By Alana Hollander, JTFN Program Associate
Growing up, my mom often would say, “Pay careful attention to your audience, and don’t waste your energy talking to someone that isn’t paying attention.” This advice resonated strongly with me, but was constantly in conflict with my knack for longwinded storytelling that I inherited from my father. As an adult, trying to reconcile these conflicting characteristics I discovered how to effectively do both. There is a way to be detailed and to remain on point by sharing the important facts in a clear and relatable fashion.
If you consider your audience (nonprofit organizations) for the request for proposal, sharing a proper balance of useful details coupled with clear instructions is essential. Often times when a Request for Proposal (RFP) is shared with an organization, it arrives in a space that may have a small staff with a limited bandwidth. Whether your organization shares this task with teen foundation members or whether it is a responsibility held by staff only, preparing a succinct request will help promote replies from appropriate grant candidates.
In an entertaining and useful article from Nonprofit AF, titled “Foundations, how aggravating is your grantmaking process”, foundations were encouraged to consider the many factors that can hinder an application process for a nonprofit organization. Take a look and find out how your foundation ranks!
Other resources that will help guide you to create an outstanding request for proposal can be found below:
A thorough example of a request for proposal that includes a letter to organizations explaining the background of the teen foundation and their mission, a specific breakdown of the type of program they are looking to fund, and information regarding eligibility and how to apply. In this sample, they not only provide an overview on what they will fund, but also have a section dedicated to explaining what they are not willing to fund. These kinds of details help save time on all sides, eliminating applications from ineligible candidates.
From the Jewish Community Youth Foundation of Greater Mercer County, this template form is a sampling of questions to ask organizations that are applying for a grant. What I really love about this resource is how the information is being collected; the questions are clear and concise and upon return will allow members of the teen foundation to review applications with ease.
Created by Areyvut, this one-page guide helps outline the many questions to consider when preparing an RFP. Use this resource as a way to engage teens to think about what they need to be asking on their RFP’s.