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Tips for Writing a Proposal

Writing a conference proposal seems easy. However, you need to find the balance between telling enough of the story to get people interested and giving away the plot before you get to the end of the story. The UNC CAUSE Program Committee would like to offer some suggestions for writing a presentation proposal.

Proposal Parts

There are four parts to a conference presentation proposal:

  • Topic
  • Presentation Description
  • Presentation Summary
  • Proposed Presentation Title


The topic of your presentation should be meaningful to you and your clients as well as possibly a unique solution. There are many initiatives being undertaken everyday in the UNC System. 

Below are a few example topics:

  • Were you able to automate a process?
  • Were you able to deploy a new solution that helps your users?
  • Were you able to help make your institution more secure?
  • Were you able to save your institution money through creative or unique modifications?
  • Were you able to help your faculty with a unique use of a new or existing technology?

Presentation Description

The description is the long version of your submission. The long version will only be seen by reviewers and select members of the Conference Planning Team. 

The description should include:

  • A statement of the problem or pain point that needed to be solved.
  • Who was affected by the problem or pain point.
  • What solutions did you explore before landing on a solution?
  • What solution did you select and why?
  • What went the way you hoped when the solution was deployed.
  • What were the challenges you faced and how did you solve them?
  • How did the solution help IT staff, employees, faculty, or students.

Presentation Summary

The abstract will be a concise paragraph that will quickly get conference attendees to come to your session. 

The abstract should include the following:

  • A summary of the problem.
  • What participants will learn.

Proposed Presentation Title

The title is often the most important part of a proposal. It needs to be on point and possibly a little witty. It could be phrased as a question or a statement.

General Tips

  • Proofread.
  • Have someone outside of your expertise proofread.
  • Did we mention that you should proofread?