Request for Proposals – Digital Mobilization Agency
RFP Issue Date: Friday, July 16, 2021
RFP Closing Date: Thursday, July 29, 2021
RFP Closing Time: 5:00PM Eastern Standard Time
Purpose // Overview of project
The Near East Foundation (NEF) is looking for an agency or consulting firm to lead the organization into a new phase of growth and donor engagement, fueled by a robust digital mobilization strategy. We are looking for an agency that can help us strategize, create, and execute effective and inspiring digital marketing solutions to generate a significant increase in revenue, create authentic digital products, build momentum, broaden interest in our story and impact, and deepen personal engagement.
Organization background and mission
The Near East Foundation (NEF) is a non-profit international development organization that has supported livelihoods recovery and community-based economic development in the Middle East, Africa, and Caucasus since 1915. NEF draws on local teams, experience, and partnerships in these regions to create community-led solutions to reduce poverty, create economic opportunity, and empower conflict and crisis-affected groups to improve their future outlook and wellbeing. Working through a network of country offices and local partners, NEF has operations in ten countries: Armenia, Jordan, Lebanon, Iraq, Mali, Morocco, Palestine, Sudan, South Sudan, and Syria. HQ offices are based between Syracuse, NY, Washington, DC, London, UK, and Brussels, Be.
NEF is at a pivotal moment in its fundraising and engagement journey, having just launched an ambitious strategy to change its income profile and to diversify its income sources. The organization has seen the success of digital strategies and campaigns across the non-profit sector and is now in a position, for the first time, to invest in this critical area.
With limited resources and expertise in this digital arena, we are looking to engage a digital mobilization agency to work with us as an extension to our fundraising team for the next year, and potentially beyond.
As we have never embarked in this area in the past, we are looking for proposals from agencies that can support in the following ways:
- Digital fundraising growth strategy: We recognize that we need to think strategically about this program of work, long term. Our systems, capacities, structures and ROI requires deep thought and planning to successfully deliver. We need support to create a strategy fit for NEF now, and in the future.
- Campaign strategy/execution & Audience insight/testing: As we are new to this area of work, we know that we do not have significant data to inform this program. We therefore need to test rapidly with a number of different campaign concepts / narratives to learn what segments resonate with our work to inform our future campaign planning.
- Creative and market-tested content development: We are looking for an agency that can help us develop great storytelling and narratives that will resonate through digital channels to take out for testing. We welcome your knowledge and expertise from working across the sector to share with us any sector insight that can inform our content
- Engaging email journeys: We need to not only build our email list, but to develop creative solutions for our email supporter journeys, using the most innovative ways to engage through email.
- Paid ad campaigns: As a part of our growth strategy we want an agency who can create and implement digital paid advertising campaigns to drive leads, in addition to immediate conversion to donations. As a part of this we expect all financial modelling to be developed to be able to demonstrate ROI for both short and long term. For this we would also consider two-step hybrid campaigns e.g., from digital lead, to telemarketing conversion to donate to regular gift
- Landing pages: We would need support to design, develop and optimize actions and fundraising forms that perform.
- Website/social product development: We will be working with another agency to refresh our website and social products. We would expect our agencies to be open to working together to share learnings from testing to inform our web content and vice versa
- Extension of team / capacity building: Our vision is to build the capacity of our staff to be able to deliver and develop digital campaigns and run our digital mobilization program without the support of agencies long term. We are keen to work with an agency who offers training and support to build the skills and knowledge of the team on digital activity
- We envision a longer-term engagement (expected 9 months to start) to achieve the project goals outlined
- Digital mobilization strategy developed and year one in implementation
- To set up systems and processes to deliver a successful digital marketing program including
financial modelling with ROI considered long term
- Creation of digital storytelling for NEF to engage new audiences
- To grow email opt-in list, optimize and engage supporters
- To deliver at least 4 testing campaigns to drive leads and donations with a view to scale up for
those creatives delivering highest return
- To build capacity of staff in fundraising and engagement team
- New supporters of NEF with an affinity for our work:
- International development and emergency response
- Connections to our countries of operation
- Affinity to issues linked to our work
NEF does not have an existing digital mobilization strategy, and has engaged donors and supporters in a very nascent and inconsistent way via online platforms (Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, LinkedIn, NEF website)
NEF is in the process of moving from NXT (Blackbaud) to Salesforce CRM. We are currently reviewing our marketing platform; however, we expect we may have to use Pardot (Salesforce partner) as our mass email platform.
This is a new area of investment for NEF so there will be an increased expectation for reporting to senior management for this program. We need to give confidence to senior management that this is a good area of investment as an untapped opportunity. We would expect our partner agency to help build confidence in the program to key stakeholders at NEF.
We know that we have powerful and inspiring stories to tell that will engage audiences, however as an organization we have not yet found the ‘sweet spot’ for communicating about the great work of NEF. We would like to use this opportunity to test and to build evidence to internal stakeholders about telling our story in a more creative way.
September 2021 start, or as soon as possible with a view to working with an agency for a minimum of 9 months.
We are looking for creative proposals that can deliver in a cost-effective way without compromising quality. We currently have 25,000 – 35,000 USD ringfenced for this area of work and are keen to hear from you about how we can maximize the return on this level of investment. We are open to hearing any creative solutions you have for working with this level of budget.
How to apply
Interested agencies must submit a proposal in electronic copy via email, on or prior to the July 29, 2021 (5pm EST) deadline to firstname.lastname@example.org (subject line: Digital Mobilization RFP). Please ensure that your proposal includes:
- a detailed work plan to your approach to achieving the desired aims as well as the estimated time frame/cost for each phase
- how you would evaluate the effectiveness of a finished project
- a portfolio of similar projects you have completed
- a brief history of your firm, qualifications/capabilities, and bios of key personnel who would be involved on the project
- 3 references that speak to past performance, experience, and customer satisfaction
All questions, inquiries, and requests for clarifications must be submitted in writing to the designated contact listed below.
Andrea Crowley, Director of Partnerships & Philanthropy
NEF may, at its sole discretion, contact vendors to solicit responses, verbal briefing or discussions if beneficial to the success of the RFP.
Potential vendors are encouraged to read this RFP in its entirety. Issuance of a solicitation does not obligate NEF to award a contract or pay for any cost incurred in the preparation and submission of a proposal.
Issuance of this RFP in no way constitutes a commitment by NEF to award a contract. NEF reserves the right to reject any or all proposals or portions of proposals received in response to this RFP, to request modification or clarification of any part of a proposal, or to cancel this RFP if it is in the best interest of NEF to do so. NEF may reject any proposal if it is considered incomplete or conditional, contains irregularities, or does not meet qualifications, requirements, or specifications. Failure to furnish all information may disqualify the proposal.