RFPs: Everything You Need to Know About the RFP Process

In this chapter, I will present the steps to actually writing an RFP, which might sound similar to a how-to for a resume or a CV. Although no two RFPs will look exactly alike, it’s important for vendors to recognize your document as an RFP and easily understand how to navigate through it.

Proposal length: Sources say your proposal should be as brief as you can keep it while containing all pertinent information. There’s no reason to waste your contacts’ time waxing poetic or including excessive narratives. While it may still span a couple of pages, be prepared for those pages to include need-to-know information only.

These elements should be listed and numbered as headers. The information underneath will be in paragraph format, with any lists formatted as such. For examples of how to visually format an RFP, look here[16]

Elements of an RFP

Project Overview: Your RFP needs to start with a project overview, also known as a summary and background. It is the introduction to your problem and solicitation for qualified help. The project overview will briefly state what your company is looking for and why. If you so choose, the project overview may also include some facts about your company.

Especially when seeking creative help, it’s important for an agency to understand a little of your organization’s history, overall vibes, and clientele. Having a good read on your personality will help agencies determine if they are the best fit for the job.

Proposal Guidelines: This is where you explain to vendors what you’re looking for in their response. Do you want to see samples of their work? Do you want to see case studies where they’ve helped organizations such as yourself crush their goals? Or do you want them to include the projected cost in their proposal?

This is also a good time to establish a deadline so vendors know when they should be turning in this information. Your guidelines section is your opportunity to communicate expectations clearly so vendors can draft a proposal to your liking.

Project Description and Requirements: This section is a good place to go into detail about the purpose of your project, and what problems you are seeking to solve with a vendor’s help. Consider this to be like a consultation with a doctor. It’s where you get to lay out your negative symptoms and discuss how you’d like to feel better.

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