A GUIDE TO WORKING WITH THE STATE
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A GUIDE TO WORKING WITH THE STATE A GUIDE TO WORKING WITH THE STATE Presentation Transcript

  • A GUIDE TO WORKING WITH THE STATE The Competitive RFP Process Contracting with the State
  • A GUIDE TO WORKING WITH THE STATE The Competitive RFP Process Contracting with the State A guidebook developed specifically for those small, community-based, faith-based and minority nonprofit organizations in Louisiana committed to providing valuable social services, leadership and hope to needy citizens in our most vulnerable communities.
  • INTRODUCTION In almost every Louisiana community you can find small, community- The second section reviews the State’s contracting requirements and based, minority and faith-based nonprofit organizations providing basic process — including how a contract document is developed, reviewed social services needed by the local community. These organizations finalized and signed. This section also explains the billing/invoicing are the backbone of community support services in many process and the State’s contract monitoring process. communities – especially our lower-income communities. A Forms Appendix that provides blank samples of useful forms and a Through their programs and their dedication, Louisiana’s small Resources Appendix that lists other helpful resources is also included nonprofits have built a foundation of trust with their communities. at the end of the book. They know the community and the community recognizes them. Like any other guidebook, this guide is most useful when combined This book, State Contracting Guide, was developed specifically for with your own skills and hard work. The State of Louisiana wants to Louisiana’s small nonprofits that provide basic social services in their support and strengthen its small nonprofit organizations. We local communities. It covers the key issues related to the process used encourage you to use this guide as part of your continuous effort to by the State to request funding proposals for social service programs. build the knowledge, expertise and success of your organization. This guide also describes the basic process and requirements that you must navigate to successfully contract with the State. The first section of this book is an overview that describes how the State advertises and solicits proposals from nonprofits to deliver social service programs (After-school, Teen Pregnancy Prevention, etc.). It also describes the kind of document the State develops to request proposals from nonprofits.
  • TABLE OF CONTENTS Section One The Competitive RFP Process How the State Requests Proposals ..................................page 1 Section Two Contracting With The State Basic Process and Requirements ....................................page 21 Forms Appendix Forms You Can Duplicate and Use Resources Appendix Other Resources Available
  • SECTION ONE: THE COMPETITIVE RFP PROCESS
  • SECTION ONE: THE COMPETITIVE RFP PROCESS Overview CONTENTS OF THIS SECTION The Louisiana Legislature has established by law a specific process a. Why the State Uses a Competitive Process ......page 4 that must be followed when State agencies solicit proposals and award social service contracts to nonprofit organizations. This b. What is a Request for Proposals (RFP) ............ page 5 formal process is commonly called the competitive RFP (Request for The State uses a competitive process to Proposals) process. award most social service contracts. c. How to Find State RFPs ........................................page 19 This process is designed to provide an You may wonder why the State has to go through this RFP process to equal chance for all organizations to give out money to your nonprofit organization. After all, you have a compete for State contracts. good program and the services you provide are really needed in your d. Summary ......................................................................page 20 The State uses RFP (Request for community. Shouldn’t that be enough for the State to give you money? Proposals) documents to solicit social service proposals from qualified The State uses the competitive RFP process to give every interested organizations. The RFP documents nonprofit an equal chance to get money for their programs. Through explain what type of programming is this process, nonprofits that submit proposals that best meet the being requested, required activities and services, applicant qualifications and State’s requirements are awarded contracts to fund their programs. other State requirements. This section describes the basic requirements, procedures and Complete proposal documents include documents that are part of this process. detailed descriptions of who will be served by the program, what services and activities will be included in the program, and how will the services be delivered and managed. The State requires that all nonprofits submitting proposals use a very specific budgeting format that includes budget forms and an expense coding system. Submitted proposals are evaluated by a review panel – a small group of experts assembled by the State to review and grade all proposals. PAGE 3 SECTION ONE: THE COMPETITIVE RFP PROCESS How the State Requests Proposals
  • SECTION ONE: THE COMPETITIVE RFP PROCESS a. Why the State Uses a Competitive Process The Division of Administration’s Office of Contract Review, reviews all proposed contracts to ensure that: State law requires State agencies to use a competitive process to • The proposed contracts comply with all State laws and regulations. award consulting and social service contracts to nongovernmental organizations. This requirement is established in State law (R.S. • Funding is available. 39:1503). • The proposed services are reasonable and advisable. The State agency requesting The purpose of the law was to create an equal chance for all This review process is required by State law. Only the Office of proposals to provide social interested organizations to compete for State consulting and social Contract Review can give final approval to contracts. Contracts are not services is responsible for: service contracts. There are some exceptions to this law, but a final until they have been reviewed and approved by the Division of significant portion of the consulting and social service contracts are • Developing the Request for Administration. awarded by the State of Louisiana through this competitive process. All Proposal (RFP) document – social service contracts over $150,000 must be awarded through the Recent Examples of Social Service RFPs describing what type of competitive process. The State has used the competitive RFP process to award a wide program/services the agency is looking to fund This book was developed to provide helpful information to small variety of social service contracts in recent years. To give you a sense nonprofits interested in contracting with the State to provide social of how broadly the State uses the RFP process to award these • Publishing and advertising service programs in their communities. The competitive process used contracts, here is a sampling of RFPs that have been developed by the RFP by the State to award these contracts is commonly called a Request State agencies recently: • Receiving proposals from for Proposals (RFP) process. Sometimes it is also referred to as a • Teen Pregnancy Prevention nonprofits request for applications. A more detailed explanation of the RFP Louisiana Department of Social Services • Evaluating and scoring the document and process is provided later in this section. September 2002 through September 2003 proposals received Two State agencies are involved when the RFP process is used to • After-School for All! • Awarding contracts to the winning award social service contracts. The first is the State agency (like the (Out-of-School Programming) proposals Department of Education, Department of Social Services, etc.) that is Louisiana Department of Education requesting proposals for a specific type of program (like After-school September 2002 through August 2003 • Developing service contract programs, Teen Pregnancy Prevention programs, etc.). The second documents for the winning State agency involved in the RFP process is the Louisiana Division of nonprofits and the State to sign Administration’s Office of Contract Review (OCR). PAGE 4 SECTION ONE: THE COMPETITIVE RFP PROCESS How the State Requests Proposals
  • SECTION ONE: THE COMPETITIVE RFP PROCESS • Home Instruction for Parents of Preschool Youngsters (HIPPY) b. What is a Request for Proposals (RFP) Louisiana Department of Education September 2002 through June 2003 At this point, you may be wondering – What exactly is a Request for Proposals (RFP) document? What information is included in these • Parenting/Fatherhood Initiative documents? Here are some answers. Louisiana Department of Social Services September 2002 through September 2003 Each Agency Develops its own RFPs Each State agency that uses the competitive RFP process is • Community Response Initiative responsible for developing its own RFP documents. The basic (Creative and Innovative Projects that Remove Barriers to Self-Sufficiency) elements of an RFP are fairly consistent from one State agency to Louisiana Department of Social Services another. However, the document formats and terminology will vary September 2002 through September 2003 somewhat from agency to agency and from RFP to RFP. The State Legislature and State agencies evaluate the need for specific As a result, it is necessary to read each RFP (of interest to you) programs constantly. Future decisions to issue specific social service carefully. You should not assume that the detailed explanations and RFPs will be subject to those needs evaluations and (of course) the requirements are the same from one RFP to another or from one availability of funds. State agency to another. These documents are continuously evolving as the demand for services changes, and as State agencies identify opportunities to improve the clarity and completeness of their RFP documents. The RFPs will include a table of contents that lists each element included in the RFP. Here is a list of items that are commonly found in State RFPs: • Notice to Proposers • Overview • Schedule of Events • Need for the Program • Application [Proposal] Guidelines PAGE 5 SECTION ONE: THE COMPETITIVE RFP PROCESS How the State Requests Proposals
