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Kathy Cain

Coaching in-house teams


September 14, 2015   //   Kathy Cain

Hey there.

Have we talked before? No, I didn’t think so. So please don’t send Zehno your RFP. Really. We don’t want it.

Blind requests for proposals (usually from state institutions) have been raining down on us. Most are a BFWT (Big F’ing Waste of Time, if you’ll excuse my French — I am Cajun, you know).

The latest one that came in at 47 pages long plus an addendum. Of those 47 pages, six paragraphs relate to the actual needs/scope of work. The remaining 46 pages address such fascinating topics (and requirements) as “Federal Lobbying Prohibition” and “Affirmation Regarding Bribery Convictions” — all citing criminal procedures and articles of the law.

If we have questions, we can send them to the helpful “procurement” representative. In writing, please.

At some point, I think we’ll get an RFP that asks for the blood type of all of my employees and stipulates that I leave the institution in my will. Hey — that’s what it takes to be considered a “contractor.”

Please, people! Make it stop.

What’s our preferred process if not the RFP? At Zehno, we like to do a thing called talking, which might lead to a recommended plan based on our insights about a potential client’s needs and staffing.

  • Our talk needs to be with the most important decision makers and stakeholders about the work. We talk about what your problems, your goals, what you need help with and what your budget is for getting there. We listen to your responses. Is this an opportunity where we can make a difference and add value?
  • If during our talking you also find that you like our process, our work, our results achieved for other clients, we’ll talk some more about whether a proposal makes sense.
  • But only if there’s a good fit.

It’s really not that complicated. Take the first step and if you like where we’re going together, let’s keep going.

There are lots of great opportunities out there to help educational organizations strengthen their positions through brand and marketing — but not enough time to read and respond to all of these RFPs.

So please, let’s just talk instead.

Thanks for letting me get that off of my chest.

Learn more

If you’re ready for more musings on RFPs, check out our white paper: Request for People: Finding the Right Fit in a Communications Partner.


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