What is an RFP?
"A request for proposal, or RFP, is a document that describes a project's needs and asks for proposed solutions from qualified vendors," Chris Peters writes in an article for the website TechSoup.
Organizations typically use RFPs when they need outside help to complete a specific project. The document describes project details such as the timeline, budget and specifications and defines what roles different contractors will play.
In the grantseeking context, government agencies normally issue a Notice of Funding Availability or other announcement to publicize a funding opportunity. Learn more about finding government grants here.
Foundations are not required to issue RFPs, and most do not, but they still are actively making grants. Sometimes they will issue RFPs to publicize the launch of a new initiative or to announce deadlines for grants and prizes.
That means RFPs can help in your funding search, but they should not be your only resource because you will miss many other funding prospects. Also keep in mind that RFPs are normally for project grants, not general operating support.
Find active RFPs
Start with the RFP Bulletin at Philanthropy News Digest. You can search by subject area, location and keyword. You can also see RFPs for the last two weeks, month or six months.
Each RFP includes:
- Date posted
- Application deadline
- Links to relevant organizations
- A link to the full RFP
Subscribe to be emailed the RFP Bulletin weekly.
Find active funders who don't issue RFPs
Use Candid's Foundation Directory to research more than 160,000 potential funders. With access to the records of more than 16.4 million grants that have already been awarded, you can use Foundation Directory to find out who is giving grants in your subject area and geographic area. Look at grant recipients, too, to find potential partners.
Click here to learn more about how to use Foundation Directory and here for a handy guide. You can access Foundation Directory for free at all Candid partner locations or subscribe to use Foundation Directory anywhere. Eligible nonprofits with revenue or expenses under $1M can also gain a free year of access to Foundation Directory Essential through our Go for the Gold! promotion.
To learn about other potential funding opportunities for your nonprofit, read the following Knowledge Base articles:
- How do I find grants for my nonprofit?
- Where can I learn more about fundraising planning?
- What is crowdfunding?
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Explore resources curated by our staff for this topic:
How to Write a Request for Proposal or RFP
Identifies and lists the steps to writing a RFP.
How to Write an RFP
Includes information typical components of a RFP
Nonprofits: How to Use RFPs to Find Grants
This article details what Requests for Proposals (RFPs) are and how to find government and foundation ones.
The RFP Process: An Overview
Includes information about defining RFPs, RFI’s (request for information), and FRQ’s (request for qualifications) as well as how to write a RFP
Using Competitions and Requests For Proposals - IssueLab
This Foundation Center resource focuses on the Request for Proposal process from the grantmaker's perspective.