  • SECTION ONE: THE COMPETITIVE RFP PROCESS • Instructions for Completing the Narrative proposer’s conference. Here is a sample Schedule of Events from a (Abstract, Need for the Project, Experience and Capacity of Applicant to recent Parenting/Fatherhood Initiative RFP: Provide Services, Program Design, Implementation Plan, Program Outcomes, Budget) • Instructions for Completing the Budget SCHEDULE OF EVENTS The summary information in the • Application [Proposal] Checklist This Request for Proposals package contains all of the information and front part of State RFPs is critical • Board Resolution Form forms necessary to complete and submit a proposal to provide for you to read carefully. It will help communities with funding opportunities through TANF. Proposals should • Attachments develop and implement initiatives to assist low-income fathers with you answer these important first (Budget Forms, Scoring Rubric) employment skills, life skills, parenting and other skills to enable their questions: ability to provide financial and emotional support for their children. A detailed description of each of these items follows. Proposers are encouraged to review the package in detail prior to • Should we consider writing a beginning to prepare the proposal. proposal to respond to this RFP? Notice to Proposers The Notice to Proposers is a short declaration that officially announces Activity Date • Is it a good fit with our mission, experience and capacity? the solicitation of proposals from qualified proposers. This notice can 1. Requests for Proposals ...................................... August 21, 2002 also include a summary of instructions, deadlines, restrictions and There is no point in reading the 2. Proposers Conference ........................................ August 29, 2002 requirements. RFP any further if the fit is not 3. Deadline to Receive Questions .......................... August 30, 2002 right or if you can not meet the Overview 4. Questions/Answers Posted on Website................ September 3, 2002 basic requirements of the RFP. The Overview is a short (1 or 2 page) summary description of the specific type of service being requested. The Overview will often 5. Proposals Submittal Date .................................. September 9, 2002 summarize the general purpose of the service, a target population, 6. Proposal Review Committee Meets .................... September 11, 2002 essential service components or activities, total amount of funding 7. Approved Recommendations Submitted available and additional instructions and requirements. to the Secretary .................................................. September 13, 2002 Schedule of Events 8. Successful/Unsuccessful The Schedule of Events is a list of the important events and deadlines Candidates Notified ............................................ September 13, 2002 for that particular RFP. Usually, the schedules include a deadline for 9. Contracts Start Date .......................................... September 30, 2002 asking questions regarding the RFP document, a final due date and time deadline for receipt of proposals and the time and location of a PAGE 6 SECTION ONE: THE COMPETITIVE RFP PROCESS How the State Requests Proposals
  • SECTION ONE: THE COMPETITIVE RFP PROCESS Be realistic – make sure you can meet the schedule demands of the Application [Proposal] Guidelines RFP. If you can not meet those demands, your time would be better All State RFPS contain some type of instructions or guidelines for spent pursuing other funding opportunities. completing the RFP. This section of the RFP could be called a variety Need for the Program of names, including Minimum Qualifications, Minimum Requirements, The proposing State agency will describe the specific community Application Guidelines, etc. These guidelines are designed to help problem(s) that could be addressed through the type of service they potential proposers (like you) decide if this funding opportunity is a Use the Schedule of Events... are planning to fund through the RFP. This section of the RFP could be good fit with your organization’s expertise and capacity. The list of to identify important dates and guideline issues will vary somewhat from one RFP to another. Here called a variety of names, including Need for the Program, Overview, develop your own schedule of are some examples of common issues addressed in this section: Purpose, etc. Regardless of the title, this section will include the activities necessary to respond to the RFP. Two important dates you following types of information: • What is the Purpose of the Program? will want to include in your own Provides a summary description of the agency’s purpose and general • Defined community problem(s) schedule are: intentions regarding funding nonprofits to provide this type of program. • Potential community benefits of the proposed service 1. The deadline to receive questions •Demonstrated Need • Proposer qualifications Describes the kind of specific written evidence the agency wants to see 2. The date of the proposers in your proposal that defines and supports the need for this program conference (if one is scheduled) • Client eligibility definitions and restrictions in your community. • Recommended approaches to designing your proposed program • How Much Money for Contracts is Available? • Research evidence that supports this type of programming Defines the total amount of money available to award to nonprofits from this particular RFP. The funding period is also defined here and typically • Research results that identify “best practices” for this type of program the specific source of the funds is disclosed also. In other words, this section of the RFP summarizes why the program • Who is Eligible to Apply? is needed, generally how it would work and what benefits it could Defines specific eligibility criteria for proposers. This part of the RFP also Your proposed service design provide to the community. lists additional criteria that is encouraged or preferred by the agency should be consistent with the requesting proposals. information found in the Need for • What Activities are Required? Program section of the RFP. For Defines any required program activities. Also may describe additional example: your design should program-related information that the agency is requesting or requiring in include any identified, required your proposal – like specific curriculums, service components, best service elements and target a practices, etc. population of clients that match the described client eligibility definitions and restrictions. PAGE 7 SECTION ONE: THE COMPETITIVE RFP PROCESS How the State Requests Proposals
  • SECTION ONE: THE COMPETITIVE RFP PROCESS • How Will Agencies [Nonprofits] Receive Funds? Instructions for Completing the Narrative Describes in general how nonprofits with winning proposals will be This Instructions for Completing the Narrative part of the RFP lists and notified, contracted and paid for the program services they provide. defines all the required elements that must be included in your • What Kind of Things is the Department [Government Agency] Looking proposal. This is an extremely important section of the RFP. If your for in this Project? proposal does not include all of the required elements it will not be Emphasizes preferred program activities or methods that the agency considered. This part of the RFP also provides instructions that tell you Your program proposal must would like to see built into the design of your proposed program. how to present each of the required elements in your proposal. include any required activities Describes recommended approaches for you to use in the design and described in the RFP. development of your proposal. This part of the RFP may also refer you to As stated earlier, each State RFP is different and unique. The required Recommended (but not required) other resources (including specific websites) that may be helpful to you elements may differ somewhat from RFP to RFP, and the descriptions activities should also be given as you create the design of your proposed program. of the required elements will also vary slightly (so, read each one serious consideration to be carefully). However, there are 7 commonly found required elements in included in your proposal’s service • Will there be an Opportunity to Ask Questions Regarding this Proposal [RFP]? State RFPs. They include: design. Ignoring these described activities in your program design Describes any opportunity to submit written questions you may have Abstract – The abstract (or summary) is a brief summary of your entire may eliminate your proposal from about the RFP. Also, if a conference for potential proposers will be held to proposal. It is a quick explanation of your proposal including summary consideration by the agency. address questions and provide additional information regarding the RFP, descriptions of: the location, date and time for the conference will be provided here. • Who you are (your organization) - Brief description and history — include mission and type of organization (nonprofit, CBO, etc.) • What you propose to do (your program) - Included client services and activities Proposer’s Conference • How you will do it (your implementation plan) - Describe target population and how many you will serve The Proposers Conference is a - How outcomes will be measured great opportunity for you to ask - Budget total of requested funds questions about the RFP, interact with key contacts from the government agency issuing the RFP, and to hear questions presented by the other proposers. PAGE 8 SECTION ONE: THE COMPETITIVE RFP PROCESS How the State Requests Proposals
  • SECTION ONE: THE COMPETITIVE RFP PROCESS Need for the Project – In your proposal, your need statement describes the • Describe the facilities, equipment, community partnerships and all problem(s) your program is designed to address. It should educate the other resources you will utilize to deliver your program services. Explain reader about how serious the problem is in your community. Making a how these resources meet all of your requirements for effective strong case that need exists in your community requires hard, accurate and implementation of your program. up-to-date data from credible sources. Important items to include: • Provide evidence that you have the capacity to plan and implement a sound program within the contract timeframe (funding period). • Define the specific needs in your community that your proposed program is designed to address • Identify the staff resources that you will use to deliver client services. Define relevant staff credentials, expertise and experience for all key • Provide data and information (from surveys and evaluations) that personnel. Explain how they are instrumental to your success. serves as hard evidence that those specific needs exist in your community (general data, like the statewide poverty rate, is not • Explain how staff training and development will be provided to ensure sufficient – evidence must be specific to your community) all staff is qualified to perform service delivery. • Describe the population you are targeting for your program services • Identify the staff resources that you will use to administer and manage using demographic and economic descriptors in your area (age, this program. Define relevant staff credentials, expertise and experience gender, marital status, parental status, income, employment status, for all key personnel. Explain how they are instrumental to your education level, geographic coverage area, etc.) success. • Explain how the services in your proposed program will respond to the • Describe how the program will be managed and monitored to ensure community needs you have identified proper implementation and quality results Experience and Capacity of Applicant to Provide Services – This element of Program Design – Your program design is where you define who your your proposal is where you have the opportunity to convince the reviewers program is designed to help, what specific services and activities are that your organization is capable of successfully implementing the program included, and the goals you hope to achieve through the program. you are proposing. Important items to include: Important items to include: • Describe your organization’s relevant experience providing the services included in your proposed program. WHO • Describe your organization’s relevant experience working with your • Describe the population you are targeting for your program services defined target population. using demographic and economic descriptors (age, gender, marital status, parental status, income, employment status, education level, • List all relevant current or past services provided to your community geographic coverage area, etc.). Define how you will determine and provide documentation that demonstrates how those services have eligibility for your program’s services and define the number of people benefited the people that have received those services. you intend to serve. PAGE 9 SECTION ONE: THE COMPETITIVE RFP PROCESS How the State Requests Proposals
