Wednesday, July 30, 2014

Facilitation ... makes proposal writing easier!

I recently completed a proposal for a consulting and facilitation contract regarding community sustainability.  Fortunately, I gain most of my work through word of mouth and repeat requests from clients.  However, I also write proposals in response to requests for proposals (RFP).  I always find that these take a tremendous amount of thought, energy, and time.  I do not use, and cannot use, a “cookie cutter” approach to writing proposals.  I find that each one needs to be individualized to best suit the request of the potential client.

Yes, each proposal has common sections; that is, experience and relevant work, education, references, process approach and methodology, timeline and budget. However, as I finished the recent proposal, I confirmed that I applied my facilitation principles and methods to writing it.

 How do I do this?  

·         I think what the people in the organization who put out the RFP, need and want (respect, understanding, start with client’s needs). 

·         I carefully consider what I can best give to the potential client based on my experience, expertise and skills (start with where the client is).

·         I think about which of my previous work contracts best fit with the RFP (competency, effectiveness).

·         I think about which people that I am honoured to use as references would be able to, and feel comfortable, answering questions regarding the RFP (honesty, openness, transparency). 

·         I state my understanding of the specific project in the RFP and what I can best bring to the process and the client (professionalism, individualized approach).

·         I think about how I can best help them clarify their outcomes. 

·         I think carefully about the core questions that they want answered through the project.

·         I think about the ways we can work collaboratively throughout the process. 

·         I think about the design of each section of the project and suggest beneficial ways to achieve the outcomes; not taking a standard design and fitting the project outcomes into it.

 It may take longer to prepare a proposal using an individualized and principled approach; yet I know that I am happier, more confident, and satisfied that I have written the best proposal I can to help the client achieve the desired outcomes.
My facilitation blog question is:  how do you use facilitation principles and methods when writing proposals for work?






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