Procurement Process for Nonprofits
1. What will be Purchased
Goods and Services
Small Purchase method may be used for procuring good and services other than construction or professional services.
- Price is less than the cost limitations established by, or applicable to, the Administrator's jurisdiction
- $100,000 (nonprofits);
- Some Administrators may be subject to additional local procurement limits and regulations
- Determining factor: Lowest price
- Example: Office supplies; Equipment repair services; Inspectors; Title companies
2. Procurement Type: Small Purchase
NOTE: Should not be used for construction services
Small Purchase is a relatively simple procurement method used for securing supplies, services, or non-professional services. The Administrator submits a written or verbal request for price quotes to multiple vendors for goods or services described in detail. The Small Purchase method should only be used when the only determining factor for procurement is lowest cost.
3. Identify Staff Involved in Purchase Process
Individuals involved in the procurement process may include, but are not limited to:
- Program Director or Manager
- Construction inspector or manager
- Quality Control
- Accounting/budget/audit professionals
Avoid Conflict of Interest
Administrator must ensure there is sufficient separation of staff duties among individuals involved in the procurement process in order to avoid conflicts of interest. For example: Someone other than the person(s) conducting the purchasing processes should review and approve payment for the goods/services procured; employees in the purchasing function should not have record-keeping responsibilities in the cash disbursement system; employees involved in the receipt of goods from vendors should not be involved in the purchasing or cash disbursement processes.
Conflict of interest occurs when a "covered person" inappropriately benefits, either directly or indirectly, as a result of:
- Procurement actions taken in the administration of federal funding; or
- Receipt of assistance provided by federal funding
Covered persons include:
- All employees, officers, elected or appointed officials, and agents of the Administrator, and their family members, partners, and associates
Covered persons cannot:
- Participate in procurement of the beneficiary for contractual award or selection of the beneficiary for assistance
- Conduct business with the procured provider or the assisted individual
- Solicit or accept gratuities, favors, or items of monetary value from the procured provider or the assisted individual
One individual may assume several of the duties outlined below as long as the assignment maintains separation of duties and avoids conflict of interest.
Procurement Oversight: The individual responsible for procurement oversight assumes all responsibility for ensuring that the procurement process is compliant and timely.
Compliance with Internal Policy: The individual responsible for ensuring compliance with Administrator's internal written procurement policy and procedures must:
- Ensure free and open competition
- Use appropriate methods for soliciting goods and services in accordance with applicable rules, regulations, and policies
- Determine the best value for goods and services purchased
- Comply with local/state/federal requirements
Contract Management: The individual responsible for overseeing contract management must ensure the following factors are appropriately addressed:
- Compliance with applicable local/state/federal rules, regulations and administrative policies and procedures
- Development of contractual timelines to ensure program benchmarks are met
- Records management and documentation
- Appropriate expenditure of funds
- Quality goods and services obtained at lowest reasonable prices
- Development and negotiation of contracts/agreements awarded
- Post-procurement monitoring of contractor performance
Timeline Tracking: The individual responsible for overseeing procurement timelines must ensure that procedures are undertaken in a timely manner so that goods/services are received in sufficient time to allow compliance with program requirements and contractual benchmarks. Any variations must be acknowledged and the procurement timeline adjusted as necessary. See Step #4 for additional guidance.
Development of Scope of Work: The individual responsible for developing the Scope of Work must be qualified to assess the technical requirements for the goods/services being procured and be able to provide a detailed written description of the materials/products/services needed. See Step #5 for additional guidance.
Evaluation of Quotes Received: Administrator must designate a committee or individual responsible for the objective assessment and selection of quotes based on established evaluation criteria. See Step #8 for additional guidance.
4. Establish Timeframes
Ensure procurement procedures are undertaken in a timely manner so that goods/services are received in sufficient time to allow compliance with program requirements and contractual benchmarks. Consider the following factors:
- Time required to develop the Scope of Work
- Goods/services – requires analysis of product/services required and descriptive write-up for solicitation of quotes or proposals
- Time required to develop Cost Quotation Form
- Time required for solicitation of quotes from vendors or service providers
- Time required to review quotes
- Time required for formal approval by city/county/board (if applicable)
- Time required to develop an appropriate contract (if applicable) and execute the agreement
- Allowance for unforeseen circumstances or delay
- Allowance for potential bidder protest or appeal
- Be aware of contractual benchmarks or terms
Contract or Agreement Terms: Consider the length of the contract being awarded, and include sufficient time for the vendor/service provider to prepare, implement and finish the entire project.
Threshold or Production Timelines: Consider including performance thresholds with specific benchmark completion dates identified in the contract.
5. Develop Scope of Work
Create a thorough, detailed description of the goods/services to be purchased. Include specifications, standards, and minimum qualifications desired. Factors to be considered in the Scope of Work include, but are not limited to:
- Essential characteristics of the required product/service
- Quality and quantity of materials/products/services
- Minimum required standards for labor or materials, as applicable
- Requirements related to:
- Program rules and regulations including but not limited to:
- Historically Underutilized Businesses (HUBs)
- Section 3 (Economic Opportunities for Low Income People)
- Nondiscrimination and equal employment opportunity
- Bidder protest procedures
- Conflict of interest
- Debarment status (state and federal)
6. Create Quote
The Small Purchase method of procurement requires that quotes be obtained from several vendors. Quotes may be obtained in writing, online, or by telephone.
Develop a Cost Quotation Form for use in documenting quotes received:
- Includes detailed description of specific goods/services being purchased
- Size, color, style of goods/services being purchased
- Manufacturer catalog or model numbers (or equivalent), as applicable
Document the quote solicitation activity:
- Name of individual obtaining the quotes
- Vendor names, addresses, phone numbers
- Name of individual providing the quote for the vendor
- Prices quoted by each vendor
- Record of discussion and/or negotiation conducted
- Dates price quotes were received
- Expiration date, if applicable, for prices quoted
Include a copy of your purchase requisition or purchase order in the procurement records. Identify the final price and source of funds used for the purchase. Document the date on which the purchased goods were received. Document payment for the purchase.
7. Solicit Quotes
- Quotes may be obtained in writing, online or by telephone
- Minimum of 3 quotes from qualified vendors
8. Accept and Evaluate
Record the receipt of all quotes. Document the receipt of all information using the Sample Cost Quotation Form. Evaluate the quote information using the stated evaluation criteria and determine the most reasonable and responsible response. Confirm and document the absence of conflict of interest. Confirm and document the bidder has not been state debarred or federally debarred. Accept the lowest reasonable price offer.
9. Make Purchase
- Accept the lowest reasonable price offered. Select the responsive and most advantageous to Nonprofit: price, quality and other factors considered
- Notify the accepted vendor.
- Document your Procurement file with a copy of your purchase requisition or purchase order identifying the final price and source of funds being used for the purchase. Document the date and payment for the purchase.