  • SECTION ONE: THE COMPETITIVE RFP PROCESS Implementation Plan – Your implementation plan is where you present your WHAT program timeline and calendar, define the marketing and recruiting tactics you plan to use to attract participants and explain how your program will be • List the general goals and the specific measurable objectives of your managed. Important items to include: program. • Provide a general timeline for implementation of your program’s activities • Outline all services and activities that you will include in your program and services – identifying when each will begin and end during the to meet the program’s goals and objectives. Shaky Referrals contract period. Relying heavily on outside referrals • Provide a detailed schedule of specific service activities, such as monthly to supply your program calendars identifying what services are provided on each day in a month. Define specific times of the day when services will be delivered. participants is risky. To limit this HOW risk, develop referral agreements • Describe how you will market your program services to the community, with potential referral sources • Explain how the outlined services and activities will meet the especially the target population (for example – flyers, radio, TV, public ahead of time. These agreements program’s goals and objectives. service announcements, etc). should include a well-defined •Describe clearly how you determined what services and activities • Define specific recruiting activities you will utilize to attract and enroll process for making the referrals should be included in your program. Provide evidence that your program participants (for example – making in-person presentations to proposed services and activities can effectively achieve your program and assignments of responsibility. objectives (research reports, case studies, relevant statistical results, potential student participants and their parents, soliciting referrals from etc). In other words, demonstrate that your program design is based other local community agencies, etc.) on sound principles and proven results. • Define a backup plan you will use if your initial marketing efforts and • Explain how you determined that your defined target population needs recruiting efforts are not successful. and wants to utilize your proposed program services. Provide relevant evidence of your research. • Describe your plans to address any significant decrease in participation. • Describe any linkages or partnerships with other organizations and/or • Define your program management plan including: existing community resources that you will utilize to leverage the existing strengths of the community. • How will you determine eligibility and conduct intake? • How will you monitor program activities? • How will you conduct data collection and results reporting to ensure progress towards your defined objectives? • How will you collaborate with your program partners (other community organizations, governmental entities, etc.) to efficiently implement your services. PAGE 10 SECTION ONE: THE COMPETITIVE RFP PROCESS How the State Requests Proposals
  • SECTION ONE: THE COMPETITIVE RFP PROCESS Program Outcomes – The program outcomes section of your proposal is • Describe your data analysis process: where you present a complete set of performance measures (indicators) • What needs to be done to the collected data to turn it into useful that you will use to measure the success of your program and describe the information? basic processes and procedures for collecting, analyzing and reporting your performance data. Important items include: • What special technology (such as software) and skills are necessary to properly analyze and store the data? • Provide a list of performance measures – specific (quantifiable in Before selecting your program • Describe your results reporting process: numbers) outputs and outcomes that will be tracked by your organization performance measures it is throughout the contract period to measure the success of your program: • What results reports will be produced from the analyzed data? critically important to check your ability and capacity to collect and • Outputs are defined as the number or volume of things produced by • How often will each report be produced? analyze the data you will need. the program (number of client contact hours, number of clients • Who will receive these reports (board, funder, etc.)? Make sure you have the enrolled in a particular activity, etc.). technology, expertise and any Budget – Your proposed budget is where you state the amount of money • Outcomes are defined as the benefits or positive changes that are you are requesting for your program and explain how you are going to other required resources before achieved by the program participants (percentage of clients that gain spend that money. you commit to specific measures. employment, percentage of students that improve their math grades, etc.). In evaluating your budget request, the State will consider the reasonableness of the budget given your described scope of services and Be careful to select measures that are realistic and attainable given the size the size of your program (numbers of individuals to be served and the and scope of your program. service area). Additional considerations include: • Explain the connection between your performance measures and your • Are your personnel costs in line with nature of program services? program’s goals and objectives. In other words, explain how your • Are your administrative costs equal to or less than 10% of the total You are encouraged to visit the State performance measures tell you that your goals and objectives are being budget request (the State uses a 10% administrative cap for some of Louisiana’s Office of Planning and achieved. contracted social services)? Budget (OPB) website at • Describe your data collection processes: http://www.doa.state.la.us/oph/pub/ • Does your organization have the capacity and experience to successfully • What specific data will be collected? implement the size program proposed? pub.html for resources related to performance measurement. The • What is the source of that data? • Does the budget section of your proposal follow the RFP’s specific budget OPB “Manageware” publication completion instructions, including providing the required level of expense • What methods will be used to collect the data – when will it be provides considerable information detail and utilization of required budget forms? (Both of these issues are collected and how? that can assist in developing discussed further in this section) performance measures. PAGE 11 SECTION ONE: THE COMPETITIVE RFP PROCESS How the State Requests Proposals
  • SECTION ONE: THE COMPETITIVE RFP PROCESS Instructions for Completing the Budget The Instructions for Completing the Budget part of the RFP provides BOARD RESOLUTION FOR STATE CONTRACT PROVIDERS instructions about how to develop your proposed State of Louisiana program budget. The State requires use of specific forms and budget codes. The State also requires proposal budgets that separate Parish of Caddo administrative costs from non-administrative costs. On the 5th day of June , 2003 , at a meeting of the Board of Audit Requirements Application [Proposal] Checklist Directors of XYZ Nonprofit , with a quorum of the directors present, If an applicant receives more than The Application Checklist section of the RFP is a bullet list of all the following business was conducted: required information that needs to be included as part of your $300,000 in Federal funds within It was duly moved and seconded that the following resolution be adopted: proposal document. This is another very valuable list that you can use a single fiscal year, the applicant to make sure your proposal document is complete! BE IT RESOLVED that the Board of Directors of the above corporation does must budget for an audit and have hereby authorize John Doe (name and title) and his/her one performed. Many, but not all State RFPs include an application checklist section. If successor in office to negotiate terms and conditions that he/she may you plan to respond to a State RFP that does not include a deem advisable, contract(s) with the Louisiana Department of Social checklist – make your own. As you read through the RFP start your Services, and to bind this organization to execute said documents on behalf own list of required information that needs to be included as part of of the corporation, and further we do hereby give him/her the power and your proposal. authority to do all things necessary to implement, maintain, and/or review said documents. The above resolution was passed by a majority of those Board Resolution Form present and voting in accordance with the by-laws and articles of The State requires a signed board resolution authorizing someone in incorporation. your organization to represent your organization. Some RFPs will include a sample board resolution form (titled – Board Resolution for I certify that the above and foregoing constitutes a true and correct copy of a part of the minutes of the meeting of the Board of State Contract Providers). This signed document gives the State Directors of XYZ Nonprofit held on the 5th day of June , 2003 Budget Instructions written proof that your organization has authorized a person to enter into a contract agreement — and if you are selected for a contract, this Jane Doe Following the specific budget Secretary document becomes a required element of your contract package. instructions in the RFP, develop You can use this form to document your board’s resolution to June 6, 2003 the budget section of your Date authorize a specific person/position in your organization to negotiate proposal document to clearly contract terms and conditions with the State and bind your articulate and detail how you plan organization to the contract terms agreed upon with the State. Here is A blank copy of this form can be found in the Forms Appendix. A to spend the money you are a completed sample of the Board Resolution form: sample board resolution form can also be found at requesting for your program. www.state.la.us/ocr.htm PAGE 12 SECTION ONE: THE COMPETITIVE RFP PROCESS How the State Requests Proposals
