Request for Information for Grants Management and Participant ...
Request for Information for
Grants Management and
• Request for Information from software vendors able to
provide a Customized Off-the-Shelf Software Application to
enable the DC Children and Youth Investment Trust
Corporation to manage grants awarded and track participant
services and outcomes
• Please respond by 5:00 PM EST on Friday January 23, 2009
• Please direct any questions to Keith Watson at
email@example.com / 202-997-3838
I. About CYITC
The DC Children and Youth Investment Trust Corporation (“CYITC” or “The Trust”) is
a public-private partnership chartered by the District of Columbia to help a wide variety
of organizations improve the quality, quantity and accessibility of services and
opportunities for every child in the city. The Trust works to increase resources and invest
in the people, programs and systems that serve children, youth and their families in the
District of Columbia. The partnership includes public schools, city agencies, and
employers, including non-profit providers. Since its inception in 1999, the Trust has
provided grants, technical assistance, youth worker training, capacity building,
convening, and policy support at the local level, while it has engaged in learning
opportunities, policy forums and innovation at the national level.
In FY 2009 (October 2008 – September 2009), the Trust is managing or plans to manage
the following major grants and programs. This is not a comprehensive list, and all dollar,
grantee, and persons-served numbers are approximate.
A. Out-of-School Time (OST) Programs
These programs provide enrichment services to school-age children and youth to
support healthy youth development during after-school hours, weekends, and
during the summer. Some programs serve youth up to age 24. There are 56
grantees receiving a total of $2.8 million in grants. These programs serve 4,000
children and youth.
B. Project My Time (PMT)
This program is similar to the Out-of-School time programs described above but
focuses on middle-school youth. There are 20 PMT grantees receiving $1 million
in grants. There are also “independent providers” (individuals) who receive
funding to provide specialized services to PMT children (such as a dance class),
and funds for these independent providers total $300,000. A total of 1,000
children are served by PMT.
C. Summer Programs
This program provides $5 million in funding to 90 grantees to serve 6,000
children and youth between the last week in June and mid-August.
As part of the DC government appropriations process, the government earmarks
$8.5 million to 45 organizations, and CYITC manages these earmarks. A few of
these are capital projects, but the majority are for services to children, youth, and
E. Effective Youth Development Initiative (EYD)
This initiative has three components: 1) out-of-school time services for youth age
6 – 24 living in designated distressed neighborhoods; 2) services to youth age 14
– 18 to reduce truancy and curfew violations; and 3) support for disconnected and
out-of-school youth and youth in need of additional support with job skill
development and training to facilitate a successful entrance/transition to the
workforce, including employment training, life skills training and
mentoring/coaching programs (but not job placement services) for youth age 14 –
24. This program will provide $2 million to 30 grantees to serve 1,000 children
F. Parent Centers
These programs provide services to parents of children age 6 – 17, providing
learning opportunities that result in more effective parents and caregivers. This
program provides $400,000 in grants to 10 organizations to serve 200 parents.
G. Youth Worker Training
CYITC provides professional development training courses to adult professionals
who work with youth. CYITC provides about 12 training sessions per year and
trains a total of 500 youth workers annually.
CYITC programs are funded from a variety of government and foundation sources. A
large percentage of CYITC’s funding is received annually through the DC government
appropriations process to support OST, Summer, EYD, and Parent Center programs.
Additional funds from the DC government appropriations process are received for
earmarked programs managed by CYITC, in which specific non-profit organizations to
be funded are identified in the appropriations bill but funding flows through CYITC and
CYITC oversees the grants. Individual DC government agencies also provide funds to
CYITC to manage specific granting initiatives. Private funding is received from a variety
of foundations for specific programs/activities or general operating support. It is
important that CYITC track grants and participants (and/or participant activities) by the
source of funding and/or the program type (e.g. OST, PMT, EYD, etc).
II. Purposes of this RFI
This RFI is issued solely for informational purposes and does not constitute a
procurement or solicitation.
