Proposal Development

Unsolicited Proposal

Unsolicited proposals are written proposals received by the government from a contractor that is not in response to published Requests for Information (RFI), Broad Agency Announcement (BAA), or Requests for Proposal (RFP).

Definition: An Unsolicited Proposal is a written application for a new or innovative idea submitted to a Federal agency on the initiative of the offeror for the purpose of obtaining a contract with the government, and that is not in response to a Request for Proposals, Broad Agency Announcement, Program Research and Development Announcement, or any other Government-initiated solicitation or program. (GSA)

FAR .2.101 Definition: An “unsolicited proposal,” means a written proposal for a new or innovative idea that is submitted to an agency on the initiative of the offeror for the purpose of obtaining a contract with the Government, and that is not in response to a request for proposals, Broad Agency Announcement, Small Business Innovation Research topic, Small Business Technology Transfer Research topic, Program Research and Development Announcement, or any other Government-initiated solicitation or program.

Purpose of Unsolicited Proposals

The purpose of an unsolicited proposal is to allow unique and innovative ideas or approaches that have been developed outside the Government to be made available to Government agencies for use in the accomplishment of their missions. Unsolicited proposals are offered with the intent that the Government will enter into a contract with the offeror for research and development or other efforts supporting the Government’s mission, and often represent a substantial investment of time and effort by the offeror.

Unsolicited Proposals Main Reference

Website: FAR Subpart 15.6 – Unsolicited Proposals

Unsolicited Proposal Content

An unsolicited proposal should contain sufficient information to permit consideration of the proposal in an objective and timely manner. A valid unsolicited proposal must: [1]

  1. Be innovative and unique;
  2. Be independently originated and developed by the offeror;
  3. Be prepared without Government supervision, endorsement, direction, or direct Government involvement;
  4. Include sufficient detail to permit a determination that Government support could be worthwhile and the proposed work could benefit the agency’s research and development or other mission responsibilities;
  5. Not be an advance proposal for a known agency requirement that can be acquired by competitive methods; and
  6. Not address a previously published agency requirement.
    • Unsolicited proposals in response to a publicized general statement of agency needs are considered to be independently originated.
    • Agencies must evaluate unsolicited proposals for energy-savings performance contracts in accordance with the procedures in 10 CFR 436.33(b).

Information that should be included in an unsolicited proposal includes: [1]

  • Offeror’s name and address and type of organization; e.g., profit, nonprofit, educational, small business
  • Names and telephone numbers of technical and business personnel to be contacted for evaluation or negotiation purposes
  • Identification of proprietary data to be used only for evaluation purposes
  • Names of other Federal, State, or local agencies or parties receiving the proposal or funding the proposed effort
  • Date of submission
  • Signature of a person authorized to represent and contractually obligate the offeror.
  • Concise title and abstract (approximately 200 words) of the proposed effort
  • A reasonably complete discussion stating the objectives of the effort or activity, the method of approach and extent of effort to be employed, the nature and extent of the anticipated results, and the manner in which the work will help to support the accomplishment of the agency’s mission
  • Names and biographical information on the offeror’s key personnel who would be involved, including alternates
  • Type of support needed from the agency; e.g., Government property or personnel resources
  • Proposed price or total estimated cost for the effort in sufficient detail for meaningful evaluation
  • Period of time for which the proposal is valid (a 6-month minimum is suggested)
  • Type of contract preferred
  • Proposed duration of effort
  • Brief description of the organization, previous experience, relevant past performance, and facilities to be used
  • Other statements, if applicable, about organizational conflicts of interest, security clearances, and environmental impacts
  • The names and telephone numbers of agency technical or other agency points of contact already contacted regarding the proposal

Invalid Unsolicited Proposal

There following are reasons an unsolicited proposal could be thrown out.

  • There is already a proposal in the works or on the street.
  • No unique offering that can be offered by many other companies
  • Not clear in its details
  • An extension of an already active program
  • Purpose to avoid competition
  • Creates a conflict of interest
  • An alternate proposal submitted because of any solicitation issued by an agency

Unsolicited Proposal Evaluation

If a proposal is sent in without being asked, and it meets the criteria listed, it will be thoroughly evaluated by the right technical area staff. In accordance with FAR Subpart 15.606-2, technical staff will use the following as basic criteria when evaluating unsolicited proposals, along with other factors that are appropriate:

  • Methods, approaches, or ideas in the proposal that relate to DFAS’s mission and are new, creative, and useful.
  • The proposal’s overall scientific, technical, or socioeconomic value.
  • Possible connection between the work and the Agency’s mission.
  • The offeror’s skills, related experience, facilities, techniques, or unique combinations of these things that are key to reaching the proposal’s goals.
  • The qualifications, skills, and experience of the proposed principal investigator, team leader, or key personnel are important to reaching the proposal’s goals.
  • Whether this proposal is very similar to an upcoming purchase or need. • If the Government can get this capability from another source without any restrictions.
  • If there are funds for the current fiscal year.
  • The reality of the cost that was proposed.
  • Other things that aren’t mentioned.
  • Recommendations or questions for the submitter that the evaluators may want to ask.

Before Submitting an Unsolicited Proposal

Before putting time and effort into making a detailed proposal, the Proposer should talk to a government Contracting Officer of the office they want to submit the unsolicited proposal to. This preliminary contact lets the Proposer find out:

  • What kind of work is already being done in a certain field;
  • If the proposed work is related enough to the current mission to warrant a formal submission;
  • How much money is already being spent in that field; and
  • If the government is interested in the kind of work being proposed.

AcqLinks and References:

Updated: 3/9/2023

Rank: G12

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