When it comes to nonprofit RFPs, there are a couple of different ways that your agency can go about finding the right ones. You can either use an RFP database, search for them on your own, get lucky with word-of-mouth, or find a network.
Tips to find the best RFPs for your social impact agency:
- Search For Relevant Keywords
Another great way to find new RFPs is to simply search for relevant keywords using your favorite search engine. This can be a great way to find opportunities that you may not have found otherwise. For example, if you’re looking for grant writing RFPs, you could try searching for “grant writing rfps” or “rfp grant writing”.
2. Set up Google Alerts
Google Alerts is a free service that allows you to receive email notifications whenever new content is published online that contains certain keywords that you specify. This can be a great way to stay up-to-date on new RFP opportunities as they become available. To set up Google Alerts, simply visit google.com/alerts and enter in the keywords that you want to track.
3. Look for Open Jobs
By using the leading nonprofit job site Idealist.org, you can look for organizations that are hiring new employees around content or tech. This might signal that the nonprofit is making an investment in their digital footprint and may have a need for an external firm to support in the near future.
4. Join a Vendor Network
There are networks of vetted agencies that get access to RFPs for their members. A leading site for small to mid-sized agencies focused on the social impact sector is Nonprofit.ist. Another smaller network is SNORKL, run by Whole Whale.
Using an RFP Database
There are a number of different RFP databases out there that can be a great resource for finding new opportunities. To find the right one for your social impact agency, take some time to research each of them to see which one offers the best selection of opportunities.
Here is a great list of RFP databases to check for Government and Nonprofit requests for proposal:
About: Prosal is an outsourcing platform that connects consulting agencies to good RFPs and helps them win new business.
Types of RFPS: Their RFP database is a business development secret weapon designed by nonprofit and agency professionals for consultants of diverse backgrounds to win their next client. They have relevant and vetted RFPS across web design, marketing, fundraising, DEIB, and many strategic development work relevant for nonprofit consultants.
- Free to join and view some RFPs
- Paid level gives access to full catalog for $69/month
- Allows to apply to some RFPs through the platform
- No commissions
About: Created by Confluent Forms LLC, this site aggregates many types of RFPs including ones from nonprofit organizations.
Type of RFPs: According to their site: The RFP Database is able to offer a steady stream of new projects for everything from accounting and public relations to construction and web development. We keep our costs to a minimum to make projects more accessible to businesses that are interested in them.
The RFPdb Bottom Line
- Free to register
- Low ($2) cost per project lead
- Earn credits by sharing RFPs
- No subscription fees
- No commissions
- Free to upload RFPs for exposure
- First two project leads are free
Philanthropy News Digest
About: Created By Candid, this site aggregates many types of RFPS such as non-profit organizations.
Type Of RFPs: According to the site: The RFP Database for Philanthropy News Digest publishes requests for proposals. A free service for non-profit U.S Based nonprofit organizations and a wide variety of services from agriculture to mental health and more. .
- A daily Newsservice publishing articles, press releases, and grant making communication.
- Job Board postings of full-time employment.
- Daily RFP listings
- Free registration
- No subscription fees
- No commissions
- Free to upload to support nonprofit and government organizations
About: According to the website: Created by CEO Jeff Rubenstein. The system supports by providing RFPs for both government and private agencies.
Type of RFPs: According to the site: The RFP database allows agencies and companies to gain access with a membership to the list of government RFPS.
- Request a Demo to view RFPs
- See current data
- Customer service will provide assistance and answers
Bonfire (Go Bonfire)
About: Bonfire’s vision is to reinvent procurement to better our world. Smarter spending in the public sector means more resources and better services for taxpayers, and that’s something we can get behind. Bonfire is a business unit of GTY Technology (“GTY”) and publicly traded on Nasdaq as GTYH.
Types of RFPs: Very broad range of RFPS across state, federal, and public sector bids.
- Free demos
- RFP templates
- Application portal
- Price: $399/year
About: Created BY Unicorn Systems, according to the site “A search engine that matches companies with opportunities.” Aggregates government RFPS.
Types of RFPs: According to the site: Find RFPs (request for proposals), RFQs (request for quotations), tenders and other bid solicitations based on search terms that describe the goods or services for government and nonprofit companies.
- Websites provided
- Search Engine
- Email Notifications
- Free account set up
- Free limited subscription
- Subscription Price $30 for one month. (plans offered for up to three years. $275 for BEST Value according to the site.)
