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How to Write an RFP Response

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This video will show how to quickly analyze the requirements of a government, private sector or grant RFP and use the Proposal Kit and Wizard software to generate a custom Word document matching the chapters and topics needed in the responses. Using Proposal Kit can turn what would takes days into minutes creating unique proposal outlines and templates.

Read this related article: How to Write a Response to a Private Sector RFP

Proposal Pack HelpWatch this related video: How to Write a Proposal that Wins

Here are some related templates:

While this video is illustrated using a grant example these steps will actually work for all types of RFP responses. This includes government or private sector RFPs and grant RFPs. You can use the same steps.

The only difference is which templates you select to build your document with. In the end, in all these situations, you are creating a Word document made up of a number of different chapters. In this video we're going to show you how to respond to a grant proposal using Proposal Kit.

This is usually creating a Word document that matches all of the information required in the grant application. This is going to apply to any kind of grants whether it's a government grant, local, national, federal, state. It'll also apply to any grant you're applying for such as to private organizations.

One of the main differences between responding to a grant and just doing a freeform proposal such as selling a product or service is you usually have instructions you have to follow. So in this example we're going to assume we've got a grant application for an energy efficiency project. Now we're going to illustrate this with our Energy #9 Proposal Pack just so you can see some color and design in the documents.

Usually grants, especially if they are government ones, are going to use a very conservative proposal usually using our plain design Proposal Pack called Proposal Pack for Any Business where you don't want a lot of extra fancy graphics and you're not going to get any points scored for that anyway. So how you usually start is you'll take your grant application information. And this will be a document given to you.

It's up to you to go through the grant application and pick out all the things they want you to talk about. And then it's up to you to put together a document for your response. And this is where Proposal Kit comes in because it can let you quickly assemble a custom Word document for you to fill in the blanks where our Proposal Pack will have all the structure of the document, all your major chapters, that will match the information requested in the RFP instructions.

So we've taken this grant application and we've highlighted keywords in the document to remind us of the chapters and types of information we want to put in the proposal. And we'll match these keywords to actual chapters in the Proposal Kit. And this is how we're going to assemble a custom Word document to match this particular RFP.

Now because you have thousands of chapter templates in the Proposal Pack you'll be able to find matches to just about any information that you're asked to provide. So using the Proposal Kit we'll start a Document Project. Click the Pick Documents button and this is where we're going to check off all the chapters that match what's in the RFP.

So we'll check off some common chapters like a Cover Letter, Title Page, Table of Contents, an Executive Summary and then we'll start looking through the RFP instructions to see what kind of things they're asking for. Now this one they want to know our experience, service territories. And we get into the details like project cost, benefits, budgets, your methodology and so on.

So these are the key phrases of information that we're going to match to chapters in the Proposal Pack. So we can see right off we already have a Benefits page. We have a Budget.

Now we're looking at the Top 40 most common chapters here. So once we start getting into more specialized chapters such as an implementation plan, strategies, methodologies and so on we're going to have to start searching for those chapters. So we'll search for an implementation plan, maybe a design page, methodologies and so on.

And we're doing partial keyword searches here to make sure we hit the chapters as best possible. So we'll do a search for these four chapters and we're just going to go through the RFP and start adding chapters as we find them. So we can see in the Proposal Pack we have an Implementation Plan, we have a Project Methods, we have a Design page, we have a Strategy page, we have a Methodology page.

So a lot of these common phrases and keywords you'll match straight to chapters in the Proposal Pack. We'll add these to our project and you can see we're building up this list of chapters. Another thing this particular RFP asks for an assessment of the impact your proposal will have on in this case reducing air emissions.

Well maybe we can search for some chapters that will cover an impact statement so let's just search for the word impact and maybe a reduction page. You'll see we have an Environmental Impact or we could use the Impact Statement. Either one will work and there's actually a Reductions page.

So we can add these two. Where programs are offered, that could be say the Service Area. Cost and benefits they want to hear, the sources, a time frame.

So we're going to use this Service Area to cover this one. Where programs are offered topic, sources, we've got a chapter for that. For costs and benefits we've got a Cost/Benefit Analysis page.

