How to Write a Website RFP

Mar 2024

Writing a Website RFP can seem like a daunting task.

We wanted to provide a few tips below that will help your organization receive quality responses from your selected vendors. Before we jump into the tips below, an RFP is most typically a document that sets a baseline for the proposals you will receive for a project. Providing vendors with an RFP is an important step towards ensuring the proposal’s you receive meet the organization’s needs and provide’s a more solid baseline for a comparison of offerings between vendors.

Provide Organizational Background

The first element of a well composed RFP is a few paragraphs of background on your organization and clear reasoning as to why you are embarking on this project. We always consider the background of the organizations we work with throughly as we want to understand if we have specific expertise in helping similar organizations. We want to understand what brought your organization to this point and what the key issues you are facing.

Define Your Project Scope

Following your objectives, its helpful to make clear each of the specific executable steps associated with each objective. For example, if an objective was to update the website aesthetic the scope specifics would be around the number of options you’d like to see. If your project required specific system integrations with organizational systems (MailChimp, Salesforce, Blackbaud, etc) this is also a good place to list these specifics. One thing we would not recommend is asking your IT team for a list of features as those can often times be very disconnected from the goals of the project.

Timeline and Budget

To ensure that your project stays on track, it’s important to develop a timeline and budget for your RFP process. This should include specific deadlines for vendors to submit their proposals, as well as a timeframe for reviewing and selecting proposals. Your budget should also be clearly defined, including any constraints or limitations that vendors need to be aware of. While budget can be a sensitive we highly encourage you to consider including at least a budget range so that the vendors you work with provide solutions that meet your budget needs.

Pitfalls and Conclusion

This is an overview of what your vendors would like to see in your website project RFPs. The main pitfalls that we’ve seen is clients being overly prescriptive in their scope specifics, not providing background information on what the project is occurring, and providing a laundry-list of technology requirements. Avoid these and your project will be off to a good start.