  • SECTION ONE: THE COMPETITIVE RFP PROCESS Attachments Budget Forms – There are two budget forms that the State has developed Some State RFPs will include one or more attachments that request for social service contract proposals – the Budget Summary Form and the important additional information relevant to the RFP process. Two Budget Detail Form. A completed sample of a Budget Summary Form is important attachments that you will find in State RFPs are the Budget provided here: Forms and the Scoring Rubric to be used for selection of successful A blank copy of this form can be found in the Forms Appendix. proposals. Both are described in more detail here. BUDGET SUMMARY FORM Name of Eligible XYZ Nonprofit Organization Street Address 1 123 Fourth Street Street Address 2 City, State and Zip Yourtown, Louisiana 70888 Program After School Program Fiscal Year 2003-2004 Source of Funds: state line item OBJECT EXPENDITURE CATEGORY ADMINISTRATIVE NON- CODE AMOUNT ADMINISTRATIVE AMOUNT 100 Salaries $6,250.00 $2,250.00 200 Employee Benefits $1,190.00 $560.00 300 Purchased Professional and Technical services $0 $82,100.00 400 Purchased Property Services $0 $825.00 500 Other Purchased Services $750.00 $18,800.00 600 Supplies $0 $55,000.00 Subtotal - Operating Budget $8,190.00 $159,535.00 700 Other $0 $0 GRAND TOTAL $8,190.00 $159,535.00 PAGE 13 SECTION ONE: THE COMPETITIVE RFP PROCESS How the State Requests Proposals
  • SECTION ONE: THE COMPETITIVE RFP PROCESS As you can see from the completed sample form, the State requires Even when it is not required, dividing your costs into administrative that you divide your expenditures into administrative and non- and non-administrative amounts is a good way to show that your administrative amounts. As a general rule, you want to keep your administrative costs are reasonable. administrative costs at 10% or less of your total program budget. As you can see from the preceding completed Budget Summary Form, Foundations and government agencies (including the State) do not like the State also requires that you categorize your budget expenditures to see social service proposals with a high percentage of using the following set of object codes. Here is a description of what If you are seeking State TANF* administrative costs. What are administrative and non-administrative kinds of specific expenses could be included in each object code: funds for your program, the costs? Here are some State guidelines: following are not generally 100 – Salaries Administrative Costs • Total amount of salaries, wages, stipends, etc. to be paid to program considered allowable costs under • General administration or coordination of program, including accounting personnel TANF, even if they are related to and payroll functions program operations: • Be sure to include salaries as they relate to the proposed program. For • Salaries and indirect costs associated with performing administrative example, an executive director may also have responsibilities in other • Purchase of vehicles functions programs or services you offer. In this case include only that portion of • Renovation, construction or • Supplies, equipment, travel, postage, utilities and office space related to the executive director’s total salary that equals the amount of time that purchase of a building used for the administration of the program will be spent on this program. program operations • Activities related to eligibility determinations 200 – Employee Benefits • Payment of bad debts or interest • Preparation of program plan, budget and schedules • Total amount of appropriate employee benefits for program personnel. payments as a result of credit • Program monitoring 300 – Purchased Professional and Technical Services agreements • Total amount of professional and technical services including banking Non-Administrative Costs • Medical services services, data processing, software licenses when purchased as part of • Direct cost of providing program services including client activities, the contract from the vendor or contractor, etc. • Purchase of alcohol assessment, case management, etc. 400 – Purchased Property Services • Salaries and indirect costs associated with performing services functions • Total amount of property services including custodial services, lawn care * TANF: Temporary Assistance for • Supplies, equipment, travel, postage, utilities and office space related to repairs, cleaning services, rentals, repairs, lease and maintenance, Needy Families the performing of services functions vehicle maintenance, renovations and internet wiring (contracted with an outside vendor), etc. • Evaluations and audits of services functions • Technology/management information systems not related to payroll, personnel or other administrative functions PAGE 14 SECTION ONE: THE COMPETITIVE RFP PROCESS How the State Requests Proposals
  • SECTION ONE: THE COMPETITIVE RFP PROCESS 500 – Other Purchased Services 700 – Other • Total amount of other purchased services including postage, telephone, • Total cost of all other necessary goods and services not included in the printing, transportation, field trips, lodging, etc. other line items 600 – Supplies Your completed Budget Summary Form will identify only the total • Total amount of program supplies including instructional materials amounts of money you are requesting for each of the listed object codes (software), informational materials, reference books, binding and repairs, (100 – 700), and the total budget amount you are requesting. The food (when purchased from outside vendor), energy, office supplies of summary form does not include any detail to explain the $ totals for each Provide the Details an expendable nature, etc. object code. The following is a completed sample of the Budget Detail The Budget Detail Form can be Form. A blank copy of this form can be found in the Forms Appendix. used to provide a breakdown of the object code totals you Name of Eligible XYZ Nonprofit Organization BUDGET DETAIL FORM provided in your Budget Summary Street Address 1 123 Fourth Street Form. Street Address 2 Program After School City, State and Zip Yourtown, Louisiana 70888 Program Fiscal Year 2003-2004 Source of Funds: state line item Object Expenditure Category Administrative Non- Code Administrative Amount 100 Program Director-Responsible for coordination, outreach curriculum design, and program oversight (1hr/day X 5days/wk X 48week/Yr) $4,750.00 $2,250.00 100 Program Bookkeeper-Responsible for financial record keeping of program activities($15/hr X 2 hrs/wk X 50 wks/Yr) $1,500.00 200 Employee Benefits- Benefits for Program Director and Program Bookkeeper including Social Security, Worker's Comp and Health Insurance $1,190.00 $560.00 300 Staff Counselor- performs counseling services to students and parents $20hr X 1,100 hours) $22,000.00 PAGE 15 SECTION ONE: THE COMPETITIVE RFP PROCESS How the State Requests Proposals
  • SECTION ONE: THE COMPETITIVE RFP PROCESS Some State RFPs will not include a Budget Detail Form. Instead, you 400 – Purchased Property Services will be asked to provide a budget narrative in addition to the Budget Describe a breakdown of services to be provided by persons other than Summary Form. As a practical matter, your budget narrative should your employees. Examples of items in this category include custodial include the same type of detailed information that is required on the services, lawn care repairs, cleaning services, rentals, repairs, lease and Budget Detail Form – you just will not have the form to use. Here are maintenance, vehicle maintenance, renovations when contracted with general instructions for completing your budget detail (form or outside vendor, etc. Internet wiring contracted to an outside vendor should Provide the Details narrative). be budgeted in this category. The clarity and completeness of 100 – Salaries 500 – Other Purchased Services your budget narrative will be critical Describe the detail of how the total amount of salaries, wages, stipends, Describe a breakdown and a detailed description of all the following cost to the reviewers as they evaluate sabbaticals, etc., to be paid to program personnel. Give length of items: postage, telephone, printing, cablevision, operational allowance for the reasonableness of your budget employment, number of months (weeks, hours) to be paid, and amount per bus drivers, subscriptions, transportation, field trips including food request. A good budget narrative month (week, hour). For new positions, list the names and/or titles of purchases, lodging, subsistence, registration fees, amount paid for describes clearly how the money employees; give a brief job description of each. Salaries must be in line workshops, in-services (e.g., food, rental of room, other charges associated will be spent and shows the with those in similar positions within the community. with workshops purchased from the same vendor) and related items reviewers that you have given incurred by employees who are traveling on official business for the 200 – Employee Benefits careful and detailed thought to the program. (Note: Individual membership to a professional organization is not Describe the detail of the total amount of appropriate employee benefits for design of your program costs. reimbursable. Only an organization may be reimbursed for any professional program personnel. Benefits must be subdivided by type (e.g. social dues and memberships.) security, unemployment compensation, etc.) and a breakdown of rates charged identified by type. (Note: For contractual employees, you should 600 – Supplies obtain a ruling from the Internal Revenue Service regarding fringe benefits.) Describe a breakdown and a detailed description of all the following cost items: reference books, binding and repairs, food (when purchased from 300 – Purchased Professional and Technical Services outside vendor), energy, office supplies of an expendable nature, etc. Describe a breakdown of services to be rendered, all related expenses Instructional materials (software) and informational materials are also covered by the contract, the number of days or hours and rate per hour or included. day. Examples of items included (but not limited to) in this category are banking services, data processing, software licenses when purchased as 700 – Other part of the contract from the vendor or contractor, etc. (Budget any required Describe a breakdown and a detailed description of all other goods and audit services under this object code. If your organization receives a total of services not otherwise classified in categories 100 – 600. $300,000 or more in Federal funds within a single fiscal year, you must Even though the State’s general requirements for program budgets do budget for an audit and have one performed.) PAGE 16 SECTION ONE: THE COMPETITIVE RFP PROCESS How the State Requests Proposals
