Top 6 Reasons Your RFP Response Is Mediocre

Often governmental  agencies put projects out through RFP’s as required by regulation to avoid the possibility of fraud or favoritism for organizations and small businesses like yours, because it is common knowledge that small companies usually have limited resources when investing time, staff and effort in responding to RFP’s, which may or may not result in securing the actual contract. 

In my experience, once you receive the RFP, it takes roughly about 45 hours to draft and submit your response—That is a full work week for your primary staff member who is working on the response!  Time is money and that’s about $2,000 lost up front, not including the research and administrative tasks completed by one, two or three other workers that are assisting him or her.  If you factor their time and labor into the equation—now your NPO has invested something like $3,500+ from your workforce before you are even awarded with the contract!

That said, think closely about what the selection criteria will be for deciding what RFP’s to respond to, and make your decision after clearly understanding the brutal truth about the possibilities in this process.  In my eBook, Nonprofit Fundraising and Requests for Proposals- A Step-by-Step Guide To Raise More Funds in Just 4 Months!, I explain it in detail how you can successfully submit your response to RFPs and secure more funding in creative, out-of-the-box styles.  If you’re reading this, then I’d encourage you to check it out at some point.

Don’t Be Clueless About Your Local Competition?

Although  you are a nonprofit organization, you need to be aware of who your competitors are, since they will likely be competing for the same funding offered within the Request.  One valuable reason for understanding who your competitors are is to support you and your approach toward the goal of securing additional funding (and partnerships).

In order to accomplish this goal, keep in mind that responding to a Request for Proposal may well be the answer to the question you have of how to find the necessary resources and funding that is required to meet the needs of your programming functionality and success.  Essentially, you need to know how to sell your organization’s uniqueness, because it is that very uniqueness-factor that you are putting on the market to distinguish your NPO’s qualifications from that of your competition.

For now, just to give you a few quick tips, here are the Top SIX Reasons Your RFP Response Was Mediocre at Best:


  1. The response was rushed and not thoroughly planned


  1. Unclear vision of the project goals and expected outcomes


  1. Working on more than one RFP at the same time


  1. Lack of knowledge and understanding of ALL competing organizations


  1. Not describing a clear visualization of your NPO’s capacity and individuality (uniqueness)


  1. Lack of understanding of the political affairs surrounding the sending organizations mission, vision and goals


Remember, it is your job to ensure that you’ve assembled a team within your organization who can provide detailed information and reports regarding the features and benefits of your department or program.  From there, typically the Executive Director, or other key decision maker, is tasked with the responsibility of ensuring that the final Response will adequately “sell” your program, WHILE meeting the questions and points required within the Request.

Best of Luck,

Nerissa S.



Here’s the link to my Kindle eBook on Amazon:  Nonprofit Fundraising and Requests for Proposals- A Step-by-Step Guide To Raise More Funds in Just 4 Months!  Ultimately we’d be helping out one another– you’d be receiving a ton of information that is useful to your current nonprofit goals, and if you decide to purchase it, I simply ask that you leave a review on Amazon, which will help to increase my Amazon Rank.

One comment
  1. Thanks for giving us a detailed guide for setup a non profit organization. I think it is very useful for people who would like to develop an non-profit organization for many different purposes like fund raising ..etc.

    Is it possible to explain the six reasons in details with examples? For example, you suggest to know other competitors. How? Can you suggest ways to collect competitors informations?

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