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By: Debbie McCann, W4Sight LLC
One of the services that ACN offers to nonprofits is distributing notifications of Requests for Proposals (RFPs) to its members. Through ACN’s process of distributing RFPs, W4Sight has both successfully secured new business and gained some insight about the RFP process. Last week’s post focused on advice for consultants on going through the RFP process. Today, we’re addressing some advice to nonprofit organizations, from a consultant’s perspective.
Why submit an RFP?
An RFP describes a specific project for which an organization would like to hire a consultant, and provides a set of instructions for preparing a bid. Organizations use RFPs – rather than simply interviewing several consultants gathered from recommendations of friends or colleagues – to provide additional formality to the process and to avoid favoritism or lack of competition. Some funders, particularly public funders, require a competitive process designed to foster a broad range of choices for the agency. Organizations compare RFP responses on price, qualifications, and the proposed approach to the project. Most funders do not require an organization to select the lowest bidder when the RFP is for consulting services.
While going to the trouble to put together an RFP and select a respondent does take time, it also has some advantages:
As a professional association of career consultants, ACN distributes your RFP to a core group of high-quality, reasonably-priced practitioners with a wide array of experience and – just as importantly – a professional network of potential colleagues. For projects of larger scope, ACN members can connect with one another to develop a proposal that meets an organization’s needs: according to the most recent member survey, 19% of ACN members have collaborated with one another on projects in the last year. Essentially, submitting an RFP through ACN is the fastest way an organization can get their project in front of a variety of specialists.
What goes in an RFP?
Thanks for taking the time – Best of luck on your next RFP!
– Debbie McCann, W4Sight
Want to submit an RFP through ACN’s portal? Click here.
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