This RFI, in conjunction with the system demos, is intended to:
• Inform the development of our business requirements by educating us about the
best software available and the business processes implied by the software.
• Inform the development of our technical requirements by understanding the
technology used by the current leaders in participant tracking and grants
management software. This includes an understanding of how
integration/interfacing with third-party systems and DC government technology
projects may be achieved.
• Inform the development of an RFP that will enable selection of the best solution
for CYTIC by understanding the critical ways that companies and software
applications differ from one another.
• Support our budget planning process by soliciting initial cost estimates and helping
us to determine whether we have the resources for a new system(s).
Responses to this RFI will be not be used to exclude any vendors from consideration,
although it is possible that we will establish some minimum criteria for the RFP that will
have the de facto effect of eliminating some potential vendors. No information or cost
estimates received from vendors in response to this RFI will be considered binding or
final. All vendors will have a “clean slate” when responding to the RFP, which will be
issued after RFI responses have been received and reviewed. The RFP will be open to
any vendor that meets the qualifications.
III. Responding to the RFI
Please respond to this RFI no later than 5:00 PM EST on January 23, 2009. Electronic
responses sent by e-mail in a MS Word document are preferred. Please send responses to
Keith Watson at firstname.lastname@example.org . Please e-mail or call Keith Watson
(202-997-3838) with any questions.
Some general comments on responses:
• Some questions pertain to participant tracking and some questions pertain to grants
management. Please respond (“NA”) to any question that pertains to participant
tracking if your application supports only grants management. (Similarly, respond
“NA” for questions that pertain to grants management if your application only
supports participant tracking.) We understand that your company may have the
capacity to develop additional functionality, and that your application may be
flexible enough to be customized to add additional functionality, however for this
RFI will are interested in the functionality that can be achieved with “standard”
customization (typically, configurations currently in use for existing customers).
• Please feel free to provide information that is relevant to the topic of the question
if you believe it may be helpful to our understanding of your application, even if it
is not asked for directly.
• Feel free to combine various related questions into a single answer if that is most
efficient. Please write “see response to question x” for those questions that have
been treated as such.
• Please indicate when you are describing a functionality that is not part of the basic
functionality but is available with customization at additional cost or via third-
party software that your application interfaces with. For this RFI, “customization”
refers to additional software development/coding that your company must provide
(changes that an administrative user at CYITC cannot make).
• Please indicate when your are describing a functionality available in a future
release. In those cases please provide the release date.
IV. Information Requested
A. About the Company and Software Application
1. Please provide the following information about your company:
o Year founded
o # FTEs, broken into the following categories:
Management and admin
Research and development engineers
Dedicated technical support staff
Other (please specify)
Total (this line should include the sum of all categories above)
o Description of corporate structure including ownership
o Annual revenues for current and 3 prior years
o Information on any venture capital funding received
2. Please provide the following information about the software application(s) that
you believe will best meet the needs of CYITC (for each application):
o Overview of the application (approximately one page)
o # of customers, # of agencies currently using the software, and # of total
users (for example, in our case CYITC is the customer, our 100 grantees
plus CYITC means that 101 agencies would be using the software, and all
CYITC staff and grantee staff with login accounts would be the users) –
provide these numbers for the current year and 3 prior years
o For grants management applications, what is the largest number of
proposals that have been received/reviewed by any of your customers
using your application (in a given year)?
o Please provide a full list of features/functionality, including current
features and features to be included in any releases prior to June 2009
(please indicate features in future versions as such)
B. Participant Tracking
1. How does your application assign unique identifiers to each participant and ensure
that a single participant is identified the same way in each instance that s/he is
served? For example, a single person with the name John Jones-Smith could be in
a database three times, once as John Jones-Smith, once as J. Jones-Smith, and once
as John Smith.
2. One problem that we have is duplicate records for persons in the database.
Duplicates could occur when two grantees both create a new record for a person
they are serving, or they could occur when a single grantee creates a record for the
same person twice (probably due to human error). Duplicates cause problems for
CYITC because we would like to be able to create unduplicated counts of persons
for various measures, such as total children served in a day or in a year.. And in
the case of a single grantee entering the same person twice, there is no need for the
duplication, so those two records should be identified/merged/purged. How does
your application identify and handle duplicates for the purposes of producing
unduplicated counts and/or eliminating erroneously duplicated records?
3. Occasionally more than one grantee will provide services to a single person. In
your application, is it possible for two grantees to share data on a single
participant? If so, is it possible to restrict the information that is shared? Is there a
“best practice” in your experience with respect to different grantees (agencies)
sharing data on participants they serve with other grantees (agencies) also serving
4. One challenge that CYITC faces is ensuring that data entered by grantees is
complete and accurate. A special case is data fields that should be updated
periodically but are not updated, such as grade level. How does your application
help us to identify and correct missing or inaccurate data – including data entry
checks, data quality reports, other data quality improvement procedures?
5. We may want certain fields to be required but not always having to be collected at
the time when a person is first entered. We may want to allow grantees to go back
and complete the initial intake data fields within some period of time. How would
your application handle this?
6. Does your application verify that addresses entered are legitimate through cross-
checks of a master address database or some other method? Is there a way for
your application to automatically look up the Ward based on the address?
7. Can your application track persons in the same family and identify family units for
reporting and analysis? How is this done? How is “family” defined and how are
changes in family dynamics over time handled? Does your application have a way
to handle a child with more than one address (e.g. is with a parent part of the week
and a grandparent another part of the week)?
8. Does your application provide a Web portal for persons to locate and/or register
for programs? If so, please briefly describe.
9. One challenge that CYITC has is tracking all persons served by grantees versus
tracking those persons that are funded directly by CYITC. In addition, a
participant may be in some activities funded by CYITC and other activities not
funded by CYITC. We want to encourage grantees to track all participants,
however we want to distinguish which persons/activities are funded by CYITC.
How does your application address this challenge? Do you have other customers
with this challenge, and how do they handle this using your application?
C. Participant Outcomes
1. Does your application have any outcome assessments built-in? Please list/describe
2. Please describe whether your application reflects best practices with respect to
outcomes assessment for out-of-school time programs.
3. Please describe whether your application reflects best practices with respect to
outcomes assessment for youth workforce development programs.
4. Please describe whether your application reflects best practices with respect to
outcomes assessment for parent training programs.
5. If CYITC were to create its own customized assessment tool (for example, a newly
developed youth survey), how would that become part of the application? Would
CYITC staff create the assessment tool in the application or would your company
create/deploy the assessment tool?
6. Suppose CYITC wanted teachers to provide an assessment of students served by
CYITC programs (via a survey pertaining to a single child), but teachers are not
users of the application (they do not have login accounts). Is there a way for your
application to enable teachers to directly enter the assessment data on the student
into the system? Have any of your customers done this?
7. Suppose CYITC wanted to survey participants, who (we assume) are not system
users. Is there a way for your application to enable student surveys to be
completed directly in the system? Have any of your customers done this?
8. Some participant outcomes will be derived from external data sources such as data
files from DC Public Schools containing student-level data on attendance,
disciplinary actions, grades, standardized test scores, etc. Can those data be
imported into the application and reports generated based on those data? Have
any of your customers done this?
D. Training and Technical Assistance
1. Briefly describe how your application can be used to track technical assistance that
CYITC provides to grantees and/or organizational improvements that grantees
experience as a result of technical assistance. Have any of your customers done
2. Briefly describe how your application supports data collection for site observation.
(CYITC currently uses the NIOST APT-O tool for site observation, but this may
change.) Please describe how your application accommodates recording site
observation data using the NIOST APT-O tool or another similar observation
3. CYITC provides youth worker training to persons who are working or wish to
work in the youth development field. Some, but not all, of those persons are the
staff of CYITC grantees. Describe if/how your application can track:
o Personal information, demographics, enrollment, and attendance for
persons receiving youth worker training
o Which persons have successfully completed the training and received a
o How many/what percentage of staff for each grantee have completed this
E. Grants Management
1. Does your application provide the functionality for receiving grant proposals
2. Does your application provide the functionality for tracking grant proposal
evaluations by an internal or external review panel?
