Request For Proposal RFP

This is the process of documentation and solicitation that communicates your organization’s need or availability for a certain service and invites various vendors to submit proposals in consideration for the opportunity.

What does RFP stand for?

RFP stands for request for proposal. An RFP is a document that lists out all the requirements and needs of a project. Companies create an RFP for upcoming projects, as a form of proposal to potential contractors and agencies. These contractors and agencies then bid to win the contract, based on the requirements of the RFP.

You’re here because you have some relation to the RFP process. Maybe you’re a team lead or an employee who was tasked with figuring this one out. But did you know an RFP affects employees across departments, and across companies or organizations?

RFPs are a worldwide practice, and industry alone may not excuse you from having to complete or respond to one. They are relevant documentation any time an organization is ready to contract a team for successful completion of a project.

Who writes the RFP?

A request for proposal is an employee’s opportunity to advocate for themselves, their team, and what they need. Being so, an RFP should be written by the main stakeholders in a project. For example, you wouldn’t ask the head of finance to write an RFP for a new website design. This would be assigned to the team that most often works with the company website, such as the site administrator or the content team, depending.

The person or team who writes the RFP should be knowledgeable about the project and have some clearance for decision-making. Part of the RFP process is choosing a vendor to carry out the project, and only those invested in its success can make the best decision possible. While CEOs and other higher-level executives may have daily visibility into the process, they are not often the ones expected to make the request.

Another part of writing an RFP is including questions for vendors to answer or address in their response. These questions can be things such as, “what is your strategy for website design,” or “what is your success rate at completing a project during the given timeline?” A higher-level executive may not have the best insight on what kinds of questions will help determine a good winner, which is why the best person to author an RFP is invested in the project and its outcome

Types of RFP requests:

  • Marketing RFP: Presented to marketing agencies for the purpose of creating marketing material.
  • Branding RFP: A request for proposals toward branding agencies to help your organization build brand guidelines and expectations.
  • Design RFP: Seeks to employ graphic artists to aid in website enhancement or the development of graphic materials.
  • Website RFP: Seeks to employ web developers in website development.
  • Workplace RFP: Looks to bring in technology to help offices operate more efficiently on behalf of employees.
  • Public Relations RFP: A solicitation for help from a PR firm.
  • Government RFPs: Exist for government agencies looking to contract external organizations to carry out projects, such as domestic social improvement or international gender relations.

Elements of an RFP:

  • Project Overview
  • Proposal Guidelines
  • Project Description and Requirements
  • Project Deliverables and Scope
  • Timeline

Your RFP should include a couple different deadlines. Here are some key RFP dates to communicate to vendors up front:

  • Proposal deadline
  • Evaluation window
  • Selection deadline
  • Negotiation deadline
  • Deadline to notify bidders who were not selected
  • Timeline for project completion
  • Budget
  • Examples
  • Selection Criteria
  • Contact Information

Sample RFP Questions:

  • Why should I choose you, and what would you bring to the table?
  • What qualifies you for work in this industry, for my company?
  • Which employees or team members would you task with helping me on this project?

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