A GUIDE TO WORKING WITH THE STATE
                    The Competitive RFP Process
                       Contracting with ...
A GUIDE TO WORKING WITH THE STATE
           The Competitive RFP Process
           Contracting with the State




       ...
INTRODUCTION
In almost every Louisiana community you can find small, community-          The second section reviews the St...
TABLE OF CONTENTS
Section One
 The Competitive RFP Process
 How the State Requests Proposals ................................
SECTION ONE: THE COMPETITIVE
                RFP PROCESS
SECTION ONE: THE COMPETITIVE RFP PROCESS
                                            Overview                             ...
SECTION ONE: THE COMPETITIVE RFP PROCESS
                                       a. Why the State Uses a Competitive Proces...
SECTION ONE: THE COMPETITIVE RFP PROCESS
   • Home Instruction for Parents of Preschool Youngsters (HIPPY)                ...
SECTION ONE: THE COMPETITIVE RFP PROCESS
                                               • Instructions for Completing the ...
SECTION ONE: THE COMPETITIVE RFP PROCESS
                                        Be realistic – make sure you can meet the...
SECTION ONE: THE COMPETITIVE RFP PROCESS
                                         • How Will Agencies [Nonprofits] Receive...
SECTION ONE: THE COMPETITIVE RFP PROCESS
   Need for the Project – In your proposal, your need statement describes the    ...
SECTION ONE: THE COMPETITIVE RFP PROCESS
                                                                                 ...
SECTION ONE: THE COMPETITIVE RFP PROCESS
                                           Program Outcomes – The program outcome...
SECTION ONE: THE COMPETITIVE RFP PROCESS
                                       Instructions for Completing the Budget
   ...
SECTION ONE: THE COMPETITIVE RFP PROCESS
 Attachments                                                                     ...
SECTION ONE: THE COMPETITIVE RFP PROCESS
                                       As you can see from the completed sample f...
SECTION ONE: THE COMPETITIVE RFP PROCESS
                                     500 – Other Purchased Services              ...
SECTION ONE: THE COMPETITIVE RFP PROCESS
                                          Some State RFPs will not include a Budg...
SECTION ONE: THE COMPETITIVE RFP PROCESS
 not change, specific instructions may vary from State agency to State           ...
SECTION ONE: THE COMPETITIVE RFP PROCESS
                                       For example: the 3rd statement in that sec...
SECTION ONE: THE COMPETITIVE RFP PROCESS
                                    Finally, here are some basic Do’s and Don’t’s...
SECTION ONE: THE COMPETITIVE RFP PROCESS
 d. In Summary – The Competitive RFP Process
 The State uses the competitive RFP ...
SECTION TWO: CONTRACTING
           WITH THE STATE
SECTION TWO: CONTRACTING WITH THE STATE

                                           Overview                              ...
A GUIDE TO WORKING WITH THE STATE
A GUIDE TO WORKING WITH THE STATE
A GUIDE TO WORKING WITH THE STATE
A GUIDE TO WORKING WITH THE STATE
A GUIDE TO WORKING WITH THE STATE
A GUIDE TO WORKING WITH THE STATE
A GUIDE TO WORKING WITH THE STATE
A GUIDE TO WORKING WITH THE STATE
A GUIDE TO WORKING WITH THE STATE
A GUIDE TO WORKING WITH THE STATE
A GUIDE TO WORKING WITH THE STATE
A GUIDE TO WORKING WITH THE STATE
A GUIDE TO WORKING WITH THE STATE
A GUIDE TO WORKING WITH THE STATE
A GUIDE TO WORKING WITH THE STATE
A GUIDE TO WORKING WITH THE STATE
A GUIDE TO WORKING WITH THE STATE
A GUIDE TO WORKING WITH THE STATE
A GUIDE TO WORKING WITH THE STATE
A GUIDE TO WORKING WITH THE STATE
A GUIDE TO WORKING WITH THE STATE
A GUIDE TO WORKING WITH THE STATE
A GUIDE TO WORKING WITH THE STATE
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A GUIDE TO WORKING WITH THE STATE

  1. 1. A GUIDE TO WORKING WITH THE STATE The Competitive RFP Process Contracting with the State
  2. 2. 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.
  3. 3. 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.
  4. 4. 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
  5. 5. SECTION ONE: THE COMPETITIVE RFP PROCESS
  6. 6. 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
  7. 7. 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
  8. 8. 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
  9. 9. 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
  10. 10. 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
  11. 11. 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
  12. 12. 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
  13. 13. 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
  14. 14. 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
  15. 15. 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
  16. 16. 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
  17. 17. 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
  18. 18. 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
  19. 19. 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
  20. 20. 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
  21. 21. 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
  22. 22. 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
  23. 23. 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
  24. 24. SECTION TWO: CONTRACTING WITH THE STATE
  25. 25. 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

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