The Development Source

Get the Shipley Capture Guide 3.0 for your Nonprofit Organization!

One of the many pleasures in attending the recent national conference of the Association of Proposal Management Professionals (APMP) in Dallaswas visiting the Shipley Associates booth.  Over the past few decades, Steve Shipley and Shipley Associates have probably done more to advance the proposal profession than any other company.  The new Shipley Capture Guide 3.0 (2011) by Larry Newman exemplifies this contribution.

There are many excellent capture guides available today, but I believe that the Shipley Capture Guide is the best.  I have kept earlier editions close to my desk.  This one will be no exception.

Newman sensibly defines capture planning and management with an aim:  “to progress from an initial unknown position to a favored position as viewed by the customer.”  To accomplish this aim, you must engage in capture planning, which is the “process of identifying opportunities, assessing the environment, and implementing winning strategies to capture a specific business opportunity by influencing the customer to prefer your organization and solution.”  In other words, the basic aim of capture planning is to get and keep new business.

Although the Guide is designed for businesses, I think that nonprofit organizations can learn a great deal about identifying, capturing, and keeping funders from reading this book.  This is especially true of nonprofit organizations that are trying to secure and keep government grants and contracts.  Most of Newman’s advice can be profitably used by nonprofit organizations.

According to Newman, the new guide has three aims:  (1) help individuals position their organizations to capture competitive business opportunities; (2) guide individuals in capture planning roles; and (3) record capture management and planning best-practice guidelines.  The Guide will help individuals and companies to:

  • Align capture activities with the customer’s analysis and selection process.
  • Influence the customer to prefer your organization and solution early and maintain that preference through award and delivery.
  • Base your strategy on the customer’s perspective of reality.
  • Align your actions and messages throughout the business development cycle.
  • Use decision gate reviews of potential business opportunities to determine the best manner to proceed.
  • Use color team reviews to improve your process and outcomes.

There are three simple reasons why organizations need to be thorough and thoughtful when it comes to capture planning.  As Newman points out, good capture planning will help you increase total sales revenue, reduce the costs of capturing new revenue by becoming more efficient and effective, and improve the predictability of annual revenues and net profit. 

For nonprofit organizations, this means getting support for current and new programs.

For most capture managers, there is basically one reason to use capture planning:  it helps you win new customers and keep the ones you have.  There are tons of good, practical advice in this Guide that will save you a great deal of time, resources, and heartache.

The Guide begins with a succinct six-page introduction to capture planning and then proceeds to basic capture planning topics from BD-CMM (Business Development Capability Maturity Model) to value proposition.  This roughly 150-age section is the heart of the book.

As usual in a Shipley publication, everything is presented very logically and briefly with plenty of good examples to follow.  These entries are a pleasure to read and easy to follow.  If you can develop your grant proposals as clearly and convincingly as the lucid, attractive chapters in this book, your win rate will improve.

The last 75 pages contain models documents for organizations to use in their capture processes – capture plan templates, sales letters, and sample capture plans.  These documents will help both veteran capture managers and newer individuals to develop and execute realistic capture plans that will benefit their organizations.

I strongly recommend that you purchase the Shipley Capture Guide 3.0.  It can be ordered online at  This is an indispensible book that will improve your proposals and advance your career as a proposal professional.




Article source: