Guest post by Euclid Technology

Admittedly, the title of this blog is a bit misleading. The truth is that there’s no such thing as the perfect request for proposal (RFP). Clearly translating all your association’s business processes and needs into a single document is a daunting task that can never be perfected. With that said, we’re here to help you build the best AMS RFP possible!

On August 1st, Euclid Technology and ReviewMyAMS will be hosting a joint webinar to go over our 7 Tips for Creating the Perfect RFP.  As a primer for the webinar, we’ll share a few tips you may not have considered that will help ensure your RFP process is a success. 

Think Beyond the Requirements Document

It’s natural to focus on the requirements document when putting together a request for proposal, but the RFP should contain a wealth of other questions that are critical to the project’s success.  For example, how long has each vendor been in business? What level of customer service is included with the contract? How does the implementation process work? Asking these questions up front will help you narrow down the list of vendors that are right for you. 

The RFP is also your opportunity to outline how the selection process will work. The RFP should include a timeline for the selection process and implementation, contact information for the individual that is managing the RFP process, a process for vendors to submit questions, etc. Establishing these guidelines will help the selection process run as smoothly as possible.

Avoid Creating a “Wish List”

If you’ve ever gone through the process of creating an RFP before, you’ve likely been told that you should start by creating a “wish list”. A “wish list” is a comprehensive list of all the functionality that would be available in your ideal AMS. “Wish lists” are created without consideration of real-world constraints such as cost, time, and human resources. Putting together a “wish list” isn’t necessarily a bad place to start the requirements process. However, it would be a mistake to send out an unrefined “wish list” in place of the requirements document in your RFP.

Sending out your “wish list” instead of a true requirements document can lead to several issues. You may lose focus on your key project goals as the “wish list” grows longer and longer. Some qualified vendors may choose not to respond to your RFP because they can’t deliver all the items on the list. You’ll likely receive quotes that are outside your budget or unnecessarily high given your actual needs. 

That’s why it’s so important to edit your “wish list” before finalizing the requirements in your RFP. There are three steps to quickly turn your “wish list” into a true requirements document...

  1. Remove Unnecessary Requirements: If you’re wondering if a requirement is truly necessary, ask yourself two simple questions: Will this significantly improve our member’s experience? Will this significantly benefit our staff or internal stakeholders? If the answer to both questions is no, you can probably drop the requirement.
  2. Prioritize Your Requirements: Indicating which requirements are mandatory and which are optional in the requirements document will help vendors gain a realistic understanding of the project’s scope.
  3. Ask Vendors to Itemize Pricing for Optional Requirements: Ask vendors to breakout pricing for optional requirements separately. This will help you to make decisions on which optional requirements are worth keeping and which you may want to drop. 

Ask About Your Role in the Project

Proposals for association management systems tend to focus on the services and software that the vendor will provide. However, it’s important to realize that implementing a new AMS system is a cooperative process that will require time and effort from your staff as well. Understanding the expectations each vendor has for your team is equally as important as understanding what the AMS vendor will provide. For example, will your staff be responsible for exporting and reformatting your current data for conversion? If third-party integrations are required, is the vendor planning on implementing them or giving you access to their API so your IT staff can create them? Answers to these questions can significantly impact both the cost of a proposal and the resources required from your association to complete an implementation.

Join Us to Learn More

Putting together a request for proposal is one of the most challenging steps in transitioning to a new AMS. There’s a lot to consider and it’s easy to find yourself overwhelmed by the process. Don’t worry. We’re here to help! 

Euclid Technology and ReviewMyAMS are hosting a joint webinar, 7 Tips for Creating the Perfect RFP, on Thursday, August 1st at 12:00 pm ET. We hope you can join us as we walk through some simple steps that will make creating your next AMS RFP a breeze. 

Already looking for a new AMS? Visit our website to learn more about our industry-leading association management software, ClearVantage