Technology platforms help districts to network and increase quality responses to RFP.
GUEST COLUMN | by Rachel Wisnefski
Traditionally, districts have been limited to those connections and networks that they are able to foster within their immediate geographic location or through attending conferences. With the development of social media platforms, district leaders were then able to use technology to expand their networks a little more.
However, the functionalities of these sites and the ability to search can be narrow and cumbersome. As with other organizations and professions, networking and relationship building is done for a variety of reasons.
Fostering leads to potential opportunities, vetting other professionals in the industry, and sharing best practices are just some of the advantages gained from expanding one’s network.
These relationships and connections are important for school districts when navigating the RFP and bond process for multiple reasons:
1. Districts can locate other districts that may have the same purchasing needs and then participate in group purchases.
2. Districts can share experiences with certain solution providers and make more informed decisions in the selection process.
3. Districts can share best practices in their RFP solicitation process leading to an increase in quality solution provider response rates.
4. Districts can also share best practices in their bond planning and how to successfully pass a bond/levy.
In the past, district administrators were limited to their own networks and had to rely on traditional email and telephone to share documents or information with each other. That was until the advent of online networking sites for K-12 district administrators.
Healthy Competition, Driving Costs Down
A prime example: the SchoolBondNetwork site provides multiple functionalities to K-12 district administrators including the ability to expand their networks, rate and review solution providers, and share RFP or bond documents (.doc, .pdf, etc) as well as advertise their RFPs.
This new platform assist in facilitating a larger network for K-12 district administrators nationwide—it also increases the quality and responses to their RFPs for capital improvement projects. In doing so, it brings about healthy competition and drives costs down for districts in a time that every dollar, every cent, is vital.
SchoolBondNetwork is the sister company to SchoolBondFinder, another tech solution geared towards K-12 solution providers. SchoolBondFinder is an online database tracking K-12 bond/levy activity in the U.S. for solution providers. The RFPs that district administrators advertise through SchoolBondNetwork are posted publicly on the SchoolBondFinder website and also “pushed” to their extensive list of solution provider subscribers.
146 Billion Actionable Dollars
As of this writing, the finder platform is tracking $146,162,722,818 in school bond/levy activity in the U.S. Those are actionable dollars that solution providers can easily locate through the database which provides detail on the items included in the bond/levy, district contact information, as well as primary source documentation.
Whether a school district leader or an education solution provider, better visibility into successful bond and levy activities around the U.S. can have a lasting, positive impact on outcomes for districts, students, and providers.
Rachel Wisnefski, Ph.D., is Vice President of Sales & Marketing at The Amos Group and has over 15 years of extensive experience in public policy and education. She has served as a consultant to emerging international education technology companies to assist them in gaining competitive advantage in the U.S. K-12 market. Write to: [email protected]