3. Does your application provide a way for grantees/prospective grantees to describe
a logic model?
4. Does your application support business process workflows indicating steps
required for the grants management process, the person currently required to take
action, and e-mail notifications when actions are required?
5. Can we create new grant programs and/or new grants on our own or does your
company have to do that for us?
6. Does your application have the ability to track a grant workplan and progress
toward grant outcomes?
7. Does your application provide automated notifications/reminders to grantees for
whom something is due, such as a monthly report?
8. Can documents be scanned or otherwise electronically loaded into your
application? How does this work?
F. Reports and Business Intelligence
1. Please provide a list of standard reports that your software generates.
2. How are custom reports/queries handled? Can a user build reports as needed by
determining what fields are in the report and what filters are applied?
3. Do any/all reports have “drill-down” where appropriate (from summaries to
4. When reports are viewed on screen, can they be printed such that they are
formatted correctly without further manipulation by the user (i.e., are readable
when printed, are only one page “wide”, etc) ? Can reports be exported to MS
Excel, MS Word, and/or PDF format?
5. Does your application include reports that are “provider-centric” (i.e., reports on
all persons served by a provider) as well as reports that are “person-centric” (i.e.,
reports on all activities that a person has participated in – and the associated
outcomes – across providers and/or regardless of provider)?
6. Does your application include online analytical processing (OLAP)? What third-
party OLAP products, if any, (e.g. Business Objects, Cognos,) are used for this
purpose? Which data fields are available for analysis using OLAP? To what
extent can we define the data elements included in the OLAP cube(s)?
7. Does your application include executive dashboards? What third-party executive
dashboard products, if any, are used for this purpose? To what extent can we
define the elements included in the executive dashboard? Are these dashboards
customizable by role?
8. Ideally, CYITC would have a data warehouse that would contain longitudinal data
for each person served, including demographics, activities, attendance, and
assessments/outcomes. Over time, this would grow to be a large database given
that approximately 10,000 persons are enrolled or serve in CYITC programs each
year. This would enable us to perform analysis of persons over time in which data
are standardized and cleaned. Does your application include a data warehouse? If
not, can you describe (at a high level) how a data warehouse can be created from
the data in your application’s database?
9. Does your application include any features that are designed to encourage
programs to look at outputs and/or outcomes data on a regular basis?
G. Technology and Data
1. Please provide a thorough technical description of the application.
2. If your application is not SaaS (i.e., hosted), please describe the system
recommendations for CYITC to install and run the application., including both the
server and workstations.
3. Please list the Web browsers, including versions, that are supported by the
application. For SaaS providers, are there minimal system requirements for
workstations using the application other than having a supported Web browser?
4. For SaaS (hosted) applications, do you have your own Web servers “in-house” or
is this outsourced? If it is outsourced, what is the company you use for hosting?
5. Please describe how data security and disaster recovery are assured.
6. How “fast” is the application? Assuming all users have high-speed Internet, how
can we determine which applications will provide a user experience which
performs as quickly (or nearly as quickly) as a desktop application and which will
be perceived as slower? What technology information can you provide or what
performance parameters can you report on that demonstrate the speed of your
application as experienced by the user?
7. Some CYITC grantee users may be using dial-up Internet access (56k modem).
How well does your application work with this type of connection? How many of
your current users use non-high-speed Internet connections?
8. We may want to periodically extract large datasets from the application database
to use in Tableau, SAS, Stata, or some other software for analysis and
presentation. How would your application accommodate this need? Can we
obtain the data on-demand through a user interface or do we need to make a
request for a data extract from customer support? What format(s) could the data
extract be provided in?
