ICMA | blog
Best Practices in Writing RFPs
19 March 2014 |
Request for Proposal
Whether it comes to the strategic plan or the communications plan, localities often find the need to improve certain services that they offer, and this often requires external auditing or consulting. A Request for Proposal (RFP) is a perfect mechanism for solicitation of plans for services from outside vendors and service providers. RFPs can save localities time and money in searching for viable solutions to perceived problems, and often yield efficient proposals that would not occur to government actors outside of the industry involved with the RFP. To ensure that the next problem in your municipality is met with the highest-caliber proposals, I have compiled the following list of RFP best practices from across the Knowledge Network.
Do you have any favorite tricks for writing RFPs? If so, I’d love to hear about them! Please share details about your favorite means for writing RFPs in the comments section below, or post information on the policies to the Knowledge Network’s documents page.
James Davidson is an intern for ICMA’s Knowledge Network. You can reach him for questions and comments at firstname.lastname@example.org.
I think these are great points for those writing RFPs to keep in mind. As someone that responds to municipal RFPs, I know that when these things are followed, it allows me to develop a much better response. Some other things that I like seeing in the RFP and the surrounding process include:
1. A description for how responses will be evaluated. This gives me a clearer understanding of what the municipality finds to be the most important aspect of a project and what may be inconsequential.
2. An original RFP. Too many times I see municipalities just copy and paste another municipalities RFP into their own. This tells me that the municipality probably doesn't care too much about the project or really hasn't done any background on it. It makes me less likely to respond and if I do respond, it doesn't allow me to provide a solution that best meets that specific municipalities needs.
3. Include an other information section. As a vendor this section can be very useful to introduce an RFP issuer to something related to the requested service that the municipality probably wasn't thinking about. It might not help you fulfill the project at hand, but it might provide an idea that could help further enhance your community.
4. Be open to providing feedback to vendors after evaluations. Especially when we don't win a bid, we like to know exactly why we didn't. This allows us to improve as a vendor so that we can be more responsive to the needs municipalities. It just might be to your benefit in the future.
Anyway, just some of my thoughts on creating quality RFPs.
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