Stop! What not to include in your tender or grant submission

TenderOneTender Writing

Much has been written about what to include in a tender or grant submission – but what about what not to include? It can be tempting (very tempting) to include extra information you think will boost your organisation’s chances of winning. Unfortunately, this may not be a good idea. To be honest, you may be actually wasting your time.

Before you add any additional information, stop and think a bit more about it. Only responses to questions asked and information requested as part of the tender or grant process are going to be evaluated. This is because the job of the evaluation team is to review the responses received and to compare one organisation’s responses against another. It is a case of comparing like for like – apples versus apples, oranges versus oranges.

Organisations bidding for tenders and grants may not be aware there is a lot of planning that goes into putting out a tender or grant to the market. Evaluation plans are developed prior to the release of the tender or grant and each request for information has been included for a reason. Additional information provided by organisations applying for tenders and grants may be outside the evaluation framework and as a result, efforts providing this extra information could be in vain.

What not to include:

Whilst there is probably a large list of items not to include, some examples of information that organisations are sometimes keen to provide but shouldn’t are:

  • Marketing materials – as a rule, brochures, pamphlets and flyers about your organisation and the products/services you are offering should not be included. Sometimes organisations think that including these types of materials will showcase their products and services more effectively than any answers they provide about their business. However, given these marketing materials aren’t providing a focused response to a particular question in the tender or grant, it is unlikely they will be read. Instead, focus your organisation’s efforts on answering any questions in the tender or grant in relation to experience and expertise and providing the best response you can to any questions in these areas.
  • Covering letters – this may be a surprise for some but covering letters are generally not read. This may be a bit of a blow to organisations that spend a great deal of time crafting and finessing covering letters which expound the benefits of awarding them the tender or grant. Only include a covering letter if it is requested as part of the tender response or grant application. Otherwise, there is no need to include one with your submission.
  • Extra experience information – there is no need to provide huge reams of information about projects or contracts from years ago. Try to keep examples of work current and relevant to the requirement. Ideally, examples of work should be from the last three to five years. Also, make sure your CV is current, including your photo.

For more information on the do’s and don’t’s of writing a tender or grant submission, please contact TenderOne.