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You’ve secured board approval. You’ve set a workable budget. What’s left to do? See if anyone wants to do business with you, of course! How might one do that, exactly? Crafting a solid Request for Proposal (RFP) is a good start. Including the following 4 sections in your RFP will go a long way in introducing your organization and its expectations effectively.
This section often serves as receiving service providers’ first interaction with your organization.
In any case, it’s always good to leave a memorable first impression, and providing potential business partners with a bit of a glimpse into the soul of the organization can’t hurt. Let them know who you are and what you stand for. Make it clear, obvious, and to the point, though —they have places to be and people to see, just like you, so be careful not to waste their valuable time with a lengthy introduction. You would also do well to lay out your rationale for needing a new membership management software briefly.
In other words, quickly illustrate your overall project and your goals. Ultimately, you don’t want to sift through proposals from providers that aren’t prepared to meet your needs; stating those needs explicitly may separate some of the wheat from the chaff before you have to.
After introducing the organization and its goals, enumerate the features that your team designated as necessary to meet those goals. Clearly label these as your required features so that there is no room for misunderstanding the baseline services and features you expect any respondent to provide. Clarity is key here; respondents should read this section and know, without a doubt, what you want and if they can deliver.
Remember those good ol’ “nice-to-haves”— those features you really want but might not need? Include a section in which you let service providers know what these features are exactly. Doing so might entice providers that offer more robust services to more readily respond to your RFP by demonstrating that you are possibly interested in upgrades. It goes without saying that attracting responses from providers with full-featured services is in your organization’s best interest as doing business with on would likely grant increased flexibility. Again, be sure to plainly demarcate these as optional (yet potentially preferable) features.
Finally, craft a closing call-to-action that specifies the exact information your organization wants from responding entities. While you can request whatever information you feel is pertinent to making a sound decision, requesting a quote and description of services to be rendered/capabilities/features is a must. If your organization is keen on some of those “nice-to-haves,” requesting a modified quote that accounts for upgrades in addition to the baseline quote would make sense.
The degree of detail needed in these responses is, of course, up to you. But remember to respect potential respondents' time; you don’t want to turn away any potentially excellent providers by making them jump through unnecessary hoops. Prioritize the kinds of information you need to make an informed decision and go from there.
After disseminating your well-crafted RFP, you will no doubt be flush with responses from qualified Membership Management Software providers. To learn more about Accrisoft's access-from-anywhere, total software solution for nonprofits, click here.
Read the previous posts in this series: