Writing Requests For Proposals (RFPs): Understanding The Other Side
This page on writing requests for proposals (RFPs) will help you see the funder's side of the proposal writing process. As a result, you'll do a better job of writing proposals.
In fact, understanding the funder's point of view is the "secret" to writing proposals that are successful. See the About Us page for some insights into becoming an unstoppable proposal writer.
RFPs or RFQs?
Some people use the terms RFP (Request For Proposals) and RFQ (Request For Quotations) interchangeably. Wrong! If you're doing that you could be undermining your proposal writing efforts.
The terms are pretty well defined by Public Works and Government Services Canada (PWGSC). They also have a third term, Invitation To Tender (ITT), which is like a large scale RFQ.
"The Request for Quotation (RFQ) method is used to solicit bids for requirements valued at $25,000 or less (low dollar value), including all applicable taxes, from one or more suppliers. The bidder with the lowest-priced responsive bid will be awarded the contract. They are not publicly posted. The bid documents are kept simple in order to award a contract quickly."
"The Invitation to Tender (ITT) method is used when the requirement is valued at $25,000 and more; two or more suppliers are considered capable of supplying the requirement; the requirement is adequately defined to permit the evaluation of bids against clearly stated criteria; bids can be submitted on a common pricing basis; and it is intended to accept the lowest-priced responsive bid without negotiations."
"The Request for Proposal (RFP) method is used for complex requirements, where the selection of a supplier cannot be made solely on the basis of the lowest price. It is used to procure the most cost-effective solution based upon established evaluation criteria."
We've added the emphasis in the above citations.
In short, an RFQ is used when all suppliers can supply the same thing and the requester simply wants the best price.
An RFP is used when different suppliers offer different solutions to the same problem. This is the process that concerns us in both grant and business proposal writing.
RFPs And Proposal Writing
When you write a proposal for a grant or for business purposes, it's quite a bit like responding to a Request For Proposals. So knowing about writing requests for proposals can help you.
Supplement to the Write Winning Proposals course.
Federal, state and local government departments responsible for purchasing often have RFP information on their websites. It may even include mini-courses on how to respond to their RFPs.
There are also books on the subject. If you're looking for something to supplement what you learn with the Write Winning Proposals course, we highly recommend Request for Proposal: A Guide to Effective RFP Development by Bud Porter-Roth.
Here's part of the Amazon summary description of the book:
"When done right, RFPs enable businesses and government agencies to fairly evaluate competing proposals while reviewing the broadest possible range of potential solutions."
The book has solid information on writing requests for proposals. It complements so perfectly the winning method you learn in our proposal writing course.