Scenario: It has been five years since you were first hired as coordinator for Housing Solutions. In that time, Housing Solutions has grown and has assisted many clients, thanks in no small part to the social media fundraisers and outreach campaigns you proposed to Maria and Jerry Conrad. Credit for much of Housing Solutions’ recent success also belongs to Robert, the volunteer who first brought up the idea of a social media campaign for fundraising and outreach. His creativity and dedication have helped him earn a position as Housing Solutions’ Director of Outreach. In this position, Robert is responsible for establishing and maintaining Housing Solutions’ presence on social media sites such as Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram. Robert has recently earned a B.A. in Marketing, he stays current in his field, and he is an active member of the Florida Association of Non-Profit Organizations located in Tampa.
When you recently came across the following Request for Proposals from the Florida Association of Non-Profit Organizations, your interest was piqued:
RFP: Non-Profits in the Digital Age
The Florida Association of Non-Profit Organizations is accepting proposals for presentations for its upcoming conference, Non-Profits in the Digital Age. Our members are busy non-profit administrators, trying to manage and grow their organizations with limited resources. Ideal presentations will give them an overview of how technology is changing a particular aspect of marketing for non-profits and, most importantly, give them skills and practices they can incorporate right away.
Please submit a letter of interest that includes a brief overview of your credentials, a summary of your proposed presentation, and explanation of how your presentation will benefit those who run growing non-profits in Florida.
Speakers are able to attend the conference free of charge. Your bio and organization contact information will be featured prominently in the program. Additionally, speakers will be given a digital list of the names and addresses of conference attendees.
You see an opportunity here: conferences are a great way to learn more about your craft, establish contacts within the statewide non-profit community, and meet potential new partners.
There is only one problem: you are sure that the Association will be inundated with proposals about how to market non-profits using social media. Since you have limited time and resources, you only want to respond to the RFP if you believe that one of your core strengths will be a competitive advantage. You believe you can craft a unique presentation based on the experience and expertise both you and Robert have acquired in your years of helping to lead Housing Solutions to its current success.
You and Robert decide to craft a presentation that combines your expertise in writing, marketing, and fundraising, showing the audience how those factors are interrelated when it comes to using social media effectively. The two of you will team up to give the presentation at the conference.
Robert wisely suggests that you identify your strengths and competitive advantages in this situation (See Green Level Strategies Tutorial). You and Robert determine that you have the following strengths and competitive advantages:
· We work for a small non-profit with the same challenges and goals as the audience.
· We have experience crafting and executing social media strategies for our organization.
· We have a unique presentation because it incorporates three crucial areas of expertise related to using social media (writing, marketing, and fundraising).
Assignment: Write a one-two page proposal letter (what the RFP calls a “letter of interest”) in response to the RFP from the Florida Association of Non-Profit Organizations.
· Be sure to include an informative subject line—think about why are you writing.
· Ensure completeness and accuracy by including all of the information called for in the RFP.
· Open with goodwill. In this case, find a way to thank the readers (the conference organizers) and/or acknowledge their role.
· Focus on reader benefits, and use a you-attitude. How will accepting your presentation help the conference organizers? How will the content of your presentation help the attendees?
· Include positive outcomes.
· Include a list that is parallel in structure.
· Include informative headings with positive outcomes.
· Use concrete images so the readers can visualize your presentation.
· End with a motivating close and your contact info.
Red Level Strategies
· Establish purpose and audience
· Use simple, concrete, direct language — align language and purpose
· Use the direct organization
· Ensure completeness and accuracy
· Write informative and purposeful subject lines
Orange Level Strategies
· Use goodwill-building techniques
· Emphasize reader benefits
· Write with a positive emphasis
· Write with a reader-based emphasis
Yellow Level Strategies
· Refine information to make it more useful
· Design information using SSPD
· Use lists
· Write with parallel structure
· Craft informative headings
Green Level Strategies
· Establish a clear objective
· Align objectives and account for differences
· Identify and emphasize competitive advantages and meaningful strengths
· Create concrete images
· Motivate action
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