RFP Academy: To DIY, or Not to DIY? That is the Question.

Running an RFP is a robust process. As search consultants, we know first hand the commitment involved. Doing it yourself may seem like an attractive option, and in some cases it is. But for many fiduciaries, you’ll find hiring an expert is the right move.

Here are a few questions to ask when determining whether or not you should DIY the RFP or RFI process: 

Do you have the time?

When all is said and done, DIY’ing a competent RFP can take up to 100-200 hours from start to finish. Is your team prepared to put in the time? This may also be an item that has been put on the back-burner. Before you know it, it could be years since you first thought about conducting an RFP.

Do you know what to ask, and how to discern qualified answers? 

You likely know what you’re looking for, but do you know how to find it? Some service providers offer downloadable RFP templates, which can be a good jumping off point, but these questions are often oriented to their best interests. Digging in and asking the right questions that serve your purpose is one of the most important parts of running an RFP, as is the ability to discern qualified answers. 

Do you know how to benchmark and select candidates?

At the end of the day, you want to ensure the service provider chosen is the best fit for your organization. To do so, you’ll need a clear strategy for comparing candidates, selecting finalists, and moderating finalists meetings. Do you have the processes in place for evaluating and selecting candidates? Often DIYers go with the most prolific markets, not knowing who the best candidates available are. Are you experienced enough to know the difference between spin and Shinola?

If you have the time, experience, and resources to devote to running your own RFP, the DIY option might be your best bet. If the above seems like a lot for your team to take on, you’ll benefit from hiring an expert to run your search. 

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