How Prosal's RFP Concierge Service Matched GreenLatinos With the Perfect Partner

Alfredo Ramirez

Requests for proposals (RFPs) can feel like a challenge for anyone, but the feeling can often be most pronounced for nonprofit organizations. Nonprofits and organizations like them are forced to confront a professional reality that includes high turnover and burnout rates, constant fires to put out, and a continuous lack of the latest technology that leaves them feeling stuck working in the last decade.

Such was the case for GreenLatinos, a powerful voice convening Latino/a/e environmental and conservation leaders across the nation, who sought outside expert help for several projects earlier this year. However, unlike most of their nonprofit friends, GreenLatinos partnered with Prosal early in finding those experts. Their story with Prosal is more than just a successful RFP process – it's about finding the right fit in a sea of options and a process that has been replicated nearly a dozen times.

About GreenLatinos and Their Mission

Before we unpack their story, it's crucial to understand GreenLatinos. GreenLatinos is an active community of Latino/a/e environmental leaders relentlessly pushing for environmental, conservation, and climate justice. From its inception and with the committed involvement of individuals, GreenLatinos has had a singular vision: a future where communities of color are liberated from environmental burdens, free to breathe fresh air, drink clean water, access clean transportation, and enjoy our majestic lands, ocean, and waters.

Prosal co-founder and COO Alfredo Ramirez has supported GreenLatinos and its leadership in various roles since 2016, from consultant to volunteer and donor. Alfredo isn’t alone in this role, joined by hundreds of others who have found themselves offering their time and resources to advance GreenLatinos’ mission. It was naturally a great fit to help out when GreenLatinos approached Alfredo and the Prosal team at the end of 2022, asking for help with a daunting process: redesigning their website.

Finding the right agency or consultant can sometimes feel like finding a needle in a haystack. This was the exact challenge faced by GreenLatinos at the start of 2022. Nearly three years after Alfredo helped GreenLatinos quickly build up a website, everyone recognized that it was time for the website to revitalize to align with GreenLatinos’ refreshed mission and vision. Unable to hire the right vendor, they turned to Prosal in October to help them find one.

Reinventing Website RFPs for GreenLatinos

It wasn't about finding someone to do a job; it was about finding someone who understood the core of their mission and could translate that understanding into the digital realm. Enter Prosal's RFP Concierge service – a unique, human-centric approach to the RFP process.

Prosal designed a staged RFP process with a lower barrier to entry for diverse agencies, leading to a larger pool of candidates and better client-agency fit. Our team benefited from a highly diverse candidate pool since over a third of Prosal’s agencies and consultants self-identify as diversely owned and operated. We also did something counterintuitive – we left the proposals as the last stage of the process.

A process diagram explaining the GreenLatinos RFP process
A visual representation of the GreenLatinos RFP process and outcomes

We poured through our network, soliciting interest from nearly 30 vendors to find a working solution. While this may seem like overwhelming interest at first glance, each stage required minimal effort from both sides while still allowing for information gathering and relationship-building. And at each stage, the candidate pool was narrowed.

What began as 30 initially interested candidates quickly became two finalists whom GreenLatinos asked to submit their proposals. Throughout the Q&A and interview stages, GreenLatinos discovered new must-haves for their website process, which agencies could address as the needs and deliverables shifted slightly. Despite GreenLatinos' strict budget and timeline requirements, they were able to meet both, finding their partner in Swoon Creative Group. Swoon Creative Media is a highly successful web, branding, and graphic design agency that specializes in providing creative solutions for non-profit organizations with diverse audiences. Swoon has been a long-time user and attributes much of their success to finding great opportunities through the Prosal Marketplace

"Prosal helped us expand our vendor pool,” Edder Díaz-Martinez, the Communications Manager at GreenLatinos, shared with us. “Without Prosal, we would've looked tirelessly for vendors who matched the qualifications we were looking for. With Prosal, we selected a vendor who knew exactly what we were looking for while saving us time and money."

It wasn’t just the client – the agencies who participated in this process loved it far more than any other RFP process they had experienced.

"I truly appreciate the swift and intentional approach to this RFP process. I'm excited about the possibility of working with a movement I'm so passionate about." Gabriella Mutti, President and Founder of Muse Creative Group 
"The Prosal process is excellent, and I appreciate the feedback we got at the end. We intend to bid on other projects using the platform.” Mark Gillespie, President of Mindfront

Repeat with Changes: Event Planning for a Texas-Sized Summit

Days into the new year, we heard again from GreenLatinos. With the GreenLatinos Summit on the horizon, Mariana Del Valle Prieto Cervantes, GreenLatinos' Chief of Staff, was on the hunt for an outstanding event planner in Texas. The issue? No one on our team or GreenLatinos team had much experience with event planning, let alone event planning in Texas.

“I am reaching out because we are excited to announce that we are hosting our GreenLatinos Summit in May of 2023! With that in mind, we will be looking for an event planner consultant to help us and would like to use your services again to find someone to help. “ 

Our strategy remained consistent, with some iterative changes implemented based on feedback from the website RFP process. Ultimately, our goal was to understand the need from GreenLatinos and tailor the RFP, candidates, and overall process accordingly.

Like the prior process, we drafted an event planning RFP based on the essential components of any RFP, including project budget and timelines, selection criteria, and ideal outcomes. We also added event-specific information to the RFP, like venue information and selection, data on summits of past years, and the vision for this year’s summit. Like last time, we also included a questionnaire that filtered the interest of almost half of the participants, followed by interviews and proposals. This time, we encouraged a presentation of the vision for the event during the interview process and prepared questions, which led to more fruitful conversations.

The outcome? GreenLatinos chose Lahoma Dade from Events Unleashed, an award-winning event planning company based in Austin, TX, who was set to transform the summit into an unforgettable experience. The results of the event also speak for themselves. As one attendee put it, “It was the first time in my career I was able to be in a space that not only reflected my passions as an individual but also to be surrounded by so many people who share a similar heritage/cultural history as me.” 

A panoramic shot of the GreenLatinos 2023 Summit attendees
A panoramic shot of the GreenLatinos 2023 Summit attendees


Fruitful Outcomes & Supporting Other Nonprofits 

Prosal was founded on the idea that merit and trust should be the deciding factors of any partnership and that businesses from historically underrepresented backgrounds should not be excluded from participating in opportunities for which they may be the best fit.

Although RFPs and procurement processes may be designed with transparency and fairness, the result is often far from the goal. Too many agencies and consultants find themselves excluded from the process because of how demanding it can be, especially when putting together a proposal for an RFP that you have little to no connection or information to outside of a PDF. This burden falls most on small businesses and consultants. As a result, the contracting organization suffers because they are no longer exposed to the best candidates for their project, but instead, just those with the time and revenue to cover the unbillable hours that go into drafting a proposal.

We’re thrilled to have used the process with nearly a dozen other organizations, primarily nonprofits and foundations, and we love that it doesn’t always go directly into an RFP. On two occasions, we’ve convinced the organization that contacted us out of an RFP process (at our expense), which led to a quicker, lower cost, and better-fit hire for their project.

As we continue to learn and evolve, so will our processes. We invite anyone with an RFP or outsourcing project to contact us to find the best team for the job.


Alfredo Ramirez

Alfredo is the COO and CMO of Prosal. He has nearly 10 years of experience working with nonprofits and foundations, and was the founder of a successful consulting business. He is an avid mountain biker and snowboarder and enjoys anything that takes him outdoors.

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