Applying Sports Gambling Concepts to RFP Responses

The non-profit sector, often characterized by limited resources and high competition for funding, requires innovative and strategic approaches to secure resources. Interestingly, concepts from sports gambling can provide valuable insights for non-profits, especially when responding to Requests for Proposals (RFPs). This blog explores how applying sports betting strategies like understanding expected value can enhance a non-profit’s strategic planning and decision-making.

Understanding Expected Value in Sports Gambling and RFPs

Expected value (EV) in sports gambling is a concept used to determine the anticipated value of a bet over time. It’s calculated by multiplying the probability of winning by the amount you could win per bet, and subtracting the probability of losing multiplied by the amount lost per bet. In the context of RFPs, EV can be understood as the potential value of a proposal, considering the likelihood of winning the bid and the benefits (financial and otherwise) it would bring to the organization.

For non-profits, applying the EV concept means carefully evaluating each RFP opportunity. Just as a savvy gambler wouldn’t place a bet on every game, non-profits shouldn’t respond to every RFP. Instead, they should assess the probability of winning the bid (based on factors like past successes, organizational strengths, and alignment with the RFP’s requirements) and weigh it against the potential benefits and costs (staff time, resources, etc.).

Analyzing Odds and Making Informed Decisions

In sports betting, understanding odds is crucial. Odds represent the probability of an event occurring and are usually set by bookmakers. For non-profits, this translates into evaluating the “odds” or likelihood of a successful RFP response. This involves researching past awardees, understanding the funder’s priorities, and realistically assessing your organization’s capabilities and fit.

Risk Management

Bettors often use strategies to manage risks, such as diversifying their bets. Similarly, non-profits should diversify their funding sources. Relying solely on RFPs is risky. Including a mix of funding sources, like donations, grants, and service fees, can provide financial stability. When considering an RFP, evaluate the risk it poses to your resource allocation and the potential impact on other funding sources.

The Long Game: Building a Track Record

Successful gamblers know the importance of playing the long game, building a track record, and learning from each bet. Non-profits should adopt a similar mindset when responding to RFPs. Each proposal, whether successful or not, is an opportunity to refine skills, understand funders better, and build a reputation in the sector. Maintain records of proposals submitted, feedback received, and lessons learned for continuous improvement.


Just as sports gamblers analyze and strategize to increase their chances of success, non-profits can apply similar concepts when planning their responses to RFPs. Understanding expected value, analyzing odds, managing risks, and playing the long game are strategies that can enhance a non-profit’s approach to securing funding. By thinking like a sports gambler, non-profits can make more strategic decisions, allocate resources wisely, and ultimately increase their impact.

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