Minnehaha Creek Watershed District Issues Strategic Communications RFP

MCWD seeks a qualified communications consultant to develop a three-year strategic communications and engagement plan to help it achieve its strategic priorities, solidify support for its focused/responsive approach, and reinforce its brand. The plan will use communications strategies for conveying relevant messages to key audiences across multiple platforms, and engagement activities that involve and inform key stakeholders in its work. The strategic communications and engagement plan is envisioned as a framework for the implementation of work by all MCWD staff in addition to communications.

The communications consultant will conduct audience research which will then provide direction on the strategies and activities that will be most effective at achieving the desired goals. The audience research will also inform the redesign of MCWD’s website, which is a separate project not included in the scope of this work. Preliminary work on the website design will begin in the latter half of 2019 and the build is planned in 2020.


The Minnehaha Creek Watershed District (MCWD) is a local unit of government responsible for managing and protecting the water resources in one of the largest and most heavily-used urban watersheds in Minnesota. MCWD’s mission is to collaborate with public and private partners to protect and improve land and water for current and future generations. Partnerships are key to the success of its work.

The watershed stretches 178-square miles across the western Twin Cities metro and includes all or part of 29 cities from the rural communities of St. Bonifacius and Minnetrista, and the suburban communities of Hopkins and St. Louis Park, to the urban neighborhoods of south Minneapolis. It has 129 lakes (including Lake Minnetonka and the Minneapolis Chain of Lakes), eight major creeks (including its namesake Minnehaha Creek), Minnehaha Falls, and thousands of wetlands. MCWD’s primary business functions are:

·         Developing, building and maintaining water improvement project

·         Issuing permits for construction activities

·         Collecting and analyzing data

·         Increasing awareness about the MCWD and water quality issue

·          Educating its stakeholders

Scope of Work:

The project is divided into two phases: research and planning.


                The first three months will involve gaining a full understanding of the MCWD and of the challenges and opportunities the MCWD faces in pursuing its goals. This work will include the following:

·         Review MCWD’s guiding documents

·         Review past audits of stakeholders

·         Assess stakeholders’ current perceptions and needs (interviews, surveys, etc.)

·         External audiences

                                                o Government officials (elected/appointed/staff)

                                                o Real estate developers

·         Internal audiences

                                                o Staff

                                                o Board of Managers

                                                o Citizens Advisory Committee


                After completing the research phase, the consultant will spend the next three months working with the project manager and review committee to build the plan. The last month of the process will involve working with the project manager to present the plan for approval to the MCWD Board and Citizens Advisory Committee.

                The planning process will result in a strategic communications and engagement plan that includes goals and audiences (which may be refined based on the information gained during the   research phase), measurable objectives, strategies and tactics (including communications and      engagement activities), key messages, a timeline, evaluation methods, and estimated staff and financial resources needed for implementation. Results are further outlined in the Deliverables section.

Project goals

The MCWD’s strategic communications and engagement plan will ensure the success of the organization’s strategic priorities by achieving the following goals:

                1. The MCWD has the support and assistance of local and state officials for its major capital project initiatives

                2. The MCWD has the support and cooperation of local government officials and developers for early coordination on land use change

                3. The MCWD receives more funding and leverages more partnership contributions for its capital projects, operations and programs

                4. The MCWD’s responsive model has the support of its key stakeholders across the District, especially those outside the Six Mile Creek – Halsted Bay and Minnehaha Creek subwatersheds

                5. The MCWD is perceived by its key stakeholders and the general public as a credible, transparent, and responsive agency that adds value in its communities

Project deliverables

                1. A detailed report on the current perceptions and needs of MCWD internal and external stakeholders

                2. Three-year strategic communications and engagement plan that includes measurable objectives, strategies, and tactics for each of the goals of the plan. They must include communications and engagement activities that are prioritized and phased in over the duration        of the plan. The plan will include the following elements:

                                a. Goals

                                b. Audiences

                                c. Measurable objectives

                                d. Strategies and tactics

                                e. Key messages

                                f. Timeline

                                g. Method of evaluation

                3. Estimated costs for implementation of the plan, including staff and financial resources

Due Date:

April 5th, 2019. 


Telly Mamayek

Communications and Education Manager

Minnehaha Creek Watershed District (MCWD)

15320 Minnetonka Blvd

Minnetonka, MN 55345

Ruder Finn and Finn Partners have relevant experience. 

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