Hola friends! Summer is winding down and it’s time to celebrate (console ourselves?). We’re bringing out a new series on RFIs (Yes. AGAIN.). But don’t worry! I promise you’ll learn stuff – even USEFUL stuff (kidding…it’s all useful)! You’ve probably noticed in our previous RFI Posts and in the RFI Workshops, we’re frequently telling you to be prepared. So this new series is going to focus on the penultimate means of RFI preparedness… the TEMPLATE (cue dramatic music).
I touched on templates a bit in the RFI Workshops we held in May, but we’re really going to dig in and emphasize their value today and start you on the road to developing your own template. Now in case you didn’t get to the wonder that is the RFI Workshop, here is why a template is valuable: it saves you time.
Simple. REALLY Valuable.
We’re going to invest time up front to develop your template by:
- Including all the key information a prospect may need on your community
- Formatting your information beautifully (you don’t have to be a graphic designer)
And then, when an RFI Request arrives in your inbox, all you have to do is open your template, save it with the name of the new project, and edit to reflect the data needs of the project. If you need to add new data unique to this project, you can do so with minimal effort because the formatting will already be defined and can be applied on the fly.
Does that sound useful? Yes? Okay, let’s get started. The first part of setting up your template is to plan out your RFI Response.
Step 1: Gather Your Information
Also, expect that there will be occasions where you will have to do special research for a project. If a certain topic is repeatedly requested, consider making it a permanent addition to your template and keep it current.
Step 2: Plan the Order of Your Information
What information will come first? Second? Third, etc? This is also a good time to consider your cover letter and whether you will lead your RFI Response with a cover letter or if you will make the whole response a letter (see cover letter link for more explanation on this concept).
Okay, there are your starting points. In the next post in this series we’re going to explore the branding and formatting of your RFI Template and how to begin choosing the look of your response. Happy planning and gathering!