Due Date: 9/29/23 5:00PM


Being “banked” isn’t just an adjective; it is, in fact, a critical component of financial stability. Having and using a basic transactional account both facilitates critical everyday transactions, and at the same time provides a core foundation for other financial successes. Barriers to accessing the financial mainstream often necessitate the use of alternative financial services—such as check cashers, payday lenders, and pawn shops— that usually are more expensive than banks and credit unions. Unbanked consumers who rely on alternative financial services must pay to access their own money, are charged for every transaction, and have limited opportunities to save for the acquisition of assets or financial emergencies.

Creating pathways towards greater financial security for all people, particularly people of color, must include sound, collaborative approaches as well as access to appropriate resources that allow for the implementation of long-term, sustainable policies and practices that eliminate the systematic barriers that leave room for discriminatory and predatory financial practices to prevail.

Based on demonstrated program need, the Bank On CLE Coalition was formed in 2021 and a committed group of community members representing a diverse group of individuals and organizations, focuses on the following objectives:

1) Build a coalition able to influence change of banking policies and products that impede the economic mobility of low-income and BIPOC households, using racial equity as our guiding framework.

  •  Awareness – Acknowledge and raise awareness of the historical and persistent disadvantages BIPOC individuals and small businesses have experienced establishing/building a banking relationship.
  •  Access – Drive the equitable access to banking, services and lending products that support asset building through savings, home ownership and business start-up and expansion.
  •  Metrics – Create metrics that organizations agree to track and measure success in serving LMI and historically underserved BIPOC individuals and communities.
  •  Membership – Solicit membership and convene a diverse group of cross-sector partners with the goal of breaking down silos and developing cross-sector integration partnerships.

2) Create a pathway for unbanked and underbanked households, in particular BIPOC individuals to gain access to a banking relationship beginning with a safe, appropriate, affordable checking account

  •  All FDIC banks in Cleveland will offer a CFE Certified Checking Account (Get Certified Here)
  • This Request For Qualifications (RFQ) document is the property of the City of Cleveland Department of Community Development. It contains proprietary information about the business of the City of Cleveland.
  •  Identify integration partners serving low-to-moderate income (LMI) and BIPOC individuals and nascent business owners to support the opening of Bank On certified accounts.
  •  Partners will leverage evidence-based best practices with the goal of creating pathways towards other financial products and services when needed
  •  Commit to seek out new or innovative solutions that meet the needs of LMI and BIPOC individuals
  •  Create a consumer/client and community focused affirmative marketing strategy

3) Establish data tracking and evaluation process with the goal of monitoring progress and informing decision-making

  •  Identify the tools, software, and systems necessary to track and measure success
  •  Identify gaps in data needed to increase equitable outcomes, who can fill and engage partners/consultants in closing those gaps.
  •  Create transparent and regular communication/distribution channels (e.g., reports, white papers, newsletter, social media posts, email) to share results, progress with the public.


The Bank On CLE coalition is seeking a consultant to create a comprehensive communications and marketing plan. This communications plan will begin with hosting client focus groups and then use the input and feedback provided to develop: 1) a public awareness campaign; and 2) an integrated advertising/marketing campaign that raises awareness that certified accounts are available and where possible, promote it with program integration opportunities.


• Client focus groups: November/December 2023

• Collateral created to support Bank On and program integrations: January/February 2024

• Bank On awareness campaign: TBD

• Estimated budget including consulting time and direct advertising expenses: $50,000


  • Bank On CLE Communication Plan
  • Strategy for public awareness communication plan
  • Strategy for promoting safe, affordable bank account opening with program integration
  • Recommendations for launching a balanced approach to using multiple channels of
  • promotion along with proposed timeline for each campaign
  • Branding guidelines
  • Consistent, Culturally Competent Messaging
  • Messaging on access to safe, affordable bank accounts and other financial well-being
  • and/or wealth-building programs
  • Identify and map if there are different perspectives for individuals who are unbanked vs
  • underbanked
  • Create vehicles/tactical plans for effectively communicating with each audience
  • Translation of materials into other languages as identified
  • This Request For Qualifications (RFQ) document is the property of the City of Cleveland Department of Community Development. It contains
  • proprietary information about the business of the City of Cleveland.
  • Collateral
  • Tailored to promote safe, affordable bank accounts AND collateral tailored for
  • grassroots, neighborhood-based promotion that includes door knocking scripts,
  • brochures, flyers, and community meeting materials
  • Negotiate and Purchase Placement of Mass Marketing Advertisements
  • Radio, television, print media, and direct marketing such as billboards, RTA bus signs,
  • yard signs, neighborhood kiosks, postcards, posters, and community publications
  • Social Media Content
  • Twitter, Instagram, Facebook, e-newsletters for Bank On channels
  • Sample posts for partners to use and distribute
  • Alternative Modes of Mass Communication
  • Content creation for texting, letters, and robo-calls
  • Toolkit for Various Partners and Stakeholder Groups
  • Using existing collateral and promotional items to preserve branding guidelines but
  • allows for personalization by each program integration partner
  • Community Outreach
  • Resident Focus groups– ensuring safe and inviting forums for residents to share their
  • stories, delve deep in understanding perspectives and root causes of barriers and solicit
  • resident recommendations on banking action and policies.
  • Outreach should be spread across city neighborhoods, specifically those that have been
  • historically underserved.

o With Coalition oversight, organize all aspects of focus group logistics, including providing incentives. Summarize findings from each focus group through comprehensive notes, which include raw notes of discussion such as participant quotes, summaries, and key policy recommendations. Minimal formatting or design would be required to complete this task.

 Monthly Reporting

o Summaries of marketing and outreach, including frequency and audience reach to be included in coalition funding reports. The report should identify leading obstacles the unbanked and underbanked communities face in regards to financial prosperity and outlines suggestions the City of Cleveland, The Bank On Cleveland Coalition and community partners can take in order to help remove such challenges and improve the financial wellness of those we serve based on findings.


The Bank On CLE coalition is looking to work in close collaboration with a human-centered consultant to ensure that the campaign resonates with individuals who currently do not have a relationship with a financial institution or if they had one, but their experience was not positive as they did not advance or have their financial needs adequately met.

The preferred firm will have:

  • Proven experience in development and implementation of public awareness campaigns
  • Cultural competency tailored to unbanked and unbanked individuals
  • Content expertise in individual and community-level campaigns
  • Experience in planning, developing, implementing, managing and evaluating comprehensive
  • communication strategies and plans
  • Highly skilled in graphic design, social media promotion, and website development
  • An established ability to work in collaboration with multiple stakeholders, government partners

and officials and community-based agencies and residents

  • Experience working on highly visible, dynamic, fast-paced projects with multiple project deadlines occurring simultaneously.

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