Draft a Winning RFP (Request for Proposal)

nonprofit strategy

It’s a fact of life at most nonprofits that sometimes outside help is necessary. Help with annual fund fundraising, major donor fundraising, event planning, grant writing, organizational strategy, etc. Very often, the need is urgent and pressing.

In such cases, how do you decide which outside vendor or organization to hire or partner up with?

For the past several decades, the typical answer has been a Request for Proposal, or RFP – a document that describes a project’s needs and asks for proposed solutions from qualified vendors.

The best part: a good RFP geared toward your specific organization’s strengths can help make certain that you have suitable, dependable vendors and that your project is completed as planned.

Do You Really Know What You Are Looking For?  

At IPM Advancement, we encourage our clients attempting to draft an RFP to – first and foremost – very specifically tell the audience what they are looking for.

In fact, it’s vital to be upfront and clear with the agencies responding to your RFP that you are looking for support for an annual fund, major giving, direct mail, telemarketing, or in some cases, all of the above.

The bottom line: always very clearly define your nonprofit’s objectives and overall project scope before you begin writing your RFP. At IPM Advancement, we suggest using the following example sections:

  • Executive Summary
  • Project methodology
  • Proposed timeline
  • Estimated cost
  • Company Information
  • Your Values
  • Philosophy
  • Organizational Structure
  • Primary Contact Information
  • Account Lead; Staff Resumes; Org Chart
  • Project Scope
  • Summary description of your understanding of the project
  • Methodology and approach
  • Work plan and schedule, including anticipated project start date
  • Critical path issues
  • Data collection methods and procedures
  • Proposed platform/software solution selection methodology
  • Quality control procedures
  • Project management, staffing and supervision
  • Reporting structure
  • Project deliverables and specifications achievement
  • Pricing
  • Samples of Work

If you are looking for more information about drafting your organization’s RFP, or would like to download an RFP template, contact IPM Advancement today.


On average, new IPM clients see a 34.8% increase in direct mail fundraising acquisition response rates within the first year of working with us. Want to learn more?

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