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FREE RFP ToolkitThe acronym RFP stands for Request for Proposal. The art of writing an RFP starts before writing the RFP by understanding what is a request for proposal?

Definition of a Request for Proposal (RFP)

A request for proposal (RFP) is basically a publication of detailed requirements by a prospective buyer in order to receive vendor offerings. Usually dedicated to software evaluation, comparison, and selection, a request for proposal  may be issued to select any kind of products and services. RFP publication is an efficient tool to gather solution capabilities, which are then put into a decision matrix allowing the selection of the solution that best fits the requirements.

How to write a professional RFP

It is highly recommended that you to read the suggestions below in order to properly and successfully write an RFP.

  1. Seems obvious but use a formal letterhead and do not handwrite your RFP. Use templates and samples provided in your FREE RFP Toolkit, 2014 Edition to create your own professional RFP document.
     
  2. Identify all the key sections of an RFP you should include by simply answering each and any of the questions Why? Who? What? How? and When? as shown below:
     
    1. WHY?
      Why does your organization need to buy a new solution?
      Answering this question allows you to create the section called Statement of Purpose.
       
    2. WHO?
      Who is exactly your organization?
      Provide a brief corporate description, and points of contact for future correspondence.
      This information will become the Background information and Points of contact sections.
       
    3. WHAT?
      What is your project?
      Needs, solutions, and outcomes.
      Information needed from suppliers.
      Proposal format.
      What is the contract?
      Duration.
      Terms and conditions
      Answering this question allows you to fill the following sections:
      • Scope of Work
      • Requirements for Proposal Preparation
      • Outcome and Performance Standards
      • Deliverables
      • Term of Contract
      • Payments, Incentives, and Penalties
      • Contractual Terms and Conditions

      Remember, each of the aforementioned items represents a section on its own and should be considered as is.
       

    4. HOW?
      How proposed solutions are evaluated?
      Quantitative measurement.
      Qualitative regression to quantitative.
      The information will document your Evaluation and Award Process section.
       
    5. WHEN?
      When to submit questions, proposal? When the decision will be taken?
      Process description.
      Process timeframe and deadlines.
      Answering this question allows you to fill both sections Process Schedule, and Points of contact for future correspondence.
       
  3. Statement of Purpose
    The Statement of Purpose is the description and extent of products and services your organization is looking for and the overall objectives of the contract.
     
  4. Background Information
    Present a brief overview of your organization and operations with statistics, customer demographics, and psychographics. Present honestly your strengths and weaknesses. Don't forget to include the complete information about the persons who will be responsible for handling future correspondence.
     
  5. Scope of Work
    Enumerate the specific duties to be performed by the provider and the expected outcomes. Include a detailed listing of responsibilities, particularly when sub-contractors are involved.
     
  6. Requirements for Proposal Preparation
    A consistent structure of content, types of information and documents to provide, particularly technical, put the persons evaluating proposals at ease. Therefore, you should request a given structure for the proposal and provide an exhaustive list of documents you want to receive.
     
  7. Outcome and Performance Standards
    Specify the outcome targets, minimal performance standards expected from the contractor, and methods for monitoring performance and process for implementing corrective actions.
     
  8. Deliverables
    List and schedule of all products, reports, and plans to be delivered to your organization.
     
  9. Term of Contract
    Specify length, date of start and end of the contract, and, eventually, options for renewal.
     
  10. Payments, Incentives, and Penalties
    List all the terms of payment for adequate performance. Highlight the basis for incentives for superior performance and penalties for inadequate performance or lack of compliance.
     
  11. Contractual Terms and Conditions
    Attach standard contracting forms, certifications, and assurances. You may include requirements specific to this contract.
     
  12. Evaluation and Award Process
    Lay down the procedures and criteria used for evaluating proposals and for making the final contract award.
     
  13. Process Schedule
    Present in a clear, concise manner the timeline of the different steps leading to the final decision, like dates for submitting the letter of intent, questions, attending the pre-proposal conference, submitting the proposal, etc.
     
  14. Contacts
    Include a complete list of persons with name, title, responsibilities, and the different ways to contact them for information on the RFP itself, or any question.
     
  15. Do not forget to send your RFP via certified mail.
     
  16. Since things sometimes get a little more complicated than usual, remember to consult a lawyer for further information before doing anything.

