REQUEST FOR PROPOSALS 

Facilitation of Strategic Planning Process

Overview

Conservation Voters of PA (CVPA) and PennFuture are requesting proposals from qualified strategic planning consultants to conduct a far-reaching and inclusive input process to inform a Strategic Plan and guide the organization’s work over the next 3-5 years. The plan will create a map forward for the organization that will be feasible and future-oriented. It will identify objectives and strategies for our future programming, facilities, leadership, community engagement, and staffing models.

The selected consultant will be responsible for assisting CVPA and PennFuture with the full scope of developing a Strategic Plan. CVPA and PennFuture are soliciting proposals for these services in accordance with the terms, conditions and instructions set forth in this Request for Proposal.

About CVPA and PennFuture

Citizens for Pennsylvania’s Future (PennFuture) was created in 1998 as a statewide environmental advocacy organization. Our mission is to lead the transition to a clean energy economy in Pennsylvania and beyond; protect our air, water, and land; and empower citizens to build sustainable communities for future generations. Since our founding, we have achieved significant legal and policy victories that reduce pollution and protect the environment. With offices in Harrisburg, Pittsburgh, Philadelphia, Mt. Pocono, and Erie, our team litigates cases in local, state, and federal courts and before administrative tribunals; advances legislative and regulatory action on a state and federal level; provides public education; assists citizens in public advocacy; and encourages Pennsylvanians to engage in the democratic process.

CVPA is the statewide political voice for the environment. We elect environmentally responsible candidates to state and local offices, advocate for strong environmental policies, and hold our elected officials accountable to safeguard the health of our communities, the beauty of our state, and the strength of our economy. CVPA was launched in 2009 as a state affiliate of the League of Conservation Voters.

Starting in 2016, PennFuture and CVPA formed a “strategic alliance”. Based on the shared goal of building a stronger environmental movement, both organizations crafted a Memorandum of Understanding and a Cost Share Agreement that governs the ability to share staff and expenses in order to do more good work with less resources. Through the strategic alliance, PennFuture created a Civic Engagement program, which encompasses the Field Team and Democracy for All. The field team works on public education, advocacy, and volunteer recruitment and is managed jointly by CVPA and PennFuture, with staff spending time on behalf of both organizations. Democracy for All works on voter registration and is managed by the Vice President for Civic Engagement (the C3 title for CVPA’s Executive DIrector) and the Executive Vice President & Chief of Staff at PennFuture. Outside of civic engagement, other teams at CVPA and PennFuture coordinate at varying levels. 

Scope of Requested Work

Although this is a joint RFP, the work undertaken by the consultant will largely be done separately for each organization, with some portions, likely around racial justice and equity, civic engagement, and democracy work done jointly.

We anticipate this work will include the following:

  • An assessment of the current status of the organization, its mission, vision, and values, and the context in which we work – external and internal;
  • A process that incorporates racial justice, equity, and inclusion throughout both the planning and the resulting strategic plan;
  • Conversations with a diverse group of stakeholders (both internal and external) about the future of our organization and the key role it plays in our community; and
  • Participation of both board and staff through both separate and combined discussions.

 Our desired outcome is a new five-year Strategic Plan (although we are open to a different timeframe if our planning leads us there). The plan should provide solid directional guidance, yet allow us to continue to quickly respond to strategic opportunities and challenges.

Budget

We have budgeted up to $30,000 for this work. Please indicate in your proposal whether your approach to this work would fit with this budget or how it would need to be adjusted.

Proposal Submission Requirements

The following schedule applies to this RFP, but may change in accordance with our needs or unforeseen circumstances:

Issuance of RFP - December 13, 2022

Technical Questions/Inquiries Due - January 11, 2023, 5:00 P.M. EST

Proposals and Work Samples Due - January 23, 2023, 5:00 P.M. EST

Phone interviews with Finalists - January 26-30, 2023     

Estimated Date of Selection Notification - February 1, 2023        

PennFuture/CVPA Joint Staff Retreat - February 8-10, 2023

Questions related to this RFP should be emailed to hillary@conservationpa.org no later than 5:00 PM ET on January 11, 2023. All questions and the responses will be emailed to RFP respondents on January 16, 2023. If you would like to receive responses to all questions posed, please send an email to hillary@conservationpa.org.

