Time to reinvent the RFP?

Answering a test. Photo by: Pixabay

SAN FRANCISCO — Imagine taking a test with no instructions nor clear answers, then waiting for months to get your grade, all the while feeling you are failing.

That is how some people describe the request for proposal process, in which grantmakers issue a public bid to organizations that compete for a specific project.

In the United States, regulations require government donors such as the U.S. Agency for International Development to advertise solicitations over a certain amount of money publicly. But RFPs tend to work out well for those organizations that know the drill, and for larger groups that can absorb the amount of money donors need to grant, leaving out those without the resources needed to navigate the complex process.

Now, experts tell Devex that the social sector is in need of a new RFP if it is to source the kind of breakthrough innovations in global health and international development needed to achieve the Sustainable Development Goals by 2030.

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About the author

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    Catherine Cheney

    Catherine Cheney is a Senior Reporter for Devex. She covers the West Coast of the U.S., focusing on the role of technology and innovation in achieving the Sustainable Development Goals. And she frequently represents Devex as a speaker and moderator. Prior to joining Devex, Catherine earned her bachelor’s and master’s degrees from Yale University, worked as a web producer for POLITICO and reporter for World Politics Review, and helped to launch NationSwell. Catherine has reported from all over the world, and freelanced for outlets including the Atlantic and the Washington Post. She is also the West Coast ambassador for the Solutions Journalism Network, a nonprofit that trains and connects journalists to cover responses to problems.