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Learn tips on how to write a professional, very appealing RFP in our FREE RFP Toolkit, 2014 Edition and let providers propose creative, relevant, and cost-effective solutions by focusing on the end and not on the means.

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POGO Urges OSTP to Ensure that Agency Scientific Integrity Plans Include Contractors and Grantees

POGO is pleased to see that most federal departments and agencies have finally made public their draft or final scientific integrity plans in response to President Obama's March 2009 Memorandum on Scientific Integrity. However, POGO is concerned that several agencies have not included contractors or grantees in their plans. The failure to ensure the integrity of science performed outside the government but funded with taxpayer dollars is particularly troubling given that some of these departments or agencies—such as the Department of Energy (DOE)—rely heavily or nearly entirely on contractors and grantees for scientific research. .

14 Federal Agencies Fail to Fulfill the President's Directive: Billions in Taxpayer-Funded Science Not Included in Integrity Plans and Policies

The Department of Energy (DOE) and the Food and Drug Administration were two of 14 federal agencies that failed to set proper scientific standards for contract and grantee researchers, despite the fact that tens of billions of dollars in taxpayer money funds this science each year, the Project On Government Oversight (POGO) said in a letter sent today to the Obama administration..

POGO Supports DoD Effort to Redefine Commercial Items

The Project On Government Oversight (POGO) urges you to support the Department of Defense's (DoD) legislative proposal for the National Defense Authorization Act that will result in improved oversight of billions of dollars' worth of so-called "commercial" goods and services..

POGO Supports Proposed Defense Contractor Crime Reporting Rule

The Department of Defense (DoD) seeks input on a proposal to amend the Defense Federal Acquisition Regulation Supplement (DFARS) to expand coverage on contractor requirements and responsibilities with regard to the reporting of crimes committed by or against contractor personnel. .

POGO's Response to Professional Services Council Letter Regarding Reducing Civilian Workforce

Senators and Representatives recently received a letter from the Professional Services Council (PSC) responding to their letters to Secretary of Defense Leon Panetta, in they criticized the Department of Defense's (DoD) efficiency initiative, which aims to reduce costs by scaling back the civilian workforce to 2010 levels rather than compliance with mandates to reduce reliance upon contractors. We would like to offer some perspective on a number of points raised in the PSC letter..

POGO and Partners Strongly Support Passage of the DATA Act

We, the undersigned organizations, are writing in strong support of the Digital Accountability and Transparency Act (DATA Act), H.R. 2146, which is planned for a floor vote this Wednesday. The DATA Act is an important step towards improving federal financial transparency and would empower the public to better understand how their federal dollars are being spent. .

A Test Case on Sanctions?

If there's one thing most Americans support in foreign policy, it's sanctions against Iran to halt its alleged drive for nuclear weapons. From President Obama to Mitt Romney, Rick Santorum, and Newt Gingrich, leading candidates all want to put the economic squeeze on Tehran and to signal their support for Israel. President Obama recently announced he will ratchet up sanctions on the country's oil exports and declared a "national emergency" to deal with the Islamic Republic. The Senate will try to iron out its differences over anti-Iran measures in coming weeks, as bus stations around Washington, DC, are studded with advertisements questioning the President's resolve on the issue..

U.S. Wasting Billions on Over-Priced Service Contracts; Government Lacks Data to Make Informed Contracting Decisions, POGO Tells Congressional Subcommittee

The federal government more than doubled its spending on service contracts over the last decade, despite having inaccurate data on the "true" cost of those contracts—largely because of the misguided notion that outsourcing is more cost effective than using federal workers, the Project On Government Oversight (POGO) told a Senate subcommittee today..

POGO's Scott Amey testimony on "Contractors: How Much Are They Costing the Government?"

I want to thank Chairman McCaskill, Ranking Member Portman, and the Subcommittee for asking the Project On Government Oversight (POGO to submit written testimony about the important, but often ignored, issue of service contracting costs. Although there are many initiatives in place to cut federal agency spending and reduce the costs associated with the federal workforce, the cost of contractor services has escaped scrutiny. Such avoidance is extremely disturbing because the government annually spends more taxpayer dollars on contractor services than it spends on goods, over $320 billion and $210 billion in FY 2011, respectively. To put that level of spending in perspective, total contract spending was $205 billion in FY 2000, of which services accounted for $128 billion of the total..

Last Modified: Tuesday, August 28, 2012 9:25:11 PM



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