As we’ve previously discussed, grant management software is crucial for remaining in full grant compliance. It automates the grant management process so you don’t have to manage the budgeting, tracking and reporting tasks manually. It keeps track of important dates and ensures that your reports are in full compliance with grant rules and regulations. Grant management software for nonprofit organizations eliminates the burden of grant management and allows you to focus on more mission-critical tasks.
Many nonprofit organizations, however, are not currently using grant management software. Instead, many are using Excel spreadsheets and the like to keep track of grant information and reports. While this may get the job done, grant management software can make the job easier and far more accurate. If managing your grant process has become more of a burden than not, it’s time to invest in grant management software.
Before you can purchase grant management software for your nonprofit, you have to create an effective Request for Proposal (RFP). RFP is used by many nonprofit organizations (both small and large) to bid for nonprofit software (or other commodities) over a certain value. The RFP must effectively describe the organization’s need for the software and be well-written; otherwise, the nonprofit organization risks the chance of losing precious time, money, and opportunity.
If your organizations knows what you want in a grant management software solution, then you are ready to write an effective RFP for grant management software. Consider the following tips for guidance:
- Do your research BEFORE you create your RFP.
The RFP is not an avenue for research. If you are unaware of your specific grant management software requirements or are not sure what your options are where software is concerned, find out. Analyze your organization to determine your current grant processes and procedures and how you arrived at them. What could use some improvement? What could be aided by investing in grant management software? Once you have determined your organization’s needs, you are ready to share those requirements with software vendors in the form of an RFP. This is will help ensure a smooth and efficient process.
- Be clear and concise.
First and foremost, the RFP needs to be organized. Do not simply provide a random list of grant management software requirements and desired features. Develop a clear and concise plan of action. Write out where you envision your organization as a result of the solution. Describe your current situation (your need) and prioritize the requirements you believe will ease the current challenges you are facing. Don’t make the software vendor guess about your need or requirements, be specific and make sure they understand what exactly you are looking for in a nonprofit software solution.
- Include your budget in the RFP.
Grant management software vendors cannot help you if they do not know your budget constraints. Save time (and frustration) by presenting your budget in the RFP so vendors can suggest an appropriate solution in your price range.
- List out qualities you desire in a vendor.
Shopping for a nonprofit software vendor can – at times – be just as challenging as searching for the solution itself. List out the qualities you desire in a software vendor and don’t deviate from this list. The vendors, after all, do contribute greatly to your nonprofit software’s success. You may have to vendors offering the same solutions at the same prices; however, if one of the vendors matches your list of desired qualities, choose them. Their experience with similar projects, business philosophy, references, and expertise really do matter.
- Don’t include complex scoring methods.
Don’t waste your time creating complex scoring methods. While these are created with good intentions, they do not take everything into account.
- Be realistic.
Set realistic expectations for your vendors to meet. While a particular vendor may be perfect for the project, they may pass up the opportunity due to your unrealistic requirements. Always be practical.
Keep in mind that software vendors weigh the cost of the project against the likelihood of them winning the proposal. Even the best vendors will avoid the project if they believe the cost is too high or if the probability of winning the bid is low. If your organization is required to create an RFP in order to purchase grant management software, the above tips will help ensure a smooth process and effective RFP so you receive the solution your organization needs.