In a typical approach to acquire the services of a third-party evaluator, states may use an RFP bidding process. In general, the sponsoring agency and the evaluation planner will need to work with a procurement office to prepare the Statement/Scope of Work (e.g., tasks, timeline, deliverables), articulate bidder qualifications (corporate and staff), and provide a general budget estimate as to the basis for the development of the actual RFP. In addition, publicizing the RFP is critical to attracting as many qualified bidders as possible.
Getting the Word Out—Publicizing the RFP: Once approved, the RFP is posted in the public domain. The state agency likely has a process for formally announcing the RFP and requesting responses that are similar to what the federal government does for its evaluations and other procurement actions. However, to ensure the RFP announcement reaches the broadest range of potential evaluators, additional outreach may be useful to increase the number of responses. All additional “marketing” should comply with the state procurement process. The following advertising avenues may be appropriate to consider, and when doing so, be sure to include information on where to find the official state announcement and copy of the RFP:
- Send letters or emails that announce the RFP to a likely group of evaluators (universities/community colleges);
- Post a notice about the RFP on evaluation-focused websites;
- Post a notice about the RFP on the state agency’s website;
- Announce the RFP on any social media sites associated with the agency