Now you see we didn't find Timeframe. There's not a chapter titled exactly that in the Proposal Pack. But there are many others, like we could do a Timeline or a Schedule.

If we scroll down this particular RFP, well they do want to see a Timeline, Schedule of Events, Milestones. We have a Milestones chapter, Schedule of Events and a Timeline too. Add those.

You can see we're up to 20 pages for this proposal. Grants can get very long very quickly, especially if it's a government proposal. They also want to know about maintaining records for the project, reporting, evaluation, being in compliance with applicable laws and regulations.

So we're going to add some chapters to cover those things too. So we're going to use a Records Management topic, an Evaluation topic and a Reporting topic. We can also use this drop down here to find more chapters that might be grant related.

Since we're doing an RFP response we'll pick this RFP response category. You'll see these checklists change to chapters that are more tailored for RFPs. So we're going to check a Compliance Plan and an RFP Cross–Reference.

The RFP Cross–Reference is a good one to add to any grant proposal because that's where you can create a table cross–referencing all the chapters in your proposal to the information that's being requested in the RFP. This makes it easier for the people evaluating your response to find information in your proposal response. We're also going to add a Bid/No–Bid Checklist and a Grant Proposal Development Checklist.

These are just extra checklists that are good for grants because it will give you a checklist to go through. And you can customize these checklists or come up with your own bid/no–bid responses. This is just to help you in evaluating the creation of your response and whether you should or shouldn't respond.

And now that we have selected all of our chapters we can reorder these and put them in a different order. Anything in this side of the screen will just be extra documents copied into your project folder there for you to work with while you are working on your assembled document. So now that we've selected all of our chapters we'll make sure we have the Company Data.

I'll fill in the Client Data. And now we've filled in the Client Data. Now that we have the Company Data, Client Data filled in, we have all the templates selected that'll get built into the document we're ready to save the project.

And this will build our Word document. Okay now the Wizard is finished generating our RFP response document. And we've used one of the Expert level features which will link dynamically cells in the cost spreadsheets and schedules into the Word document.

So you'll see when we pick the Implementation Plan we can actually do our plans and dates in the spreadsheet and those totals and line items will be updated automatically in the Word document. We've got a Timeline calculator the Cost/Benefit Analysis calculator, our Budget calculator and so on. You'll also see our Grant Proposal Development Checklist document has been created.

We can customize that as needed to help us fill in and finish the proposal and the Bid/No–Bid Checklist, same thing. You can just use this as you see fit. The final assembled document you'll see here's our Cover Letter.

Our energy design theme. This is the Energy #9. Now the visual design theme, we have hundreds of design themes you can pick from.

We have a plain design theme and we have options for you to create your own visual design theme branding it with your own graphics, your own fonts, colors, your own logo and so on. So all the visual options are completely customizable. You'll see the Table of Contents has been generated.

All those chapters we checked off are in the Table of Contents, headers and footers are all created, chapter headers, bullet points. We have tables. Our Milestones or Implementation Plan.

Now you'll see these are actual linked cells from the spreadsheet. So if we update the spreadsheet these line items and numbers and dates will change in the document. That's part of that Expert level feature where we can dynamically link cells in a spreadsheet to the Word document.

So see we have a 36 page document already created, structurally complete and ready for us to start filling in the actual details for the response. So this is one of the big benefits to the Proposal Kit system where you can create five, ten, thirty, a hundred page Word document customized to the situation you need in just minutes. So think of how long it would take you to do this manually with a blank Word document.

Creating a 30 page outline like this this could take days where the Wizard can do it in minutes. So now all we have to do is actually fill in the details of this document with our own information and then we'll follow the instructions in the RFP on how to submit it. Generally RFPs are going to be in a Word or PDF format.

This is a big benefit to the Proposal Kit system is that it is Word based. You're generally going to have to do a Word format saved and delivered as a PDF. Another big benefit to the Proposal Kit system is there are countless resources on how to create your proposals, how to actually do the writing, how to do the details of your proposal and anything you learn elsewhere such as other videos, websites, books and so on you can apply to when you're filling in this generated template that you've customized using Proposal Kit.

And that's the basics of how to generate a custom template to respond to an RFP using Proposal Kit.

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