All proposals must be received by 5:00 pm EST on January 23, 2023. Proposals received after this deadline will not be given primary consideration. A transmittal letter and proposal should be sent to hillary@conservationpa.org as a PDF. The subject line should be Strategic Planning Proposal. Other formats will not be accepted. Proposals will be accepted from both firms and individual consultants. Consultants selected for further consideration must be available for a telephone interview during the timeframe of January 26-30, 2023.

The proposal itself should be no more than six pages in length and should address the complete scope of work and deliverable. Work samples, including examples of strategic plans and other relevant information, may be submitted as links or as appendices, and are not counted in the page limit. Proposals should include the following sections:

  1. Cover Letter
    1. The cover letter should include:
      1. Point of contact address, telephone number, email address, and website
      2. Any exceptions to the outlined scope of work
      3. Whether your firm is a minority or woman-owned business
  2. Organization/Consultant Background
    1. The proposal should describe the consultant’s qualifications to conduct the scope of work as well as your expertise, knowledge, and experience. 
    2. Experience should include examples of conducting similar or related strategic planning work; working with environmental nonprofits; and knowledge of Pennsylvania and its political players.
  3. Statement of Proposed Work
    1. This statement of proposed work should outline your methodology and work plan, including whether activities will take place virtually or in person, and should include the following information:
      1. Planning
      2. Information gathering and analysis, including conversations with key internal and external stakeholders
      3. Proposed timeline
      4. Methods for ensuring equity and inclusion are incorporated into the process and outcomes
      5. Proposed plan for joint discussions between PennFuture and CVPA 
      6. Goals and outcomes development
      7. Implementation
      8. Documentation and communication
  4. Budget
    1. The budget proposal should include total costs for performing all tasks proposed in the work plan. Please break the budget out by major task and planned deliverable(s) and if billed based on hours should include proposed labor categories, their hourly rates, and number of hours. Please note that your proposal should include costs for creating TWO final products: a plan for CVPA and a plan for PennFuture. 
    2. Any other expected costs, such as travel, etc. should also be provided. The price proposal should describe all underlying budget assumptions and include a payment schedule tied to project milestones and/or deliverables.
  5. Previous Work Product
    1. The proposal should include at least two examples of work similar to the scope of work requested within this RFP (i.e., strategic plan). 
    2. We also encourage but do not require a list of similar work or clients in the last five years.
  6. References
    1. The proposal should include at least three references of individuals who can speak to their experience with the consultant in conducting projects of similar scope. Information regarding each reference should include the individual’s name, address, telephone number, and email address. 
    2. Submitting the references and proposal indicate consent for CVPA and PennFuture to contact the references.

Service Period

The period of performance for the strategic planning consultant will begin no later than February 1, 2023 and end by June 30, 2023.

Qualifications

Consultants should be experienced in working with organizations in the development of a responsive and a long-term strategic plan. In addition, experience working with environmental, advocacy, policy and/or Pennsylvania statewide organizations is preferred. The successful proposer will work directly with the Strategic Planning Committee and the Executive Director of CVPA and the President and CEO of PennFuture to ensure all activities in this project are completed.

We believe the consultant should possess the following qualifications to be successful:

  • Experience successfully developing consensus-based strategic plans that place equity at the forefront and consider every decision through an equity lens
  • Experience gathering and utilizing data to inform the strategic planning process
  • Knowledge of Pennsylvania’s political landscape and its key players, and/or experience working with policy-oriented environmental nonprofit organizations
  • Strong facilitation and listening skills and experience creating a neutral and productive environment to successfully solicit input from individuals from various stakeholder groups
  • Experience with change management and project management
  • Knowledge of communications, branding, budgeting, and resource development

Proposal Evaluation Criteria

The evaluation of each response will be based on demonstrated competence, compliance, format, and organization:

  • Approach, thoroughness, and completeness of the proposal (30%)
  • References and past performance with political, policy and/or environmental organizations (25%)
  • Expertise in participatory processes, including (effectively engaging stakeholders, and employing planning techniques that prioritize equity and inclusion (30%)
  • Price (10%)
  • Minority or women-owned business (5%)

Inquiries

Questions that help clarify the work to be completed can be submitted to hillary@conservationpa.org. Inquiries by email are preferred; telephone calls can be arranged via email as necessary.

CVPA and PennFuture reserve the right to adjust these criteria at any time. We reserve the right to determine which respondents have met the base requirements of this RFP. CVPA and PennFuture reserve the right to award the contract in accordance with our best interest and will not be required to accept the lowest-priced proposal.