To award a contract to a vendor, a government agency typically uses one of three different procurement types: a bid, an RFP, or a grant. Each of these is included as a project category in the Online Database.
Though the term "bid" is often used generically to refer to any agency procurement, these three procurement types are technically distinct from each other in terms of what the agency is seeking to purchase, how the procurement is managed, and how the contract is awarded. Here's a basic definition of each type:
The advertisement or invitation from an agency for vendors to bid on a contract to provide goods/services as described in the scope/specification/bid document. Bid awards are typically made based on the lowest price submitted for the product or service.
Stands for "request for proposal." With this procurement type, factors in addition to cost are considered and weighted in awarding the contract, and the method of award is "best value" and not lowest price. Often, an agency will issue an RFP instead of a bid because it hasn't determined what solution is best-suited to its needs and is inviting companies to propose their own proprietary solutions and to negotiate with the agency on both the product or service being offered and its price. This type of procurement is often also referred to as a request for information (RFI) or request for quote (RFQ).
These awards are based on funds given to tax-exempt nonprofit organizations or local governments by foundations, corporations, government departments and agencies, or individuals.