About: Created By Smartprocure, The ability to view, collect, organize and create tasks to follow up on bids. Aggregates government RFPS.
Type of RFPs: According to the site: The RFP database collects government bids and RFPs for all industries from federal, state, local, and educational organizations nationwide and delivers them straight to your email inbox.
- Results delivered to your inbox.
- 14 day free trial
- Free sign up
- Free cancellation
- Plans Basic $25, Pro $49, Team $99
About: To assist with and support customers by providing the best information to assist with a variety of health concerns. Aggregates government RFPS.
Type of RFPs: According to the site The RFP Database allows Searches through 80,000+ government RFPs, contract award announcements, and winning proposal documents in our new online database portal.
- Free individual membership
- Elite Unlimited Membership $834 Per month or 9,999 per year.
- Subscribers only database
About: According to the site and online service that provides contract information. Aggregates government RFPS.
Types of RFPs: According to the website:The RFP database is a search engine for government Rfps and bid documents.
- Three weeks Free Membership
- Email Notifications
- Assistance with winning contracts
About: Created by the people at Art hacker and Art admin Jobs. Creator Edward L Ryerson, funded by individual community foundations formally known as National Committee on foundations and Trusts for Community Welfare. Aggregates nonprofit RFPs.
Type of RFPs: According to the site: The RFP database creates a space where nonprofits can locate opportunities. A variety of products are assisted such as writing, web design, marketing, fundraising and more.
- Save time
- Stay connected
- Qualified leads
- 30 day free trial
- Annual Subscription current price 149.00 (sale) Regular price is 199.00
How to find Government RFPs
Note that Government RFPs are more competitive and are usually won by larger agencies, however there is always the possibility of partnering up with other organizations to apply. Some prerequisites to consider is the need for a higher level of business insurance as well registering through the SAM – System for Award Management”.
About: SAM it the US’ “System for Award Management” that vendors need to register through. From their site: Contract opportunities are procurement notices from federal contracting offices. Anyone interested in doing business with the government can use this system to search opportunities.
Type of RFPs: SAM has a searchable database of opportunities include pre-solicitation notices, solicitation notices, award notices, and sole source notices from federal offices.
About: According to the website, Created by MDF Commerce, “ aggregates daily from thousands of sites, numerous government publications and public meeting reports, and implemented and monitored by our team of research experts.”
Types of RFPs: According to the website: The RFP Database Exclusive buyer content that provides government RFPS access to an exclusive list.
- Free email alert for daily bid notifications.
- Try for free.
- Sign up then select a state $109, $131 regional, or $274 national plan
About: From their site: Pioneer & Industry Leader Since 1995, Government RFP, Bid & Contract Finder & Notification Service. Daily Notification: Receive new bids, RFPs & contracts that match your business as soon as they are published. Large State database of RFPs.
Types of RFPs: According to the website: Find thousands of active US and Canada government RFPs, bids & contracts. The RFP Database allows viewers to find active government RFPs. Everything from construction to agriculture.
- Most accurate information on the market.
- Free Trial
- Regional Plan $19.95/29.95 National Plan/ discounted plan: Regional annual $199.50, National Plan is $299.50
How to choose the RIGHT RFP to send a proposal to
Your agency should not be applying to every RFP that comes your way. That being said, how do you know which RFPs to consider? Here are a few questions to ask yourself before sending a proposal:
1. Does the RFP Align with Your Mission and Goals?
Before you even start reading an RFP, you should first ask yourself if it aligns with your organization’s mission and goals. If it doesn’t, then it’s probably not worth your time to apply. Remember, your organization becomes what your organization does so be careful about compromising your values.
2. Does the RFP Fit Your Skills and Expertise?
You should also make sure that the RFP is a good fit for your organization’s skills and expertise. There’s no point in applying for an RFP that you have no chance of winning because you lack the necessary qualifications.
3. Is the Timeline Realistic?
Another important consideration is the timeline of the RFP process. Make sure that you will be able to complete all of the required tasks within the specified timeframe. Otherwise, it’s not worth applying.
4. Is the Budget Realistic?
Finally, you should also make sure that the budget specified in the RFP is realistic for your organization. If the budget is too low, then it’s probably not worth your time to apply. Also, if the budget is 2x higher than your usual project it can be a signal that your agency is too small to handle the level of work. A lot of ink and time can be wasted applying to RFPs that are just out of reach for your size.