What Does an RFP Proposal Writer Do?
To ensure they get the grant, companies and nonprofits hire RFP proposal writers to help with development. Since they get a single shot at business altering grants, propositions need to cover all the necessary conditions and present the company's case in the correct light.
As such, proposal writing services and proposal management professionals are in high demand. But the RFP process requires more than writing. The article will explore what RFPs are, the most common reasons for rejecting RFP proposals, and the difference between RFP writers and proposal writers.
What Do RFP Proposal Writers Do?
RFP proposal writers take care of the entire proposal development process. Somewhat similar to technical writing, they are two different categories between proposal and technical writing. Technical writing focuses on informing the target audience, while proposal writing focuses on informing and convincing the target audience to make a favorable decision.
Although the job title suggests that they specialize in purely writing, the proposition process expertise in fields outside written documents. To create a proper solution for its clients, the proposal writing development has three main steps.
- Research - Research is the most critical step since it creates the foundation for the document. Lack of research results in a poor proposal that either doesn't follow government guidelines or completely misses the RFP idea.
- Communication - While writers with expertise in proposal writing know how to create a general proposal, they need to communicate with clients to get the essence. For example, the executive summary should describe the solution in a page or two. Without communicating with the company's executive, the writer can't write a genuine summary.
- Proposal Writing - When the writer is in a position where they feel like they have the information they need, they start writing the proposal.
Although it seems counterintuitive to spend more time on research and development than on writing, look at it like this. Every experienced writer has the skills to create a general proposal. On the generic level, every proposal is similar, and for the writer, it feels as if they are making the same document over and over.
To make a proposal that intrigues the government agency, the writer needs to understand better the company, its industry, and the solution.
Like sales and marketing, where writers are constantly looking for innovative ideas, so does a bid writer search for elements that will make their clients stand out.
Writers usually start their research with the RFP. Is it a federal government grant RFP or a business proposal? In the case of a grant, if it's through the federal government, is it a categorical or a block grant? Requirements also differ depending on location. An RFP from the government in North Carolina will probably be different than the RFP issued by New York State.
Furthermore, the writer needs to take into account the industry. RFPs issued by the defense department will likely have stricter rules than others.
Finally, after finishing the job, the agency considers vendors and contracts, the final contractors need to comply with rules to finalize the agreement. Although some writers finish their job with the final draft, others offer services of helping the organization after they win the bid.
Here are the most common qualifications for RFP proposal writers.
- Bachelor's degree in English language, journalism, communication, or other related fields.
- Certification in grant or proposal writing.
- Experience creating a request for proposal and the proposition.
If you lack any requirements but want to kickstart your proposal writing career, a great way to start is online proposal writing courses.
Once you land your first job, you should know your responsibilities.
Besides researching, communicating, and writing, writers, have other responsibilities as well.
Depending on the niche, you need to have an advanced understanding of a specific industry. You can't expect to write satisfactory propositions and land jobs for defense department bids without at least some expertise.
To win the contract, you must dedicate the whole proposal development to the client. It's your responsibility for the document to showcase the client's capabilities and win the agency's attention and consideration. The RFP world is highly competitive, and the only way the client ever wins the bid is by having your complete support.
Average Proposal Writer Salary
According to Glassdoor, the average annual salary in proposal writing is $64,181. The salary depends on the city and industry, and the range is between $44,470 and $92,628 per year.
The salary rate depends on other personal factors such as:
- Writing skills
- Proposal success rate
- Work history
If a writer works full-time for a company, they can also expect higher compensation as their seniority level goes up.
Difference Between RFP Writers and Proposal Writers
Since both require similar knowledge, it's not uncommon that a writer creates both RFPs and propositions. An RFP writer makes the RFP for an agency or an organization looking to offer government contracting or a business looking to get the best bid.
AN RFP writer creates explicit requests for a proposal that includes vital information candidates need for proposal writing. The RFP writer's job is to create a concise RFP that helps the client decide on the best candidate.
