Top 5 Reasons to Avoid Using an RFP for your Membership Site


This tool will help you decide on which type of membership site is right for your association.

Ready for a New Membership Site

Your association is ready to take the plunge. You are ready to rebuild your membership site. You are on the hunt for the right service provider to take this journey with you to create a membership site that will engage and delight your members. Managing your association and keeping membership engagement high is your top priority. 

Finding a service provider through a Request for Proposal (RFP) is the go-to process for traditionalists. Luckily for associations, the trends are turning to a more productive way to find the best service provider for your organization. 

This blog will outline the top 5 reasons why an RFP is an antiquated process to find the right developers and website platform for your membership site. Let’s learn how to find the right membership site development team that meets your needs!

1. A Time Consuming Process

The process of making an RFP can be long and tedious. It requires time and resources from the association to draft, consider the bidders’ suggestions, and implement the changes to create the final RFP.

After all that, you still have to go through all the bids and negotiations before making the decision to choose the bidder. The multitude of steps simply does not add value to the association or its members.

2. A Distraction from Your Members

All of the work and attention to make an RFP takes your staff’s time. This tedious process requires a skillful balance of both detail and vagueness in its documentation. 

Each step in the RFP process takes significant time from the association instead of focusing on its members. It takes a lot of time and collaboration from your teams to create an RFP. Your team then manages the negotiations and picks the best option for a field it is not an expert of.

Just think, while you spend time in the process of selecting a bidder, you could already be starting on the project that your association actually needs.

3. Non Experts Preparing Technical Documents

From the get-go, the burden is on the association to determine the best possible solution to a problem that it isn’t an expert on. A membership or professional association is an expert in its own field but not necessarily a specialist in the project it is making an RFP of. 

Take for example a professional association that needs a membership site. Their members may be experts in certain fields like medicine, construction, education, or bird watching. Their association staff may have limited time and resources to draft the requirements for a membership website.

Without the technical know-how and expertise in that field of membership website, the association may not know exactly what to look for in a membership site. Let the experts help you so you can focus on your membership benefits.

4. The Temptation of the Lowest Bidder Trap

Now it’s time to choose the bidder that will make the membership site for your association. You look at all the proposals and most likely choose the cheapest one. After all, they all comply with your RFP process and meet all your requirements. 

Cheaper isn’t always better, the same way that the most expensive bid isn’t always the best. A bidder can make the low price just to close the deal and later on, add more expenses as the development goes. Prices on RFP bids do not guarantee quality. 

5. Enjoying the Partnership  

During the bidding process, the bidder can put their best foot forward just to close the deal. Upon signing the contract and actually working with them, you might feel that the working relationship isn’t ideal for your association. 

The RFP process may be over when you choose the bidder but the work is just beginning for your association. The result of your project can be greatly affected by the quality of your collaboration with the winning bidder.

A Better Alternative To The RFP

Now that we understand why an RFP is not the best option for your association, let’s look at your alternatives to getting the membership site of your dreams. 

Your association still needs a membership site that delivers value to your members and grows your membership. You want to get the best for your association and your members but don’t know where to start. Let’s look at how to make the process or getting the best solution work for you.

Listen to our podcast episode with Natasha Golinsky, Lead Software Project Manager at On Purpose Projects, How to Prepare a Comprehensive Project Plan for Non-Techies. We talk about how to plan your website project, define the scope of your project, and land on time and on budget!

Think Strategy

Let an expert help you make the process strategic and goal-oriented. Look for an expert who specializes in member-based organizations and knows strategies for increased member engagement. It is also important for an expert to understand the membership life cycle and have a great understanding of association culture.

Work with a membership expert and start with a strategic goal for your association. The goal helps you determine where and how you see your organization in the future. 

Create a roadmap to achieve the best membership site for your association. Followed by a series of workshops with varying levels of involvement from your organization and an expert guiding you along the way. 

By focusing on strategic goals and working with experts, all the work and effort are aimed at making your association better. 

Not sure how to start a roadmap? Let us help you! Look at our Website Redesign Workshop exclusive for associations.

Use Time Efficiently

Instead of time spent on defining your criteria in an RFP, and waiting for proposals and negotiations, you can focus on strategic goals for your association. Your goals will help define the features of your membership site. 

While the experts provide you with their insights, know-how, and the right tools for the trade. Together, you can start sooner on rebuilding your membership site.

The sooner you rebuild your membership site, the sooner you can implement your strategies to grow your membership.

Use Experts

Working together with a membership site specialist combines their expertise with your association’s interests to make the best possible solution for your members.

Look for an expert in membership sites with a passion for learning. Make the most of the resources they offer your association. Join webinars that share valuable insights to help your association grow. Listen to podcasts with membership industry experts discussing timely topics. 

Experts with Solution and Quality Customer Support

Also, look for an expert that provides both the solution and the support. An ideal expert is one that supports you from determining your association’s goal to working with you to make the membership site to making sure it is up and running all the time.

A membership site expert should provide you with honest feedback on what is best for your association. Whether it is a custom-made membership site or a simple membership platform, a membership site specialist will help you and your association. 

A membership site expert knows what membership sites should be. Now, it’s your association’s time to show your members how it could be.

Getting Started

Wherever your association is in your growth journey, a good place to start is with our Membership Site Workshop.  We help you continue your momentum, capture your leads, and renew members.

Join A Webinar To Learn More

Join an upcoming webinar or live podcast to learn more about member engagement, member retention, and creating user journeys for your membership site!


Farhad Khan, CEO

A tech entrepreneur specialized in creating membership websites for professional associations to increase member engagement. My background is as an engineer for Nortel and Ericsson. I started my own tech company in 2009 to help associations and nonprofits solve their challenges with my digital technology skills.