This communications request for proposals (RFP) template is helpful for any team needing public relations, media outreach, and other comms needs.
Effective communication is the key to success for any person, team, and organization. Clear communication between departments, customers, donors, board members, and other stakeholders helps build trust, foster collaboration, and advance your overall mission. With this in mind, choosing the right communication tools and services is essential.
One of the best ways to find a suitable partner or tool is through a communications request for proposal (RFP). An RFP is a document that outlines your organization's communication requirements, budget, and timeline and invites agencies and vendors to submit proposals for how they can meet those needs. The RFP process can be complex and time-consuming, but it's crucial to finding the right solution for your organization.
Start by defining the communication needs of your organization. This includes who you want to reach, what message or call to action you want them to see, and what success looks like. Some example tactics and metrics can include earned media placements, content creation like blogs or press releases, and media events. Some of this information might not be immediately accessible, so you might conduct an assessment or look at similar projects to find this information or make a note in your RFP that this will be part of the scope of work for any agency that is hired.
Once you’ve identified your needs and how you would like to address them, it’s time to start putting together your RFP. For that reason, our team has created a comprehensive communications RFP template to help organizations quickly and easily create a complete RFP that outlines communication requirements and encourages agencies to submit proposals. Our template was made by experts who spend their days reading RFPs and was reviewed by communications experts in the nonprofit sector.
Our RFP is broken down into a few different components:
An introductory section that describes what you are looking for and what resources you have available to share. If this project is specific to a program or initiative at your organization, you will want to include details about that in this section.
This section describes the problem(s) leading you to hire external support and that you hope to resolve.
A dedicated space for a high-level description of the services you intend to hire for and the ideal candidate or firm you would like to do this with.
We recommend a budget or range (read why budgets are important in RFPs) to ensure you receive bids for this project. If you don’t include it here, be prepared to receive questions about the project's budget. Most communications projects start at $2,500 per month of support but can vary widely.
A short outline of your ideal outcome if this problem is solved or work is carried out effectively, either in narrative or bulleted format.
This details the ideal project work items you would like your partner to create or work on for you. They can include documents, content, lists, reports, surveys, and media outreach.
Who do you want to reach? Share the stakeholders and target audience for this effort. These can include staff, board members, donors, advocates, policymakers, or people who agree with you on a particular issue.
A description and templated table of when you’d like proposals by and any other vital dates you’re mindful of. We recommend allowing at least two weeks to receive responses, ideally up to one month.
Share any questions for firms, agencies, and consultants. This also allows potential partners to demonstrate their expertise so you can get a feel for how they think.
Although it’s optional, it can be helpful to outline what you are looking for in a proposal. Provide information on what should be included in the bid, such as a cover letter, executive summary, approach and methodology, case studies, and budget.
Close out the RFP with contact information and instructions on reaching out to you and your organizations with questions and the final proposal.
Once you’ve finished your RFP, decide who you want to work with. You can publish your RFP on the Prosal marketplace, which has a growing network of communications experts. Alternatively, you can research and select a shortlist of agencies that could meet your requirements. You can also use our evaluation matrix to decide your most important criteria.
Once you have received and evaluated all proposals based on what is most important, decide which agency to choose. This may involve negotiating with vendors on the details of their proposals, such as cost, delivery time, and performance guarantees.
Using our new RFP template can streamline the process of choosing the right communication solution for your organization and finding the best vendor to meet your needs.