9. The DC One Card is a DC government project that will provide identification
cards that can be used at schools, recreation centers, libraries, etc. to gain access to
buildings, track attendance, and serve many other personal functions for the
cardholder. We would ideally like to have whatever software application we use
accept the DC One Card for enrollment and attendance at CYITC grantee
activities. Can your application accommodate this? What information would you
need to know from the DC One Card project to evaluate whether this would be
possible and/or how much this customization would cost?
10. The DC State Longitudinal Education Database (SLED) is a DC government
project that will create a master database for all children in DC focused on
education experiences and outcomes. It will interact with the DCPS data systems
to manage the assignment of unique student identifiers (USIs). What information
would you need in order to determine whether your application could interface
with the SLED in order to ensure that the child’s record has the SLED USI
attached properly? What information would you need in order to determine
whether your application could periodically provide data to the SLED? (While
this is certainly a detailed problem that requires a great deal of additional
information, we are looking for the basic technology questions that would begin to
enable us to understand if this is possible and what the barriers and limitations
11. Does your application allow the use of PDAs to record data such as attendance?
Do any of your current customers use PDAs to access your application? Do you
recommend this approach?
12. We may want the application to send data to and/or receive data from other
systems. Examples include sharing data between the grants management and
participant tracking systems, the CYITC account software (Sage MIP Fund
Accounting, installed on the local area network server), other DC government
agency data systems, other foundation systems. Is there anything about your
application that makes it especially better (or worse) for this type of data sharing
across systems? What information would you need to determine whether this data
sharing is possible?
13. Although we are primarily interested in the characteristics of participants
themselves, there may be times when it is also helpful to understand the
characteristics of their neighborhoods and their schools. Therefore, for analysis
purposes, we would like to be able to merge participant data with data on school
characteristics (from DC Public Schools data files, most likely in Excel) or data on
neighborhood characteristics (from Census datasets or NeighborhoodInfo DC
(www.neighborhoodinfodc.org). Is this best done within your application or
outside the application in statistical analysis software such as SAS? Could your
application allow the import of schools/neighborhood datasets and how would this
14. We are interested in performing spatial analysis/mapping using ESRI products
(ArcView), although we have not yet developed this capability. Does your
application provide any advantages for us as we develop and implement the
capacity for this analysis? Alternatively, does the application interface with
Google maps to provide online mapping capabilities?
15. Is there a difference in the functionality of the system that CYITC has versus what
its grantees have? We recognize, of course, that there will be restrictions on
access to data based on roles and that some functions do not make sense at the
grantee level; but otherwise, do CYITC and grantees have access to the same
features of the application? Do CYITC grantees have access to all of the business
intelligence/reporting tools that CYITC has access to?
16. Can a single grantee have additional customized fields that only that grantee views
and uses? For example, suppose one CYITC grantee would like an additional field
at intake that no other grantee wants or needs. Does your application allow that
grantee to have this field added and available for reporting? How would this
17. What customization of the application (if any) can be done by CYITC staff? What
customization can only be done by your company?
18. What are the technical requirements that we should require from any vendor,
pertaining to availability, reliability, security, technology standards, etc. and how
does your software meet these? What should we require from a Service Level
Agreement (SLA)? Can you provide a copy of the standard SLA for your software
19. Do you provide data restore/rollback for your customers? How does this work?
20. How much “branding” of your application by CYITC do you enable, including
customized look-and-feel on application front page, custom URL, CYITC logo on
application pages, etc.?
21. Several of our grantees have their own information systems that they use to
manage enrollment, attendance, etc. Up to this point, we have required those
organizations to manually enter all data into the CYITC MIS, even though that
requires double-entry for them. Is this inevitable, or is there a way in which data
from their systems could be integrated into the CYITC MIS?
H. Support Resources
1. How is support provided to end users? Please indicate if you have each of the
following and please describe each. Please indicate if each type of support is
limited to certain users (e.g., available to CYITC staff but not its grantees).
