Saturday, June 27, 2009

Electronic RFPs, Please.

I recently completed an RFP that requested six paper copies in addition to a digital version of the proposal. Why not just skip the multiple paper copies and eliminate the rigamarole involved with collating and FedExing and just accept electronically submitted PDFs?

It seems to me there are only two arguments against this modest proposal:

1) "Making people go through the process of preparing multiple paper copies of PDFs shows that they are serious about submitting." The previous statement is actually a paraphrase from a museum person, made when I suggested that electronic/PDF responses be allowed. I don't think I could summarize how mindless much of the PDF process is better than that.

2) PDFs of finished submissions with graphics and images will be too large to easily send electronically. Well that's a bogus excuse, and here's why: YouSendIt.

YouSendIt is a service that lets you easily transmit large files (up to 100 MB, using the free version) without any FTP hassles or email bouncebacks.

Even though a standard of Electronic RFPs might not happen anytime soon, you can put YouSendIt to good use in your own workstream today.

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  1. The real reason is they would rather you make the copies than they! You know digital submissions would have to printed six times for internal distribution.

  2. Hi Todd,

    I agree that museums would rather have submitters make paper copies, but why not try to set up the process to cut down on paper copies in the first place? (Laziness and wastefulness on the requesting organization's part, I'd wager!)

    Perhaps the shortlisted candidates' digital proposals would need to be printed out for internal distribution, but the mountain of paper produced through multiples of multiple copies by the non-shortlisted submitters, multiplied yet again by all the RFPs distributed every year would make a big difference if it could be reduced or eliminated.

  3. MegaUpload is another service just like this.