Internal Proposal Topic Memo

Once again, this topic memo is written in preparation for the next assignment, this time an internal proposal; in this memo you are simply to get the instructor's permission to go ahead with the topic you have selected for your proposal. In order to get this permission, you need to describe fully to me the topic you are going to write about.

The internal proposal is a memo that you as a member of an organization (of any type) write to a superior proposing a solution to a problem. First, then, you need to examine the various organizations in which you are involved and think of what is wrong with them or what could be done better. You may also choose an organization you used to be a member of that had some problems.  You may act as if you still are a part of the organization and as if the problem is current even though the situation has passed.

A "problem" need not be a disastrous situation; any area of the organization that could be improved can be regarded as a problem area. But not just any problem will do. The problem must not be too large--so large that only the highest officers in the organization would be qualified to address it. Also, the problem cannot be too small--so small that a proposal of just a few lines would suffice. (The internal proposal must be at least a two-page memo.) For example, if you want an organization to invest hundreds of thousands of dollars to upgrade its computer systems, then a two-page memo will not do the trick. When you want to initiate major capital expenditures, you first ask superiors to study a problem before proposing anything. On the other hand, if a solution is obvious and inexpensive--like a new coffee maker to replace the old one that just quit--then a two-page memo is overkill.

Causes of Problems
Once you have identified a problem, consider as well the causes of the problem, since it is the causes that your solution should eliminate. For example, if dwindling attendance at chapter meetings is the problem, various causes could be to blame--morale, communication, conflicts with other events, and so on. The cause of the problem should determine the solution you propose. If you cannot remedy the causes of a problem, then you have no proposal to make.

Possible problems and solutions are many; most do not involve large expenditures. Here are just a very few examples:

Most of the best internal proposals identify procedures that could be changed with little or no expense in order to make an organization run more efficiently.

All proposals must describe a specific, concrete, and tangible method of solving the problem you identify. If, for example, your organization suffers from poor morale, you must propose something more than the idea that employees need to exhibit a happier, perkier attitude. Instead, you must propose a program or policy or change of methods that will result in a better attitude. In addition, most proposals need to be at least minimally researched: the cost of products sometimes needs to be determined, for example, or certain statistics showing that your problem exists might need to be gathered and presented.

Here is an overview of the proposal topic memo in terms of SCAMP: