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Tips for Submitting a DM Proposal to USTDA

A Definitional Mission (DM) contractor must analyze and, occasionally, identify projects to be recommended for USTDA funding. To be selected, the DM team must possess strong technical and financial experience and propose an aggressive strategy to perform the DM. In many cases, USTDA seeks DM teams with project implementation experience beyond a mere consulting background.

Your first DM contract will likely require several attempts before breaking through with a win. Below is a list of tips for submitting a successful DM proposal:

  • Many proposals show technical expertise, but lack financial depth. Since the technical experience in proposals is often comparable, many DM selections are made based on the quality of the financial experience. For example, include an individual on your team who has substantial contacts with financing institutions. In the case of a public sector project, the financing specialist should have experience and contacts with the International Financing Institutions, such as the World Bank, European Bank for Reconstruction and Development, African Development Bank, Inter-American Development Bank and Asian Development Bank.
  • Review recent DM reports (available from the USTDA library) to familiarize yourself with the scope and tasks entailed in a DM. Reading previous DM reports will also give you a sense of the financial analysis required and list individuals who have performed the financing tasks in the past. Please note that the agency can only publicly distribute Definitional Mission reports that have been confirmed not to include any business proprietary information.
  • Although many Request for Proposals (RFPs) target specific projects to be analyzed, the best scoring proposals show original research during the preparation for the DM. Where appropriate, include your knowledge and analysis of the projects with background information. Each proposal should be tailored to the specific tasks at hand. Too often, USTDA sees evidence of "cutting and pasting" from previous DM proposals, with different countries and projects mentioned.
  • Specify how your experience will enhance the effectiveness of the DM. Because technical experience is often comparable, highlight your applicable experiences to differentiate your experience from the other proposals.
  • The strategy should demonstrate an understanding of the tasks proposed in the RFP and offer a method of undertaking these tasks. The best proposals have well-conceived milestones and project development plans. A demonstrated understanding of how best to go about meeting the objectives listed is key. Again, focus on the elements that make your proposal unique.
  • Proofread the proposal before submitting.