  • SECTION ONE: THE COMPETITIVE RFP PROCESS not change, specific instructions may vary from State agency to State sample of the scoring rubric included in a recent Request for agency and from RFP to RFP. Each State agency prepares its own Proposals issued by the Louisiana Department of Social Services for RFPs and you could find some slight variations in the budget their Parenting/Fatherhood Initiative. guidelines and instructions. Therefore, it is important that you identify and follow the specific instructions, guidelines and requirements included in each RFP. SCORING RUBRIC Scoring Rubric – the scoring rubric is a detailed score sheet that is Total Points Possible = 100 Points used by a review panel to evaluate the proposals. This panel is a Need for the Project: 15 possible points qualified group of people selected by the State to review and score (grade) each completed proposal received as a result of the RFP. The Possible Points Points Awarded scoring process determines the winning proposals and the rejected proposals. Applicant describes demographics and economics of fathers targeted for service The scoring rubric is another extremely important document that you and number of individuals to be served. 3 can use to: Applicant describes how proposed project • Evaluate the fit between your organization and the RFP. Does this type of will address the identified need. 3 program fit with your mission, vision and strategic goals? Applicant describes in detail the specific • Determine if your organization can comply with all the requirements needs of the fathers in the community. 3 listed in the scoring rubric. Can your program and your proposal Applicant provides strong evidence that document meet the demands of the scoring rubric? fathers would participate in proposed service. 3 • Outline your proposal document to include all items and issues listed in Applicant provides evidence that the identified the scoring rubric. need exists based on research, surveys or other types of reliable data. 3 • Check your proposal document to make sure you have adequately Total 15 addressed all the requirements listed in the scoring rubric. The rubric lists all items that will be graded and tells you how many The preceding section of this scoring rubric sample addresses the possible points you can earn (on your score) for each item. Reviewing Need for the Project element of your proposal. This information tells the scoring rubric before you start spending a lot of time on the you specifically what Need for the Project information the State is development of a proposal is a wise investment. Here is a partial looking for in your proposal. PAGE 17 SECTION ONE: THE COMPETITIVE RFP PROCESS How the State Requests Proposals
  • SECTION ONE: THE COMPETITIVE RFP PROCESS For example: the 3rd statement in that section says - Applicant This section of the scoring rubric sample addresses the Program describes in detail the specific needs of the fathers in the community. Design element of your proposal. The statements in this section tell Your proposal can earn 3 points by clearly identifying and explaining you exactly what the State is looking for in your program design. the specific needs of the fathers you will be targeting for your program services. You will need to provide credible evidence (data) that the For example: the 1st statement in this section says — Applicant has fathers you intend to serve in your community have those specific clearly identified goals and outcomes that are related to the needs of needs that you identify. Providing local data/evidence is crucial to the fathers. Your proposal can earn 5 points by clearly defining Ignoring the Scoring Rubic demonstrating the need — State, regional or national data is not specific goals and outcomes for your program that address the Do not ignore the scoring rubic. It sufficient. specific needs of your target population of fathers. To earn those tells you exactly what the State points you must make solid connections between the needs you expects from your proposal Program Design: 25 possible points identified and your program’s goals and outcomes. Let’s assume one document. You can use the of the needs you identified is employment. An example of a program Possible Points goal connected to that need would be for participating fathers to scoring rubic as a final checklist Points Awarded to evaluate your proposal complete a Job Readiness Program. Applicant has clearly identified goals document. The scoring rubric is used to grade each submitted proposal and and outcomes that are related to the needs of fathers. 5 Applicant has clearly described the proposed service to determine the winners. The higher your grade, the better your chances include geographic area to be served, targeted population of being funded. and identified the number of individuals to be served. 5 In addition to using the rubric before you start writing a proposal, use Applicant describes the activities with necessary program the scoring rubric as a final checklist to evaluate your completed components that will be performed in order to meet stated goals and outcomes. 5 proposal before you submit it to the State. The key is to be tough and honest in evaluating your own proposal. Going through this exercise Applicant describes clearly how the proposed service delivery shall be utilized by the targeted population. 3 gives you one last chance to make your proposal as complete and clear as possible. Applicant is able to leverage existing community and state resources, specifically legal aid and child support When evaluating your proposal documents, make sure they are enforcement services. 5 written in plain language. Avoid complex, technical language and Applicant’s proposed service is creative, innovative, program-specific terminology (lingo). You should not assume that the based on best practices and maximizes flexibility. 2 reviewers of your proposal are familiar with the lingo commonly used Total 25 in your program areas. PAGE 18 SECTION ONE: THE COMPETITIVE RFP PROCESS How the State Requests Proposals
  • SECTION ONE: THE COMPETITIVE RFP PROCESS Finally, here are some basic Do’s and Don’t’s that can help you c. How to Find State RFPs develop better proposal documents. How do you know when a State agency puts out a Request for Proposals (RFP)? State law requires adequate public notice of the DO Request for Proposals (RFP), including: Ask for enough funding, based on what the grant provides or recommends. • Advertising in the official journal of the State, The Advocate (newspaper), Use the Resources Appendix at least 14 days before the last day that proposals will be accepted. Write clearly for the reviewers. Use headers, and short sentences and State agency websites and other paragraphs. • Advertising in one or more newspapers of general circulation in the State contact information can be found at least 14 days before the last day that proposals will be accepted (if Have someone else (someone not involved in the process) in the Resources Appendix in the read your grant. services are to be performed in or made available to residents of a back of this book. multi-parish area). Provide a budget for each year for the amount you are requesting from the funder. Be careful to review any matching requirements and make • Written notice mailed to persons, firms or corporations who are known to sure you can meet them. If budget forms are required, make sure you fill be in a position to furnish such services, at least 14 days before the last them out completely. Check your addition! day that proposals will be accepted. Some State agencies may keep a Sign your original application in blue ink and submit enough copies. mailing list of providers for this purpose. You can ask to be placed on those relevant lists. DON’T It is also quite common for State agencies to publish their RFPs on their websites. Finally, you could also contact State agencies to inquire Don’t ask for an exorbitant amount of funding especially if you are seeking funding for only one site. about any potential RFPs that they intend to publish in the foreseeable future. Some common times when State RFPs are released are right Don’t assume that the readers know anything in advance about your before and right after the State fiscal year begins – July 1st. community or program. Don’t rely on computer spell-checks and grammar-checks. They do not find all the errors. Proofread the proposal! Don’t assume the readers will know what you meant to say if you make a mistake. If you mistakenly ask for less money than your budget details, you may be awarded only the lower amount. Don’t submit additional material after you have already sent in your application. It may not be considered in the review process. PAGE 19 SECTION ONE: THE COMPETITIVE RFP PROCESS How the State Requests Proposals
  • SECTION ONE: THE COMPETITIVE RFP PROCESS d. In Summary – The Competitive RFP Process The State uses the competitive RFP to give every interested nonprofit an equal chance to gain funding for their programs. It is a fair process that allows the State to fully utilize the creative talents of many nonprofits located in communities throughout Louisiana. Each State agency that contracts for the delivery of social services will develop and publish its own Request for Proposal (RFP) documents. These RFPs can run 10 to 20+ pages in length. Even though these RFPs will vary somewhat in terminology and detail, they tend to utilize a common content design that includes: • General information about the social need and the programming targeted by the RFP (Teen Pregnancy Prevention, After-school, Parenting/Fatherhood, etc.) • Specific information about that particular RFP process (notice to proposers, application guidelines, schedule of events, etc.) • Instructions for completing your application (proposal), including guidelines and requirements that describe what the State expects to be included in your program • Useful tools to use in completing your application (budget forms, resource references, scoring rubric, etc.) You can maximize your opportunity to receive funding through this process by carefully and completely reading each RFP that interests your organization, making sure your organization is a good fit for the project, and following the instructions and guidelines provided in each individual RFP. PAGE 20 SECTION ONE: THE COMPETITIVE RFP PROCESS How the State Requests Proposals
  • SECTION TWO: CONTRACTING WITH THE STATE
  • SECTION TWO: CONTRACTING WITH THE STATE Overview CONTENTS OF THIS SECTION The State will enter into social service contracts with nonprofits that a. Basic Contract Elements ........................................page 24 are judged (through the competitive RFP process) to have winning program proposals. The State utilizes specific policies and procedures b. The Contracting Process ...................................... page 26 to design, approve and monitor implementation of these All State contracts include a Scope of competitively-awarded social service contracts. Services section that describes the c. The Billing/Invoicing Process............................page 35 specific goals and objectives of the This section provides information that can help you understand and contract, the services and activities comply with the State’s contracting requirements. that will be delivered, the performance d. The Contract Monitoring Process....................page 37 measures that will be used to evaluate achievement of goals, and a contract monitoring plan. e. Common Contract Problems to Avoid ..........page 39 The State utilizes an eight-step process to develop a final signed social service contract. This process involves f. Summary ......................................................................page 40 the nonprofit, the contracting State agency, outside State agencies (that may be required by law to review the contract) and the Louisiana Division of Administration’s Office of Contract Review (OCR). There are two common types of billing/invoicing processes used by the State to reimburse social service contracts. The first is the more traditional cost reimbursement process. This is a monthly process that reimburses approved program costs. The second commonly used billing process is the unit-cost reimbursement process. This is a monthly process that reimburses the program for actual units of service delivered. PAGE 23 SECTION TWO: CONTRACTING WITH THE STATE Basic Process and Requirements
