Requests for Proposals tell you a great deal about what the funder is looking for. Although there is no set format, the Request for Proposal generally contains information that can be categorized. We are going to review the main sections of a typical Request for Proposal, and then you will begin to understand the necessity of reviewing the document over and over again throughout the grant application process. You will grow to understand the importance of wording and phrasing in the Request for Proposal and learn to contour your answers to include the same wording and phrasing as used in the RFP.

Summary with Background Data

This section of the RFP highlights three important elements in the RFP:

  • What is the proposal about?
  • What is the purpose of the proposal?
  • What is the make-up of the organization requesting the proposals?

For example

Boss Hardware is accepting proposals for the development and hosting of a new E-commerce website. Boss launched an E-commerce site in 2005, but is looking for a new platform in order to augment the number of hits we receive and the number of customers we are able to serve.

The purpose of this Request for Proposal is to solicit proposals from qualified candidate organizations, based on criteria found within this document, and to select the best candidate who meets our needs.

Boss Hardware is a full service hardware supply store based in the Bronx, New York, with an extensive inventory of quality supplies and products for a variety of uses. We service local plumbing, electrical and other utility companies as well as households. Our web site address is

From the Summary section of the RFP, we can determine that the funder is a full-service hardware store looking for applications from providers who have an expertise in developing platforms that will increase customer hits and, in like manner, increase customer e-commerce business.