What is a Request for Proposal?

Take the next step in your AMC search and learn how to assemble a RFP, evaluate proposals, and choose an AMC.

When you consider bringing on an Association Management Company (or AMC), one of the last steps of the search process is the request for proposal (RFP) process. But what is a request for proposal? What are all of the steps to the RFP process? Our team of association experts will walk you through the process so you know what to expect when you submit RFPs to AMCs.

The RFP Process

Once you’ve vetted your top choices and you’re ready to move forward with deciding on the AMC to hire, you’ll need to start submitting RFPs. You can request proposals from as many AMCs as you want, but it helps to keep it around the 3-5 range so you don’t have to review an overwhelming number of proposals. If you want to open up your search to lots of AMCs, you can submit a RFP through the AMCI website to have multiple AMCs respond to your bid.

What is the RFP process?

The RFP process can be long, especially if you request proposals from many AMCs. Generally the process looks like this:

  1. Prepare your RFP

  2. Submit your RFP to the AMCI website to get bids, or submit to individual AMCs

  3. AMCs will reach out to you with clarifying questions.

  4. AMCs will submit their final proposal

  5. Your selection committee will review all proposals received

  6. The committee should schedule interviews with each AMC you’re interested in moving forward with to meet the key staff

  7. Evaluate your options and choose an AMC

  8. Finalize a contract with your chosen AMC

How do I start the RFP process?

When you’re ready to submit RFPs, be prepared to compile relevant internal documents. You’re going to need to assemble a RFP, which includes information about your association like your mission, your goals, your deadline for proposals, the services you’re looking for, and additional considerations. It’s helpful to look at templates like ours to get a feel for the type of information you need to organize and submit.

As you prepare your RFP, following these steps can help you stay organized and on top of your timeline:

  1. Think about the services that you want an AMC to manage

  2. Use our RFP template to put together your RFP, and remember that the more details shared, the better and more accurate the responses will be

  3. Review the RFP with the search committee and board to make sure everyone is in agreement with the goals and information shared

  4. Submit the RFP and wait for proposals

Choosing Your AMC

After you go through the RFP process, your committee will need to decide which AMC to move forward with.

What do I do once I have the proposals?

After you receive proposals, you can evaluate them as a committee. This step is where a tracking or scoring checklist comes in handy so you can remind your committee of what you’re looking for in an AMC and how you rated each of their services. You can also add any additional information from the proposal process to your scoring sheet to help you narrow down your choices.

Ultimately, you want to involve your committee and any important stakeholders in this final round of decision making. Be sure to consider all of the qualities you’re looking for in an AMC and what services are most important to your association. Don’t overlook the importance of a culture fit with a potential AMC, either. Services and expertise are important, but you want a team who will support you and be flexible as you grow and your needs change. Culture fit can be a deciding factor if all other qualifications are equal.

How do I pick an AMC?

If your committee knows which AMC you want to work with, you can start negotiating a contract. Otherwise, you may want to revisit your top two or three choices and ask follow up questions. Make sure that you have all of the information that you need to compare and evaluate them equally.

If you’re having trouble deciding if an AMC is right for your association, try our association management quiz. We can help you figure out if Talley is the right fit for you, and help you think about the purpose of nonprofit management help.

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