  • SECTION TWO: CONTRACTING WITH THE STATE a. Basic Contract Elements Payment Terms All State contracts for social services include: The State has specific minimum language requirements for all social service contracts. Each State agency that enters into social service • A Maximum Fee – The total dollar amount that can be paid to the contracts with nonprofits must include the State’s minimum language contractor (your organization) under the contract. requirements and develop additional contract language specific to the • Payment Terms – A listing of the schedule of contract payments, the terms and conditions they negotiate with each nonprofit organization. Scope of Services conditions that must be met before payments are made and the The most significant additional contract language that will need to be documentation required for payments to be authorized and released. All State contracts for social service developed for your contract will be included in three sections of the Your itemized budget will also be included in this section of the contract. programs will include a Scope of contract. The first important section is the Scope of Services, the It is common for nonprofits to get paid less than the maximum fee Services section. Key elements of second is Payment Terms and the third is Term of Contract. A listed on their State contracts. There are three primary reasons why: your scope of services are: description of each important section follows. • Specific goals and objectives 1. Services Delivered were Less than Planned – Social service contracts with Scope of Services the State are performance-based contracts, not grants. Payments on the • Deliverables All State contracts for social service programs must include the contract are made based upon performance of contracted services and • Performance measures following information in the Scope of Services section of the contract: service volumes. If service units actually delivered under the contract are • Monitoring plan • Specific Goals and Objectives – A listing of the general goals and less than service units budgeted, you will receive payment only for those measurable objectives of your social service program. service units actually delivered. • Deliverables – A listing of your program activities and services, 2. Lack of Proper Documentation – The payment terms section of your including descriptions of your delivery schedule/calendar and planned contract will specify the documentation you will need to provide along client volume. with the payment invoices you send to the contracted State agency. Failure to provide proper documentation will result in denials of payment. • Performance Measures – A listing of the output and outcome indicators that you will use to collect and analyze data that will tell you how well 3. Failure to Meet Terms and Conditions of Contract – Inability to meet the your program is achieving its goals and objectives. performance standards and requirements of the contract can negatively impact payment amounts and can also serve as grounds for termination • Monitoring Plan – A description of the reports you will be required to of the contract. provide to the contracting State agency along with a schedule of when those reports will be due. May also include other contract monitoring It is critically important for you to understand and comply with the activities required by contracting State agencies, such as site visits, conditions and requirements included in the Payment Terms section of audits, etc. your State contracts. Actual payments made under a contract will PAGE 24 SECTION TWO: CONTRACTING WITH THE STATE Basic Process and Requirements
  • SECTION TWO: CONTRACTING WITH THE STATE depend on your compliance with the payment terms of the contract. Additional Minimum Language Requirements For example: If the payment terms of your contract call for a monthly The State’s minimum language requirements for contracts also unit-cost reimbursement, you will have to provide an invoice for include language related to the following topics: payment that includes required documentation of the number of • Taxes actual service units (e.g., # of enrolled clients, # of total client contact hours, etc.) for that month. The monthly amount you will be paid will • Termination for Cause Starting Early and Finishing Late be based upon the actual number of service units delivered times the • Termination for Convenience All services you deliver under the per-unit amount listed in the contract. • Remedies for Default contract must be provided within Term of Contract the beginning date and ending • Ownership All State contracts for social services include a Term of Contract date time frame listed on the • Nonassignability statement that describes the beginning date and the ending date of contract. Services provided before the contract period. • Auditors your beginning date or after your ending date are not reimbursable State law allows for social service contracts that are up to 3 years • Fiscal Funding under the contract. long. However, many of the State’s social service contracts are limited • Discrimination Clause to 1-year periods – this is especially true for social service contracts that rely upon federal dollars. All multi-year contracts issued by the These topics address restrictions (on the State and the contracting State are subject to the State’s Fiscal Funding Clause. This contract nonprofit) and directions that describe how various problems, changes, clause states that the continuation of the contract is contingent upon issues and other circumstances are to be handled. A blank copy of a the appropriation of funds to fulfill the requirements of the contract. contract sample State document is provided in the Forms Appendix. PAGE 25 SECTION TWO: CONTRACTING WITH THE STATE Basic Process and Requirements
  • SECTION TWO: CONTRACTING WITH THE STATE b. The Contracting Process What are the steps that must be completed before you receive a signed social service contract from the State? Here is a flowchart of the 8 steps in the contracting process: Reasonable Cost This competitive review process is not a low-bidder competition. Scoring rubrics consider the full START HERE scope of elements in your proposal. The reasonableness of your budget is only one of the STEP 1 Review Panel • Evaluates and Scores Proposals • Winning Proposals Identified many important scoring factors. Proposers should research typical STEP 2 Contracting State Agency • Completes Determination of Responsibility • Ability to Perform is Verified costs for their type of program to avoid presenting budget costs that STEP 3 Contracting State Agency and Nonprofit Organization • Negotiate Terms of Contract • Contract Language Finalized appear too high or too low. STEP 4 Contracting State Agency and Nonprofit Organization • Execute Contract • Authorized Persons Sign Contract STEP 5 Contracting State Agency • Completes Internal Review Process • Contract Document Ready for Outside Review STEP 6 Outside State Agencies • Complete Required Outside Reviews • Approvals from Relevant State Agencies Obtained STEP 7 Office of Contract Review (OCR) • Completes Final Contract Review • Contract is Now Valid STEP 8 Contracting State Agency • Receives Signed Originals of Contract from OCR • An Original is sent to the Nonprofit PAGE 26 SECTION TWO: CONTRACTING WITH THE STATE Basic Process and Requirements
  • SECTION TWO: CONTRACTING WITH THE STATE b. The First Step to the Contracting Process Review Panels STEP 1 STEP 2 STEP 3 STEP 4 STEP 5 STEP 6 STEP 7 STEP 8 The State selects qualified experts to serve on review panels that evaluate and score the proposals Review Panel submitted in response to an RFP. • Evaluates and Scores Proposals • Winning Proposals Identified As described in Section One of this book, the State Agency that put you respond to. A partial sample of a scoring rubric is provided in out the RFP creates review panels of qualified people to evaluate and Section One of this book. grade all valid proposals submitted through the competitive RFP Usually, proposals that receive the highest total scores are the winning process. The review panel uses a scoring rubric to grade all proposals. proposals. However, sometimes other factors are considered when A scoring rubric is a detailed score sheet. The scoring rubrics that selecting winning proposals. If any other factors will be considered, will be used to score your proposals may be included in the RFPs they will be presented and explained in the RFP. PAGE 27 SECTION TWO: CONTRACTING WITH THE STATE Basic Process and Requirements
  • SECTION TWO: CONTRACTING WITH THE STATE Good Standing STEP 1 STEP 2 STEP 3 STEP 4 STEP 5 STEP 6 STEP 7 STEP 8 All nonprofits that contract with the State must be in good standing with the Louisiana Contracting State Agency Secretary of State’s Office. See • Completes Determination of Responsibility the Resources Appendix for their website. • Ability to Perform is Verified The review panel will notify the contracting State agency of the winning • Has a satisfactory record of integrity, judgment and performance. and losing proposals. The State agency must then complete a Note: Contractors who are seriously delinquent in current contract determination of responsibility to verify that the nonprofits with the performance, considering the number of contracts and the extent winning proposals would be capable of fulfilling their contract of delinquencies of each, shall, in the absence of evidence to the responsibilities (as described in their proposals). A determination of contrary or compelling circumstances, be presumed to be unable responsibility includes the following: to fulfill this requirement. The winning non-profit organization: • Is otherwise qualified eligible to receive an award under applicable laws and regulations. • Has adequate financial resources for performance, or has the ability to obtain such resources as required during performance. Also, organizations must be in good standing with the Louisiana Secretary of State’s Office (you can check your status on their website • Has the necessary experience, organization, technical qualifications, - see Resources Appendix). Out-of-state organizations must be registered skills and facilities or has the ability to obtain them (including with the Secretary of State and provide a Certificate of Authority probable sub-contractor arrangements). issued by the Secretary of State. • Is able to comply with the proposed or required time of delivery or performance schedule. PAGE 28 SECTION TWO: CONTRACTING WITH THE STATE Basic Process and Requirements