Indicate hours of operation and the time frame is for responding to support
requests (e.g. support responses (where applicable):
o Phone support
o E-mail support
o Live chat support
o Online knowledgebase
o Online user discussion forums
2. For the methods of support described above, do you keep data on performance
such as response times, wait times (on-hold for phone support), etc? If so, please
indicate what you measure and provide data on those measures for the current
3. How is training provided to end users? How much training is required? Do
trainings differ for different types of users? Are trainings in-person, online, or
4. Are there user groups for your application that meet periodically? Please describe.
5. Is there a help function within the application? Is there a paper and/or online
6. What staff/consultants/other should CYITC have on-site to make implementation
of software a success? For example, a dedicated system admin? What
skills/experience should those persons have? How many hours per week? On site
I. Implementation Process
1. How much time would you recommend we allow between contract award and full
implementation? How many months does it take to get from vendor selection to
“go live” (i.e., implementation phase)?
2. How will you ensure a successful implementation phase? Will you provide a
dedicated project manager? Please provide a high-level outline of the steps that
will be required during the implementation phase. Do you recommend bringing all
grantees onto the new system at the same time or a phased-in approach? What
resources does CYITC need to commit in order to make implementation a success
– what person(s) will be required from CYITC, what skill sets are required, and
how much of that person’s time is needed?
3. What information do you need from CYITC to successfully manage the
1. What is the pricing model that you use (e.g., per user, per site, one license for
2. For our budgetary planning purposes, and to ensure adequate funds set aside for
this purpose, please provide the best cost estimate (or range of estimates) for the
implementation phase (from contract award to “go-live” on Sep 1) and the
subsequent five years. Please provide costs for each year separately and please list
all costs, including initial purchase costs, ongoing license costs,
support/maintenance costs, training costs, etc. Please note any assumptions that
you are making in constructing the cost estimate. Please keep in mind that this is a
cost estimate for our planning purposes, that it is in no way binding, that we will
not select or exclude any vendor based on the estimate provided, and that only a
future RFP to be released by CYITC will be used to make a selection based on
technical and cost proposals.
3. Considering that CYITC may want to spread out costs evenly over five years, can
your pricing model accommodate this?
4. Please describe how additional customization requests not included in the initial
contract will be handled and what pricing model is used to determine those
5. What ongoing staff/contractors will CYITC need to manage the application on an
ongoing basis? For example will there need to be a full-time system
administrator? Please describe the FTEs required and the skill set that person(s)
6. Please describe the costs and logistics of any equipment and/or software that must
be installed at grantee locations (if any) such as card scanners. Please describe
how you would suggest handling the special case of Summer Grantees, who only
provide services between June and August (approximately 6-8 weeks), and
therefore present special cost or logistical challenges for deployment and/or
collection of equipment and/or locally installed software.
7. Please describe the costs and logistics involved with importing legacy data from
the current CYTIC software vendor. This will include records for participants, and
their activities and attendance, as well as data for grantees, grants received, budget
and cost data, workplan data, etc.
8. Suppose a former grantee of CYITC wants to access the MIS to retrieve their old
data. How will this be handled? Will they or CYITC have to pay full cost for
them to have read-only access to their old data?
K. Other Customers and References/ Product Evaluation
1. Please list all granting/contracting agencies that use your application to
manage/oversee the work of grantees/contractors. If there are more than ten such
agencies, you may limit the list to ten – in that case, please select the organizations
most similar to CYITC as described below.
2. Please provide three references that we may contact, selecting organizations that
are most similar to CYITC. Key similarities include:
o Role: Serving as a grant making agency or intermediary overseeing the
work of sub-grant agencies
o Program focus: Focusing on out-of-school time programs, parent training
programs, youth development programs, and the like
over 30 grantee organizations
over 3,000 participants tracked
over $3 million in grants managed
3. Please list all DC government agencies or non-profits that use your software.
4. We are considering requesting an evaluation period prior to a final procurement
decision. During this time, CYITC and a subset of grantees would have full access
to the application at no cost for testing and final product evaluation. We would
restrict this to the top 1-3 vendors under consideration after all evaluation factors
have been considered (proposals, demos, follow-up questions). This evaluation
period would last 1-3 months. Would you be able to accommodate this request?