RFP proposal writers create the proposition document for a nonprofit or another company that directly responds to the RFP. The proposal lists why the specific company is the best candidate for getting the grant or work.
What is an RFP?
Although companies use the request for proposal (RFP) for multiple purposes, an RFP is usually the invitation for companies and nonprofits interested in receiving a grant to submit their RFP proposal.
The RFP describes the project, rules, terms, and the bidding process. RFPs are the most common tool for grant providers since it offers the best way to determine eligible vendors. Eligible companies interested in the grant (or project) need to provide an RFP proposal until a specific date given by the RFP provider.
Since there's a limited time when agencies announce an RFP and the deadline, organizations hire writing agencies or individual writers that offer proposal writing services. Organizations wanting federal government contracting need stellar proposals that help them stand out from the competition.
Since a typical business or organization doesn't specialize in RFPs, they need professionals who understand general RFP requirements.
The goal of any RFP is to find the best vendor quickly. An RFP needs to define what the agency is looking for, the requirements, and the grant's' size.
The RFP comprises everything the applicant needs to know to successfully candidate itself for the grant. Some RFPs can include specific budget details, necessary documentation, response time, and contact information for additional support depending on the grant provider.
Same as the government agency should communicate the information clearly via RFP, so must the candidates provide stellar communication in their proposals.
An RFP looking to get quality bids should have the following:
- Define the project.
- Define candidate qualifications.
- Clear grant information.
- Requirements after obtaining the grant.
- Explain how to submit proposals.
- Outline compliance and selection criteria.
- Provide clear deadlines.
Although responding to RFPs is time-consuming, several benefits make the work worthwhile for companies. Additionally, by hiring a suitable writer, a company saves time and increases success chances.
Reasons for Rejecting RFP Proposals
To understand how to write a concise RFP, writers need to know the main reasons for rejecting proposals. Often, companies don't read the whole RFP and lack a complete understanding of the paper. If the RFP is unclear, agencies face a high rate of unqualified candidates that make the review process extremely cumbersome. Here are the top reasons get rejected:
- Deadline - Many candidates send their request letters too late. To encourage clients, the RFP should state the deadline multiple times.
- Unsuited solutions- Since candidates might not read the RFP, they send a proposition although the solution doesn't fit the project.
- Guidelines - Some RFPs request an executive summary, and some don't. Although it's good to have a template when proposal writing, proposal writers don't read the guidelines thoroughly. By listing the guidelines clearly, you ensure the document meets the requirements.
While an RFP writer can't' create a perfect RFP, they should always maximize the total proposal success rate.
On average, organizations send 150 RFP proposals per year. Often they rush to respond, either to save money on proposal writing services or because they didn't find out about the RFP on time.
Similar to technical writers, RFP proposal writers need to convey information to their target audience. But unlike technical writers, they also need to make a point why their client is the perfect candidate for a job or grant.
The goal is simple, but how you get there takes a lot of practice and experience. In a sense, the way you present yourself to clients showcases your proposal development capabilities.
Consistency is the key, and as long as you keep on growing, you're on the right track. Good luck.
What does a proposal writer do?
Proposal writers explicitly create documents to convince the RFP provider to consider the writer's clients as the best vendor for a business plan or a grant. Professionals make different proposals, ranging from idea-presenting documents to contracts between two parties.
How to become a proposal writer?
Proposal writers require a bachelor's degree in journalism, English language, or similar fields to qualify for most projects. But it's possible to land jobs without a degree if you have previous experience or a certificate.
What makes a good proposal writer?
Good proposal writers can summarize the business idea, benefits, and client's capabilities into a single document. They use these components to create a case for the client and help them get a grant or a business deal.
If you are new to proposal writing and are looking to break-in, we recommend taking our Proposal Writing Certification Course, where you will learn the fundamentals of being a proposal writer and how to write winning proposals.
Josh is the founder of Technical Writer HQ and Squibler, a writing software. He is considered one of the top product influencers in the world by Product School and one of the top technical writers. He has been writing software tutorials, manuals, handbooks, and white papers for over eight years. You can connect with him on LinkedIn here.