As development and aid professionals, we work (mostly) to save lives, alleviate suffering and maintain human dignity. Like you, I’m sure, I’ve often found myself in conversations revolving around the question: “How come we [by which I mean our respective governments] aren’t spending whatever it takes to solve this problem?”
Regrettably, there is a finite amount of funding available for the work we do. Because funding is an increasingly scarce resource, it’s certainly in your best interest and the interest of your organization/company to be as tenacious and competitive as possible when it comes to securing new projects. This means getting good at fundraising or new business development.
For some of us, this is a process of continually growing and strengthening our networks for referral business and for others it’s executing on a strategy for securing donations. The “ways” in which we acquire new business are manifold. One of the most common practices for fundraising is responding to tenders (RFAs, RFPs, and RFQs) put out by governments, UN agencies and international organizations.
Regardless of how you go about securing new business (we all use several modalities), in my experience, a common factor that limits the growth and/or the sustainability of an individual practice or organization is the lack of a systematic process for identifying and securing new business.
I am a strong advocate for creating a “machine” that continually provides you with new, qualified leads for securing funding. One of the critical parts in this machine is a tool that can help you to manage your pipeline of opportunities from the moment you identify them until the time they have been either won or lost. This tool can be used on a daily basis to understand how to allocate your time for fundraising and it can also be used for analysis of your success (or not) over a given time frame.
While there are many online tools you can use to manage your pipeline (International Solutions Group uses PipeDrive.com), these always cost money and may present a level of complexity unnecessary for your individual practice or small business. In these cases, maintaining an organized spreadsheet can be the difference between your ability to consistently secure new work and wondering where your next paycheck will come from.
To give you a leg up, we’ve created a template for managing a pipeline of opportunities related to RFAs, RFPs and RFQs that you can use today.