  • SECTION TWO: CONTRACTING WITH THE STATE b. The Third Step to the Contracting Process Signing without reading You should never sign a contract STEP 1 STEP 2 STEP 3 STEP 4 STEP 5 STEP 6 STEP 7 STEP 8 without reading the whole document carefully. Ideally, the Contracting State Agency and Nonprofit Organization State agency and the nonprofit sit • Negotiate Terms of Contract down together and negotiate key terms (and language) of the • Contract Language Finalized contract. Typically, the State agency will create the first draft of a contract documents does not provide adequate levels of detail necessary to document by combining the State’s minimum language requirements clearly describe the contractual responsibilities and obligations of with specific contract terms described in the nonprofit organization’s the State and nonprofit organization. In those cases, any proposal proposal document. This first draft will be sent to the nonprofit document language that will be used in the contract document needs organization for review and signature. to be enhanced and/or clarified. Work with the contracting State agency to develop contract language that clearly states your specific Carefully review all terms and conditions defined in the draft document responsibilities and obligations (and the State’s) under the contract. before signing the contract. Sometimes language used in proposal PAGE 29 SECTION TWO: CONTRACTING WITH THE STATE Basic Process and Requirements
  • SECTION TWO: CONTRACTING WITH THE STATE b. The Fourth Step to the Contracting Process STEP 1 STEP 2 STEP 3 STEP 4 STEP 5 STEP 6 STEP 7 STEP 8 Contracting State Agency and Nonprofit Organization • Execute Contract • Authorized Persons Sign Contract After the contract language is finalized to the satisfaction of the State can be found in the Forms Appendix. agency and the nonprofit organization, the contract document is Other corporate documents that you are required to provide include: signed by authorized persons from both organizations. After you sign the contract, all signed originals must be returned to the contracting • W-9 Form State agency. • Articles of Incorporation The State requires a signed board resolution authorizing someone • IRS letter in your organization to represent your organization. Some RFPs will include a sample board resolution form (titled – Board Resolution for • Copy of your most recent audit or financial statement State Contract Providers). These documents are commonly requested as part of your proposal You can use this form to document your board’s resolution to authorize package. a specific person/position in your organization to negotiate contract terms and conditions with the State and bind your organization to the contract terms agreed upon with the State. A sample of this form PAGE 30 SECTION TWO: CONTRACTING WITH THE STATE Basic Process and Requirements
  • SECTION TWO: CONTRACTING WITH THE STATE b. The Fifth Step to the Contracting Process It Takes Time STEP 1 STEP 2 STEP 3 STEP 4 STEP 5 STEP 6 STEP 7 STEP 8 As you can see, the contracting process includes many steps and involves several organizations. To Contracting State Agency help the efficiency of this process, • Completes Internal Review Process you want to make sure that you provide everything the State needs • Contract Document Ready for Outside Review from your organization in a timely manner. Omissions and mistakes When the contracting State agency receives the signed originals from will create delays. your organization, that agency conducts a final internal review to ensure compliance with all agency policies and procedures related to social service contracts. The agency also must comply with all applicable State requirements and laws. PAGE 31 SECTION TWO: CONTRACTING WITH THE STATE Basic Process and Requirements
  • SECTION TWO: CONTRACTING WITH THE STATE b. The Sixth Step to the Contracting Process STEP 1 STEP 2 STEP 3 STEP 4 STEP 5 STEP 6 STEP 7 STEP 8 Outside State Agencies • Complete Required Outside Reviews • Approvals From Relevant State Agencies Obtained After completion of its final internal review, the contracting State not more appropriately delivered by current employees of State agency may be required to submit the signed contracts to one or government. more outside State agencies for their approval. For example: the The contracting State agency submits all contracts to the appropriate Department of State Civil Service is required to review many different outside agencies for review and approval. types of State contracts to certify that the work being contracted is PAGE 32 SECTION TWO: CONTRACTING WITH THE STATE Basic Process and Requirements
  • SECTION TWO: CONTRACTING WITH THE STATE b. The Seventh Step to the Contracting Process OCR Signature Required STEP 1 STEP 2 STEP 3 STEP 4 STEP 5 STEP 6 STEP 7 STEP 8 State contracts are not valid until they have been signed and approved by the Louisiana Division Office of Contract Review (OCR) of Administration’s Office of • Completes Final Contract Review Contract Review. • Contract is Now Valid The final review for all State contracts is provided by the Louisiana Division of Administration’s Office of Contract Review (OCR). The OCR reviews all contracts for completeness and for compliance with all statutory and regulatory requirements, including a verification that funding is available and determination that the competitive process was properly utilized. This final review process typically can be completed in 2 weeks or less. PAGE 33 SECTION TWO: CONTRACTING WITH THE STATE Basic Process and Requirements
  • SECTION TWO: CONTRACTING WITH THE STATE b. The Eighth Step to the Contracting Process Signed Original STEP 1 STEP 2 STEP 3 STEP 4 STEP 5 STEP 6 STEP 7 STEP 8 You will receive a signed original of the contract document from the contracting State agency after all Contracting State Agency required signatures have been • Receives Signed Originals of Contract From OCR affixed to the document. • An Original is Sent to the Nonprofit Organization After OCR completes its final review, the signed originals are sent to the contracting State agency. An original of the contract with a letter that grants approval is forwarded to the nonprofit organization. Payments for contract services can not be paid until OCR completes its final review, approves and signs the contract document. PAGE 34 SECTION TWO: CONTRACTING WITH THE STATE Basic Process and Requirements
  • SECTION TWO: CONTRACTING WITH THE STATE c. The Billing/Invoicing Process Here are a few additional tips to help you with the traditional cost reimbursement method of invoicing: The billing (or invoicing) process for your State social service contract • All items you are requesting reimbursement for, must be in your will be managed by a designated employee of the State agency. That approved program budget. person is called the contract monitor. Every State contract has a designated contract monitor that is responsible for monitoring the • Explain adequately the purpose for all reimbursable items – so the State Your monthly invoices should delivery of services and overseeing the billing/invoicing process used can easily match up each item on the invoice with a line item in your include only those expenses that to pay your organization for the services it is providing under the budget (for example: a receipt for purchased file folders – is that a were incurred during the specific contract. Billing and invoicing processes used can vary. Here are two program supplies expense or an administrative/office supply expense?) month of the invoice. For example, your January invoice should only types that are commonly used: • Make sure all invoices, receipts for payment and/or copies of your include costs that you incurred in 1. The traditional cost reimbursement invoicing process payment checks have legible dates on them. January. To be considered a January expense, the date of the 2. The unit-cost reimbursement invoicing process • Assemble your invoice package (invoice plus attached proof-of-payment payment receipt or the date of documentation) in a logical order. Attachments should be arranged in Both of these processes are described in more detail here. your payment check must be the same order that they appear on your monthly invoice document – so dated in January. Traditional Cost Reimbursement Invoicing Process proof-of-payment can easily be matched by the State to items on The traditional cost reimbursement process is a monthly process that your invoice. requires you to develop an invoice listing the program costs you • Review your invoice package for completeness and accuracy – mistakes incurred during a calendar month period. Copies of payroll records will delay payment to you. Check your numbers and your math. and payment receipts for all other program costs must be attached to the monthly invoice. The payroll records and payment receipts are • Be consistent. Once you have learned how to properly assemble a required proof-of-payment documents – without those attachments monthly invoice package, do it the same way each month. Call and Ask payments can not be made to you. If you are not sure if an item is The required format of the monthly invoice varies from State agency to reimbursable or you are uncertain State agency and from one contract monitor to another. Many contract about how to submit a specific item for reimbursement, ask for monitors have developed their own invoice forms. Discuss all the clarification and assistance from invoice format requirements with your contract monitor before you your contract monitor – before begin submitting your monthly invoices. submitting your invoice. This could help you avoid unnecessary delays in payment. PAGE 35 SECTION TWO: CONTRACTING WITH THE STATE Basic Process and Requirements
