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Top Proposal Pitfalls

Watch out for these common symptoms of a non-responsive proposal...and fix them BEFORE you submit!

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Watch out for these common symptoms of a non-responsive proposal...and fix them BEFORE you submit! Got comments? Email us!

  • Failure to follow the RFP instructions regarding organization of the proposal, inclusion of required information, page limits or correct number of volumes.
  • Proposal shortcomings or weak spots on high-value evaluation criteria and allocated points.
  • Failure to demonstrate an understanding of the problem (the reason why the agency issued the RFP); generic proposal templates that do not reflect the RFP you're responding to.
  • Late or misdirected submission that can't be re-routed in time.
  • Incomplete responses to information requested in the RFP.
  • Costs/budgets are unreasonable (too high or too low) or incomplete.
  • Costs/budgets do not provide the detail required for line and sub-line items.
  • Insufficient detail of the proposed solution.
  • Unprofessionally produced proposal (as evinced by typos, blank pages, unnumbered pages, smudges, minimal white space, or inconsistent formatting)
  • Poorly written proposal: information is not presented/organized according to the structure required by the RFP; proposal is difficult to follow; contains poor grammar or features punctuation errors.
  • Incomplete corporate data about past performance, staff, capabilities, or project management plans.

Thanks to Deborah Kluge (www.proposalwriter.com) for inspiring this article, which adapts a checklist from her informative web site.

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