How to write a project summary report

Funders often require project summary reports, along with lengthier project proposals, to help determine if proposed projects meet the criteria for funding. Sometimes called a synopsis, an abstract or an overview, a project summary report is a brief document (one page when possible) that summarises elements of a proposal to a broad audience consisting of readers both familiar and unfamiliar with the subject. Write the project summary report after the complete proposal because the plans for the project may change during the proposal writing process.

Provide the title of the project and the names and relevant credentials of those who will work on the project if it is funded.

Provide the project’s major goals and objectives. This can be done in a paragraph or a list. Either way, keep it brief.

Mention all elements of the project proposal, including the project’s importance, its purpose and the process(es) involved in its completion.

Explain the intellectual merit of the proposed project. In just a few sentences, discuss how the project is organised, the qualifications of those involved in the project (and their access to necessary resources) and the importance of the project to the advancement of knowledge in a particular field.

Explain the potential broader impact of the proposed project. Consider including information about how, for example, the project results will be shared with others in the field to promote greater understanding, or how the project itself promotes teaching, training or other learning opportunities. You might discuss how society will benefit from the project, either through its process or because of its results.

Define each abbreviation, symbol and acronym used in the project summary report because readers may not be familiar with the topic or the field.

Proofread carefully for grammatical errors before sending or printing the report.


The project summary report may a reader’s first impression of the project. Although you write the summary report after you have written the project proposal, it is as important or more important. Be concise but informative throughout the report. It is, after all, a summary. Present charts, figures, tables and graphs in the proposal, not in the project summary report.

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Things Needed

  • Completed project proposal

About the Author

Gail began writing professionally in 2004. Now a full-time proofreader, she has written marketing material for an IT consulting company, edited auditing standards for CPAs and ghostwritten the first draft of a nonfiction Amazon bestseller. Gail holds a Master of Arts in English literature and has taught college-level business communication, composition and American literature.

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