagers

Advancement Toolkit Development Proposals & One-Pagers

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Common Tips for Template Language and Layout

Please note: PGSI will connect with the designer to determine best practices on how to display these section justifications, whether they are incorporated as sticky notes throughout the template or included in the How-To guidelines.

Page 1 – Overview/Executive Summary

  • The introductory paragraph can serve several purposes. Briefly explain the history/success of the program, the importance of faculty/students/research and the problems they are solving, or how your department has outgrown its current offerings.
    • Note: this graf should be positive and informational. Do not lead with problems.
  • Transition to the next paragraph by listing examples of pride points or recent momentum. Utilize this paragraph as a “prove-it” section. Prove the claims you mentioned in the introductory paragraph.
    • Note: when listing bullet points, always start with a strong verb. For example, recent momentum includes emerging as a leader in x, increasing student enrollment in y and expanding z research…”
  • The final paragraph should reiterate how the department stands at a critical inflection point. If the unit does not receive private philanthropy at this moment, the department cannot accelerate x, y and z to continue its upward trajectory.

Page 2+ – Showcase the Impact

  • The header should include a 3-4-word phrase that summarizes the entire section. Don’t get too specific. Keep it centered around the opportunity and/or vision.
    • Examples: Our Next Chapter, A Transformational Opportunity, Building on Our Capacity, etc.
    • Note: The header should be no longer than one line. If it is longer, determine what you are trying to say and distill it further.
  • The first graf should be high-level and tee up the rest of the sections. This is where you can mention how “a signature investment would enable the department to build upon x, y and z, which will take the center to even greater heights.” Use language that is aspirational.
  • Use subheads to organize your content. Utilize the pillars or priorities you mentioned in the first graf to frame your subheads and then write 1-3 paragraphs about each pillar or priority.
    • Note: Feel free to label each subhead “Priority #1” and so on, or you can summarize what the section will explain, like “Amplifying Faculty Recruitment” or “Advancing Industry Expertise”
    • Note: subheads can be between 1-2 lines if needed. As mentioned before, if it extends more than 2 lines, try to distill what you are trying to say.
  • Explain or describe 1 key message in each graf. If you find yourself writing too much in one section, break it apart.
    • Tip: after drafting, read each graf and quickly jot down the main point using only 1-2 words. If you need to use more words, or if the sum of the words does not align with each other, then the message in the graf is most likely unclear. Rewrite the graf so that the main point is crystal clear.
    • Note: Frame this key message around the need of the unit and the impact a gift would have to address this need.
  • Use images to better explain your content. For example, if your professorship expands access experiential learning opportunities, pull a picture of a student from an internship and write 1-2 sentences about that opportunity.
    • Note: if you do not have images on hand, visit the UF Photography photo shelter website. Log in with your Gatorlink username and password to search through the gallery and download UF stock images that align with your content.
  • Using pull quotes throughout the proposal from faculty leadership, rising star professors or students is another way to incorporate the impact of the gift or the need for this investment. It is especially meaningful coming from someone who would feel or has felt that impact directly.

Conclusion/Thank You

  • Depending on how much material you are working with, the conclusion can range from 1 to multiple paragraphs. However, the one of the main points of the conclusion is to thank the potential donor for their time and consideration and let them know that you are looking forward to discussing any questions they may have.
  • Additionally, always try to relate the gift or the impact back to the donor, whether it is through their profession, their advocacy for the university or relating back to their alma mater if they graduated from UF.