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Church Sound Files: Writing Proposals For System Upgrades
When making large requests, having supporting documentation ready along with rationales can make all the difference.
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The Challenge
In this section, you would break down what is wrong or missing from your current system.

In the examples included in this post, I tell our team why the current speaker system in our community room is inadequate.

They typically know this information (it’s often what leads to the request for you to look into fixing something), but I like to restate it so they know I’ve paid attention to the pain points.

This section says, “Here’s why what we have doesn’t work,” and it leads us to the next section…

The Solution
Here is where I briefly and generally describe what we’re going to buy to fix the challenge. I will tend to use model names that are only as detailed as they need to be.

For example, I said I wanted new speakers from Electro Voice or QSC, I didn’t specify ELX115Ps or K12s or full-range speakers and subs. That information is not important (and they don’t know what it means anyway).

We’re not being intentionally vague; we’re insulating them from details that make their eyes glaze over. This section says, “We need replace this old piece of equipment with this new piece of equipment,” or “We need this new piece of equipment.”

Keep it simple. If they have further detail questions, you can always talk about it (but they’ll never ask).

The Cost
I usually do the cost in a paragraph, rather than a spreadsheet. Again, they don’t need to know that the wall control for the Symetrix Jupiter is going to cost $385. They need to know what the total system costs.

I also like to find a way to offset the costs with savings or the sale of old gear. Even if you can’t save a lot, it’s still worth the effort to point it out. I always have a spreadsheet that I use to calculate the cost of an upgrade and can provide it if necessary.

However, after you do this once or twice successfully, you will never be asked for it. By the way, successfully means fixing the problem and staying in budget. Don’t miss those points.

The Timeline
I learned the hard way to include this. Sometimes, you put together a proposal that you don’t think will get green-lighted for a few months.

Then suddenly, the pastor has all kinds of energy around it and wants it done next week. If you can’t pull it off, it’s a problem for you (even if it is legitimate; you can’t start a PA upgrade during Easter week!).

So, put in a timeline that you can live with. In my video system upgrade, I say we can handle it after Easter. We need it now, but even if I got approval this week, I can’t pull it off before Easter. So be clear with that.

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