Resolutions for Better Proposals from Nonprofits

Developing proposals in response to government procurement opportunities is a demanding task.  To succeed, your nonprofit organization must be willing to devote the resources, time, and energy needed to create a successful application in response to the Request for Proposals (RFP) or grant guidelines.

Below are some simple but highly effective resolutions that senior management and Proposal Managers should follow to help their organizations submit competitive government grant proposals.

  1. I will track the RFP or grant guidelines on a daily basis to know the day they become available.  If there are previous RFPs or grant guidelines available, we will review it immediately and begin working on it prior to the release of the official grant guidelines, should we decide to bid.
  2. I will immediately study the final RFP or grant guidelines and encourage my company to make a rapid but thoughtful bid/no bid decision.
  3. I will not bid on any procurement that focuses on lowest price.
  4. I will focus on bids that emphasize best value so that I can showcase my organization’s approach and services.
  5. I will bid on RFPs and grant guidelines that are complete, logical, that include clearly defined deliverables, clearly denied Statement of Work or Performance Work Statements, clearly defined evaluation criteria, and unambiguous acceptance criteria.
  6. I will develop a detailed set of Application Instructions immediately after the decision to bid that includes, at a minimum, the following:  notes and conventions; a detailed breakdown of the entire application based on persons responsible for each section and due dates; a matrix of RFP or grant requirements; and a master schedule of major activities and deliverables.
  7. I will begin developing the budget as soon as I start developing the proposal narrative so that they both tell the same story.
  8. I will strive to ensure that my organization is fully committed to providing me and my proposal team with the resources and support needed to submit a highly competitive application.
  9. I will develop a logical and thorough process for developing the application from conceptualization to delivery because it will increase our chances of success.
  10. I always will treat the proposal team professionally, support them fully, and will try to avoid late night and weekend work.
  11. I will strive to ensure that the proposal team receives plenty of praise for their work, constructive criticism for any problems, and that they are suitably recognized and rewarded if my company is awarded a contract.
  12. If my organization does not win the contract, we will do a lessons learned analysis to better understand what we can do better the next time.

Most Proposal Managers do not have complete control over the RFP or grant development process.  However, if they strive to adhere to these resolutions, they are likely to submit more competitive bids.

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