At Nonprofit Builder, these principles guide our procurement policy:
- Quality is paramount: in all procurement we try to find quality services, whether for consultants or IT services or banking services. Quality is essential to our success. It is quality of service that attracts and retains our clients, and allows us to deliver real lasting impact.
- There is nothing like first hand experience: no amount of vetting can guarantee the quality of a provider, it's only by testing providers that we will know of their quality and relevance.
- We value long term relationships: when we find quality providers, we do our best to build long term relationships, so as to build a network of people who are deeply attuned to the needs of our clients and can work collegially as a team. This is in the best interest of our clients.
- We believe in fair pricing: when negotiating with consultants or IT service providers, we take reasonable care to offer what we consider a fair price, so that these providers will appreciate working with us on the long term and give us their best efforts. But also we do not overpay and avoid unreasonable pricing.
- We are prompt payers: nobody likes to run after receivables, especially after having delivered a good service, neither do we. For this reason we make sure we pay our service providers promptly and also that have the means to do so. Treat people like you want to be treated.
1. Procurement of consultant services
We seldom hire or vet consultants directly, but rely on referrals or recommendations from the foundations who are our clients, usually based on their first hand experience with that consultant.
In some cases, we work with consultants as part of our intermediary services we propose to foundations. This gives us the chance to test the consultants, and get to know them better. If we note that their performance is consistently unsatisfactory, we remove them from our directory and notify the foundation who invited them on board.
When we recommend a consultant to a client, we base our choice on the consultants’ expertise, we suggest 2-3 experts, and try to respect diversity (e.g. we suggest consultants from the South and from the North).
In terms of pricing, we negotiate the best deal for our clients, but at the same time we try to pay fairly because when we find high quality providers, we need to retain them over the long term. This is in the best interest of our clients and their grantees.
On the other hand, we do not work with consultants who overcharge or who are overly insistent on the monetary aspects of the relationship.
2. Procurement of software development services
We prefer very longstanding relationships with developers who cater to small businesses, use quality open source technologies and provide quality code, who are socially conscious and appreciate our social mission, who can provide stable and affordable pricing, and who make the effort to deepyl understand the work we do, so they can propose software solutions that match the needs of our clients.
3. Procurement of web and banking services
We generally look for providers who are high quality, highly reliable, and very importantly, who strive to serve small businesses like ours.