The OMG’s of RFP’s

Part of our job as corporate event planners is to respond to RFP’s (Request for Proposals). These are not to be confused with RFQ’s (Request for Qualifications) or RFI’s (Request for Information). Let’s not forget that each of these is looking for something different from you. Of course every organization creates their own RFP’s, RFQ’s and RFI’s so no two are alike in what they are looking for.

What does that mean for someone, like us, who have to do several of them a year? Well, it means we have to customize each one we respond to. That can equate to several hours of time over the course of a year. In the last few years we have done enough of these that we now have several templates for various styles. We have discovered that there is an actual pattern to some of the verbiage that is needed on these as well.

If you are also caught in the nightmare of having to respond to RFP’s the best advice we can give is to thoroughly read the RFP, RFQ or RFI and ask any questions of the contact before sitting down to begin the process of putting it all together. Have more than one person read the document and discuss it to make sure you both think it is requesting the same information. Then respond to each question or category that the RFP highlights. When you have finished preparing the RFP give it another set of fresh eyes and have them look for everything from spelling errors to grammatical mistakes.

Don’t forget that each organization has specific ways that the RFP is to answered. Some want only hard copies and how many varies too. Some want only digital responses and others want it to be submitted via their own virtual servers. Some want a mixture of both and specific paper, margins, font etc. (Yes, it is a lot like doing a report back in high school).  

RFP’s, RFQ’s and RFI’s can be a PIA (pain in the #*!) but once you get the hang of them they become less of a project to be feared and more of a challenge to overcome.

Organizing the Organizers

As event planners we tend to be natural organizers, some would even say we are a bit retentive about organization. We plan for every occurance. We have back up plans for those plans. We are always looking for a way to make things flow smooth and easy. We like things to be neat and tidy and esthetically pleasing. We know that attention to detail is what can make or break an event. So, one would think that event planners carry those same traits into their private lives. Well, for some that might be true and to a good extent we are very much this way in our private lives but for some reason our business storage area looked like a cyclone had landed and created utter chaos.

It was one of “those things”…you know, the projects we are going to get around to “someday”. Well, someday came about two weeks ago and I have to say that even though it took us a whole day to clean, sort through and get rid of stuff as well as organize to our hearts content; it creates quite a feeling of satisfaction to open the door and see everything neat and tidy. Better yet we can find things easily which makes trips to the storage quick and simple now.

I guess it just goes to show you that even natural born organizers have “those things” that we put off, will get to someday or just plain avoid at all costs. Now that we have the storage all cleaned up I think we are feeling better prepared to face the next BIG project…organizing all the boxes of business files we have to keep for the dreaded seven years until we can shred it all. Now if only I can get someone else to do that so I don’t have to everything would be perfect!