10 Questions to Ask in Your Next Fundraising RFP

Ten Questions to Ask in your Next Fundraising RFP
Date Published
Debbie Merlino

“Help, I need somebody, Help, not just anybody, Help, you know I need someone, help.”

The Beatles

So, after reading last month’s blog post, you’ve decided that it does make sense for you to engage a fundraising agency. You’re looking for new and innovative ways to improve upon an existing program — or perhaps launch a new initiative that already has management’s buy-in. 

But how do you determine which agency is right for you?

Whether you decide to interview agencies over the phone or go through a more formalized proposal process, consider asking the following questions. 

  1. How would you approach this project? What’s your methodology? Can you walk me through the timeline — including project milestones.
  2. What is the number 1 mistake you see clients/organizations make when trying to accomplish what we’re setting out to do?
  3. What are the key capabilities and differentiators you offer that would be valuable for the success of this project/relationship?
  4. How would you measure success at the end of this project / our first campaign together? (Listen to what your agency has to say, then share your measurement for success with them and ensure that you are both on the same page.)
  5. What do you think your most successful client partnerships have in common?
  6. Describe two actions you would take to move our relationship to a win-win partnership and two actions you would ask us to take to move the relationship to a win-win partnership
  7. Please provide the names, titles, and relevant background of personnel who will oversee the project.
  8. How frequently and in what manner are communications between our two teams?
  9. Tell me about a client who ended a relationship with you in the past year. What was the reason and what did you do to ensure a smooth transition to the clients next agency?
  10. References and/or case studies

This list is culled from the questions we’ve been asked over the past decade. The answers to these questions will help you understand the agency’s overall approach, its expectations of you as a client, and its process. These questions will also present an opportunity for the agency to tell you its story in a way that will be meaningful to you and helpful in your selection process.

Debbie Merlino
About the Author:
Debbie Merlino
President, Agency Services

As President of Agency Services, Debbie is responsible for overall client satisfaction. She works to ensure AFG’s winning strategies are being shared throughout the organization for the benefit of all our clients. Debbie is frequently out on the road sharing insights with others and listening to your challenges so we can develop solutions.

What excites you about your work at AFG?

I get to meet the best people and hear their stories. Hardly anyone says they planned to work in development. Learning how our clients found themselves in this profession and hearing the stories of the people they serve is inspirational.

If you weren’t at AFG, what would you be doing?

Attempting the life of a freelance journalist, working in a bookstore, and/or doing a podcast for my own enjoyment.

What are your hobbies/interests outside AFG?

Making people laugh. It’s thrilling! Especially when done purposefully and I’m on stage ; ) I also enjoy yoga and a well-crafted cocktail.

Get the fundraising solutions you need to fuel your mission.

Get Started

Finally, an End-to-End Fundraising Solution Accessible to all Nonprofits

DMW Fundraising and Member Benefits are now part of Allegiance Fundraising Group

Allegiance Fundraising Group brings together three well-established fundraising teams to create an end-to-end fundraising solution that makes it easier for you to reach your mission. Today you can turn to a single team for seamless fundraising strategy and implementation, donor management software, and membership loyalty programs.

Learn more about Allegiance Fundraising