Request for Proposals for Communications and Marketing Services

The Community Foundation for Southeast Michigan focuses on making a lasting, positive and permanent impact on our region. It represents more than 30 years of improvements, complex problem solving and partnering with donors so that their legacy becomes part of permanent change in Southeast Michigan.

For all the great work that the Community Foundation does, we are interested in significantly increasing our visibility in southeast Michigan, the state and on a national stage. As one of the leading Community Foundations in the country, the opportunity exists to engage and increase our donor base as well as to step forward as a thought-leader in solving many community challenges.

The Community Foundation has embarked on a new strategic plan to serve the region. An important initiative over the next 2-3 years will be to make that plan and positive impacts visible to those we serve.

Our communications strategy is:

  • Position the Community Foundation as a thought-leader in philanthropy through education and by demonstrating the impact of the work.
  • Increase visibility with target audiences.
  • Align communications efforts between the master Community Foundation brand and several of its initiatives and,
  • Ensure the most effective use of communications resources.

The Community Foundation touches a broad set of focus areas such as health and human services, youth sports, arts and culture, and more. We have programs and initiatives that support nonprofits in social justice as well as trails and public spaces. These programs and initiatives require communications support such as storytelling, website updates, brand management, event support, graphic design, and content creation.

In addition to the strategic partnership a strong agency will provide, we seek to have one agency that can provide support across the organization with attention to the master brand and several programs. The Community Foundation needs assistance with consolidating our communications support to raise up the Community Foundation as a leader in philanthropy and assist in the visibility of our grantmaking.

The Community Foundation marketing and communications team includes:

  • Vice President of Marketing and Communications
  • Communications Officer, responsible for leading content development
  • Digital Communications Officer, responsible for marketing and communications strategy engagement
  • Graphic Design Manager, responsible for developing graphic design solutions
  • Events Coordinator and Marketing Specialist, responsible for event coordination for the Community Foundation
  • Communications Associate, responsible for assisting programs with communications needs
  • Communications Associate, responsible for internal communications and social media outreach

Target Audiences

Our target personas reference document can be found here.

  • Philanthropists
  • Professional Advisors
  • Foundation Partners
  • Grant Recipients
  • Community Donors

Current Communications Channels

What We Are Looking For

The strategic communications partner will serve as the day-to-day interface with the Community Foundation’s Communications and Marketing team and will be compensated on a monthly retainer basis. The work will include, but is not limited to assisting the Community Foundation and its branded initiatives with:

  • Strategic counsel
  • Ad buying
  • Search Engine Optimization
  • Market research
  • Media training
  • Story pitching and writing
  • Identifying speaking engagement opportunities
  • Media tracking
  • Event support
  • Graphic design
  • Website design/development
  • Some communications management (social media posting, email building, website updates, etc.)

About You

To be considered for this partnership, please provide the following about your agency:

  • History of your agency
  • Agency contact information
  • Number of fulltime employees and locations of offices
  • Ownership structure
  • Primary clients and names of key staff
  • Brief case studies
  •  The values and principles of your agency that make you unique
  •  What makes your agency unique in general
  • Your in-house capabilities and where you would partner with diverse sub-contractors
  • How your organization demonstrates a commitment to Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion
  • How you will partner with the Community Foundation to help reach its goals:
    • Overall approach and why we should choose your agency
    • Approach to working on the master brand, and specific program needs
    • Who would be assigned to the Community Foundation and who will serve as the day-to-day lead
    • Results will be measure by a mutually agreeable set of metrics
    • Cost structure / retainer fee

How to Submit Your Proposal

Please use this link to submit a zipped folder of your RFP materials. For questions, contact Ashley Collins at

Frequently Asked Questions

What is the timeline?

The deadline to submit a proposal is close of business day on August 11, 2023 with a final decision being made in September and a start date of January 2, 2024.

Does the Community Foundation  have an established brand/voice?

Yes, you can download our brand style guide here.

Who do you see as your strongest competitors?

Large investment/financial planning companies such as Fidelity and Schwab.

In what ways are you “winning” in comparison to those competitors? Areas for improvement?

The Community Foundation is the local expert that understands community needs and has the partnerships in the local market. We also offer tailored philanthropic services for donors.

What areas do you believe represent your best opportunities for thought leadership?

Current philanthropy trends, endowment building for nonprofits. We also have amazing staff that have expertise in these areas: early arts and culture, youth sports, economic development, health and human services, youth philanthropy, social justice, and more.

Are you seeking to position the Community Foundation leaders as thought leaders, or the organization at large? Or both?

Both. We want people to think of the Community Foundation when thinking about their own philanthropic vision. We can help bring that vision to life while making it easy on them to ensure money is used how it is intended by the donor.

Who at the Community Foundation will be involved in the agency selection?

The Marketing and Communications team, VP of Donor Services, VP of Program, CFO and President will help with the selection.

What is the budget?

We anticipate the annual budget to be between $400,000 and $600,000. This will include all staff support, strategic counsel, content creation, (Including content for annual reports for a few initiatives), pitching, story development, social and website changes to the master brand website and initiative sites. (See services requested section of RFP)

For story pitching and writing, approximately what percentage of stories will require the agency partner to coordinate with one or more additional organizations (ex: grantees)?

Our program team will need some interview, photography, and/or video support for storytelling purposes that would include connecting with additional organizations such as our grantee partners. Our primary focus for a partner is to have an aggressive approach to actively pitch media, to proactively seek opportunities to keep us top of mind as experts for national and local media and tell the story of the impact we have in the community.

Are you only interested in pursuing retainer-based agency support? Are you open to billed-hourly-as-incurred proposals with a not-to-exceed amount?

Open to both.