When an organization broaches the subject of redesigning their website, many nonprofit executives are required by their boards to issue an RFP. This is a formal document that outlines the details of what kind of products/services you are seeking, and asks potential providers to submit a proposal.
As an agency who has worked for many nonprofits, we see many RFPs. Processes vary from smooth and logical to truly chaotic, and we bear witness to what characterizes both. Below are three hallmarks of a sound RFP – and a download of an RFP template to get you started!
1. Front Load the Good Stuff
A good RFP should be a vehicle to help you find a great web design firm. Issuing an RFP establishes a mutually beneficial dynamic, where agencies court you for your business. A poorly organized RFP can turn off the companies that may be the best fit.
When a potential proposer is sifting through your RFP, they are essentially trying to answer a few basic questions: What is the scope of this project? What is the budget for this project? What are the submission guidelines for this proposal?
You may be inclined to include information on state law requirements, insurance, inclusion, etc. That’s all well and good, but put this stuff at the end. Your project objectives should not be halfway through the document, but up top and highly visible for readers. Be strategic about organizing your RFP, to receive compelling and easy-to-evaluate proposals.
2. Be Real About Your Budget
If you don’t know what your site should cost, you may feel shy about declaring a budget.
The easiest solution is to issue an estimated range, and to be forthright about the fact that you don’t yet know what you should pay. After all, you are issuing this RFP to collect information!
Keep in mind that providing a realistic budget suggestion will result in responses which are more tailored to your suggested scope of services. Responders will be able to give you a more accurate sense of how many/much of their service they can offer.
If the budget is not firm, acknowledge it. Agencies value nothing more than honesty. Your willingness to allow an agency to help guide you in what they can do for you is a good tone to set for the working relationship.
3. Encourage Questions and Feedback
Make sure that your responders have enough time to ask questions, gather the info, and put it all together in a thoughtful way. Facilitating a Q&A period will result in more pertinent proposal responses, and allow you to improve upon the RFP.
Alternatively, you could explicitly ask for feedback about your RFP from some of the first agencies you reach out to, or any agencies with whom you have an existing relationship.Or better yet, ask us! We are happy to provide a free evaluation of your RFP based on our own industry experience. Submit your draft RFP to us via email.
Our free RFP template is coming soon, please email us if you want to see it early.