Friday, February 3, 2017

The Right and Wrong Way to Distribute an RFP

I’m a member of several ListServs, where RFPs are sometimes exchanged. God bless Colleen Gratzer for writing up the following reply, which encapsulates everything that’s wrong with RFPs — and how to fix them!

Hi, [Redacted].

There have been a few RFPs sent to this list over the past year.

I would like to share some constructive feedback to help your organization in the future with RFPs and why sending them out to lists or posting on a website is not the best route. With all due respect, sending an RFP to a large list is unlikely to bring you good-quality candidates.

Your work sounds like it would be a good fit for me, as I mainly work with nonprofits, have almost 20 years of experience in the health care industry, and do this type of work. But it would not be a wise business decision for me to respond to this because there is no mention of budget and I have no idea how many people this has potentially been sent to or been seen by. Preparing such a proposal would require days of prep time, and I have no idea of my chances (1 in 5 or 1 in 200) or if I’d even be able to provide something in your ballpark.

Your organization would be better served by vetting appropriate candidates,inviting a few (3 to 5) to bid, and sharing a budget range to work within.

It’s like when buying a car: you could spend $15,000 or you could spend $80,000. Whether or not you have a budget, you might have monetary expectations. Once you provide a range, then appropriate solutions can be offered in the proposal, or the designer would know up front it’s not doable or not.

I hope that helps.