  • SECTION TWO: CONTRACTING WITH THE STATE Unit-cost reimbursement Invoicing Process Properly maintaining accurate, accessible financial records and In recent years, some State agencies have begun to encourage the managing the program budget can be a challenge for small nonprofit unit-cost reimbursement invoicing process for social service contracts. organizations. Both of these tasks deserve and require significant Instead of reimbursement based on monthly costs incurred, this attention and effort on a monthly basis. invoicing process is focused on the volume of service units provided Maintaining Financial Records each month. The most important thing is to insist on having documentation that Calculating Unit Cost for A unit-cost methodology means that you will take your total program explains each transaction of money coming into your nonprofit Your Program budget and divide that number by your total number of planned (income/revenue) and going out of your nonprofit Your Total Proposal Budget divided service units to arrive at a total cost per unit of service delivered. (purchases/expenditures). This documentation includes: by Your Total Number of Planned What are your service units? Service units can be any type of service Service Units Equals Your Total volume that can be measured. Here are two common examples: INCOME/REVENUE Cost Per Unit of Service. • # of client contact hours per month • Copies of invoices or statements that you send out to collect • # of clients enrolled/participating per month (participation would have to your money be defined and documented) • Copies of funding checks you receive from the State as payment for contracted services Nonprofits using the unit-cost reimbursement method are required to keep appropriate documentation of the actual service units provided. • Copies of your bank deposit slips For example, an After-School provider using student contact hours as their service units will need to keep attendance records for each State agencies using the unit-cost enrolled student. reimbursement method develop PURCHASES/EXPENDITURES program-specific reimbursement The total of all the invoices (combined) you send to the contracting • Copies of the invoices or bills you receive (and pay) for goods and forms that you are required to use agency can not exceed your contract (maximum amount) total. In services you purchase to request (monthly) other words, if you have a performance-based contract for a total of reimbursement under your $50,000 you can not submit invoices that total more than $50,000 • Your monthly bank statements and cancelled checks contract. Using these forms regardless of how many actual service units you deliver. When the • Copies of your credit card receipts and monthly statements properly will allow for smoother, unit-cost method is used, invoices for reimbursement of line items in • Copies of employee payroll checks (including stub describing any tax timelier reimbursement. your budget will not be accepted – all reimbursement to you under the and other deductions) contract will come through the unit-cost amounts. PAGE 36 SECTION TWO: CONTRACTING WITH THE STATE Basic Process and Requirements
  • SECTION TWO: CONTRACTING WITH THE STATE A common problem faced by small nonprofits is keeping the money d. The Contract Monitoring Process for different programs separated. Mixing the money together creates all sorts of problems when it is time to account for how you spent the Responsibility to oversee the performance of each State contract is money on a specific program. assigned to a selected employee of the contracting State agency. That person is called the contract monitor. The contract monitor oversees If your nonprofit has trouble keeping the money separated and you performance of the contract terms. have just a few different programs that need to be kept separate, here Mixing the Money is a possible solution – set up a separate checking account for each The contract monitor is guided by the following elements that are program. You can pay all of a program’s direct expenses out of the required for all State contracts: It is critically important that nonprofits have the ability to keep program account and you can write checks to your nonprofit’s general • Goals and Objectives – Goals describe the general purpose of the funds (and documentation) for checking account for that program’s portion of your nonprofit’s general contract and measurable objectives define more specific targets the one program separated from funds overhead expenses (like rent, utilities, etc.). contract is designed to achieve. for other programs. Managing the Program Budget • Performance Measures – The performance measures describe what Proper budget management requires a monthly comparison between specific indicators will be measured to determine if the contract goals your actual monthly revenue and expenses and your budgeted monthly and objectives are being achieved. revenue and expenses. This monthly review allows you to identify • Deliverables – A list of the specific contract services that will be delivered potential financial problems early – so you can begin to discuss those by the contracting nonprofit. problems with your contract monitor and develop budget revisions to • Monitoring Plan – Describes the specific monitoring responsibilities and accommodate any revenue shortfalls. activities required under the contract. A typical monitoring plan for a social service contract will include a description of all reporting requirements that the nonprofit must satisfy. Specific time requirements (e.g., monthly) for submitting reports are also included in the monitoring plan. In addition to submitting reports, some State agencies also conduct onsite observations of the social service programs they fund. These onsite evaluations could be scheduled or unscheduled and they could include observation of your program activities and/or inspection of your program records including financial records. What does the State agency do with the information it gathers through the monitoring plan? In general, it uses this information to evaluate the return on its investment in your program. PAGE 37 SECTION TWO: CONTRACTING WITH THE STATE Basic Process and Requirements
  • SECTION TWO: CONTRACTING WITH THE STATE On the positive side, the agency uses information gathered through After the final payment of the contract is made, the contracting State the monitoring process as evidence that your program is achieving its agency must submit a final performance evaluation report to the intended results. This can build credibility for your organization that Division of Administration, Office of Contract Review. The final report is provides some advantage for future funding. prepared using the information gathered through the monitoring process. This final report provides a summary of your performance If problems or deficiencies are found, one or more of these actions Surface Problems Quickly under the contract. The final report includes: are possible: If you are having unexpected problems with your contract (low • Agency provides technical assistance to help resolve problem areas enrollment, client retention, DESCRIPTION OF SERVICES: • Agency issues corrective compliance notification that directs the measuring performance, billing, etc.) (What were the services being provided?) contact your contract monitor nonprofit to corrective specific problems or deficiencies immediately – they can provide technical assistance and direction • Agency seeks to amend the contract DELIVERABLE PRODUCTS: that can assist you in resolving (What were final products?) Of course serious noncompliance with contract terms that can not be contract difficulties. resolved could result in contract termination. (Were they delivered on time?) (Were they usable? If so, how? If not, why not?) The required contract elements provide the contract monitors with the information they need to properly oversee contract performance ensuring that you (the contractor) are providing the deliverables and PROBLEMS ENCOUNTERED: (What were the problems?) meeting the goals/objectives described in the contract. (How were they addressed?) Audit Issues If you receive more than $300,000 in Federal funds within a single fiscal OVERALL PERFORMANCE: year, you are required by Federal law (Weak points) to budget for an audit (by a Certified (Strong points) Public Accountant) and have one performed. In addition, all state (Would you hire this contractor again?) contracts are subject to audit by the contracting State agency, the Division of Administration and the A copy of this final report (performance evaluation) for all contracts Louisiana Legislative Auditor. A over $250,000 is also sent to the Louisiana Legislative Auditor. detailed explanation of the powers and duties of the Louisiana Legislative Auditor and related State audit issues are provided in State law in RS 24:513 and RS 24:514. PAGE 38 SECTION TWO: CONTRACTING WITH THE STATE Basic Process and Requirements
  • SECTION TWO: CONTRACTING WITH THE STATE e. Common Contract Problems to Avoid • Not using the specific forms required by your contract monitor to request reimbursement and report performance. The following are problems that the State commonly finds when contracting with nonprofits for social services. Taking care to avoid Planning Ahead these problems will save time and frustration (payment delays and • Not anticipating your real cash flow needs to deliver the services denials) for your organization and the contracting State agency. described in the contract. Remember, the State is reimbursing you for expenses already incurred – contracting nonprofits must have the fiscal Contracting Authority and Document strength to incur significant expenses (30 days or more) prior to receiving • No match between the person in your organization that signs the reimbursement of those expenses. contract and the person authorized (by Board Resolution form) to sign • Not asking for help early. Call your contract monitor if you are confused the contract about some aspect of your contract responsibilities. The details of • Budgets that do not add up (line items in budget do not add up to the contract performance reporting and monthly reimbursement can often total budget number) raise legitimate questions in your mind. Pick up the telephone or use the • Not listed as an organization in good standing with the Louisiana e-mail to contact your program monitor immediately – before your Secretary of State’s Office (you can check your status on their website – question becomes a real problem. see Resources Appendix). Out-of-state organizations must also be registered with the Secretary of State and provide a Certificate of Authority issued by the Secretary of State Reimbursement and Reporting • Seeking reimbursement for services provided or costs incurred prior to the beginning date or after the ending date of the contract. • Lack of proper financial documentation (payroll information, purchase receipts/invoices, cancelled checks, etc.) to support reimbursement of your contract budget expenses. • Lack of proper service unit records (when using the unit-cost reimbursement method). • Not completing and submitting required contract performance reports to your contract monitor on a timely basis. PAGE 39 SECTION TWO: CONTRACTING WITH THE STATE Basic Process and Requirements
  • SECTION TWO: CONTRACTING WITH THE STATE f. In Summary – State Contracts All State contracts for social services must include a standard set of minimum language requirements that address scope of services, payment terms, taxes, termination for cause, term of contract, etc. Four specific elements are required in the scope of services section, including: • Specific Goals and Objectives – A listing of general goals and measurable objectives of the social service contract. • Deliverables – A listing of your program activities and services, including descriptions of your delivery schedule/calendar and planned client volume. • Performance Measures – A listing of the output and outcome indicators that you will use to collect and analyze data that will tell you how well your program is achieving its goals and objectives • Monitoring Plan – A description of the reports you will be required to provide to the contracting State agency. May also include other contract monitoring activities, such a site visits, audits, etc. Oversight responsibility for each contract is assigned to a selected employee of the contracting State agency. That person is called the contract monitor. By working closely with your contract monitors, keeping them informed along the way and complying with the terms of your contract’s monitoring plan you can develop a productive working relationship with the contracting State agency. PAGE 40 SECTION TWO: CONTRACTING WITH THE STATE Basic Process and Requirements