This is part 4 of the Aidpreneur.com training on finding opportunities for RFAs, RFPs and RFQs.
Once you have determined your geographic scope and the types of funding that you will pursue, your next step is to identify the funding sources you will pay attention to to learn about new opportunities you can pursue.
In the broadest sense, we can separate the sources for finding funding opportunities into “off-line” and “online”. The reality is, in today’s interconnected world, the vast, vast majority of opportunities can be found online and this should be your primary method of identifying potential funding sources. However, it’s still important to consider off-line sources of information, especially if your geographic focus is at a local or regional level.
Let’s begin with online options. When looking for sources of new business or funding opportunities online there are three major categories that you want to consider: Aggregators, Government/Agency portals and NGO portals.
There are a number of aggregation sites available today that do a very good job of collecting procurement information for RFAs, RFPs and RFQs and presenting it to members or users in a digested format. At ISG, like many others, we’ve come to rely upon the procurement of alerts at the development executive at DevEx.com. Other examples of these indicators are developmentaid.org, the United Nations Global Marketplace (UNGM.org) and devbusiness.com.
These aggregators are specific to the humanitarian aid and international development universe and I’ve never really found a reason to look outside these sources for incoming opportunities. However, as you’re probably aware, there are a number of other procurement aggregators that may hold opportunity specific to your location or your preferred expertise. These might include monster.com, idealist.org and others.
Initially, you may find that aggregation sites provide you with an ample amount of opportunities for your individual practice or your company. It’s been my experience, and the experience of ISG, that it’s also useful to look at government- or agency-specific portals and large NGO portals because sometimes the aggregators miss opportunities and the only place to find them are in these specific locations. Because most people and companies pay attention to the aggregators, finding one of these missed opportunities at an agency or organization level can make the difference for winning new funding because competition is dramatically reduced.
Some examples of government or agency portals include: Fedbizops.gov for the United States government (specifically, USAID) and the supplier portal from DFID (https://supplierportal.dfid.gov.uk/selfservice/) in the UK. Especially if you’ve decided to limit your geographic scope to a specific locality or region, I highly recommend you become intimately connected with the local government structures that might offer opportunities for contracts or funding for your work.
In the same vein, paying attention to procurement portals maintained by large international organizations or NGOs is also a smart strategy both because aggregators sometimes miss opportunities and because these specific portals may have requirements or unique features that would give you an advantage. As examples, take some time to look at the portals maintained by Care International, Save the Children and the Secretariat of the Pacific Community.
As I mentioned earlier in this training, while most opportunities are available online, it’s incredibly important, especially if your practice or company focuses on a particular locality, to pay attention to off-line resources as well, such as newsletters and publicly posted notices. This becomes even more important in those countries and localities that do not have the same types of infrastructure or public funding that you might find in North America or Europe. Similar to the reasoning for paying attention to agency- or government-specific portals and the portals maintained by NGOs and international organizations, looking for those off-line notices of procurement opportunities might offer you a critical advantage over your competition simply because you are “in the know” about a particular opportunity when everyone else is not.
As you work through and identify the online and off-line information sources you intend to track, write them down. And, write them down in the priority in which you will pay attention to them and use the information. This should be done in the same document that has your geographic location and funding type identified. Using these three pieces of information, you can then begin to set up a system for ensuring you are regularly receiving procurement opportunities from your preferred sources. This is the topic of the next section in this training.
Thank you for watching this section of finding opportunities for RFAs, RFPs and RFQs. If you have any questions at all, please email us at training@Aidpreneur.com