Time to reinvent the RFP?

By Catherine Cheney 06 October 2017
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.