Rural Community Assistance Partnership Issues Marketing RFP

The Rural Community Assistance Partnership (RCAP) is a network of nonprofit organizations working to ensure rural and small communities throughout the United States have increased capacity to drive access to safe drinking water, sanitary wastewater, community development and disaster recovery that leads and contributes to economic prosperity. RCAP’s six regional partners provide a variety of programs in the respective states and territories they cover to accomplish this goal, such as training and technical assistance in rural communities across the country.

Each of RCAP’s six regional partners is an independent nonprofit organization with their own boards of directors and staff. Many of their employees provide services to communities through grants and funding for which RCAP competes and secures nationally for the network. This ensures some continuity across the country in the types of assistance and training each RCAP regional partner provides. Describing the nature of the RCAP network – and what it means to be a part of it – is challenging.

RCAP is seeking a skilled communications firm to help facilitate conversation across the RCAP network and at multiple levels of staff to: 1) identify and recommend how RCAP should describe itself as a network,  2) recommend approaches for how to build buy-in for this description and corporate identity across regional partners and the national office, and 3) note implications for RCAP’s work, such as internal communications practices and presentation of information on RCAP’s website. The result RCAP is seeking is that all RCAP-affiliated technical assistance providers and regional partners will be able to communicate what RCAP is and does in the same way and think of themselves as part of a larger network. RCAP is looking to work with firms who employ user experience techniques and can quickly understand RCAP and our network.

RCAP sees a website redesign and upgrade to functionality as an important initial phase of recrafting our corporate identity. The RCAP website is used by RCAP’s regional partners, technical assistance providers, rural development agencies, RCAP funders, civic leaders, RCAP partner organizations and potential partners, professionals in the fields in which RCAP is involved, and communities.  It provides essential resources for both trainers, water and wastewater professionals and community members.  It also serves as a method for highlighting RCAP’s work in the field to stakeholders, including current projects and successes.

The current website has hundreds of resources but is difficult to navigate. It is a WordPress site designed by a contractor with whom RCAP no longer works, and the current theme prevents the organization from editing many pages on the frontend. Outdated search functions prevent users from easily accessing information.  A website rebuild is necessary to streamline resources, improve navigation, and enhance look and feel. The resource library also will need to be migrated to the new site and organized in a clear, concise manner. RCAP envisions that work on the website will start concurrently with the identity rebuild discussion, helping to address some of the basic functionality issues on the website proactively.

Visitors should be able to immediately understand the nature and importance of RCAP’s work. Improving the organization of the resource library is essential for the new site.  RCAP staff and interested parties should be able to find helpful materials with ease on an attractive interface.

RCAP is also seeking recommendations for the best platform to incorporate e-learning modules to our site.

RCAP is seeking firms who can execute on both parts of this RFP and welcomes applications that show how initial steps can be taken to improve website functionality while the facilitated identity/branding discussion is conducted.

Background:

Founded in 1973, the Rural Community Assistance Partnership, Inc. (RCAP) is a 501(c)(3) non-profit service delivery network comprised of a national office and six regional partners that provide technical assistance, training, and tools to small rural communities – including tribal communities – each year throughout the U.S., Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands.  Most communities RCAP assists are economically disadvantaged and have a population under 2,500, and many have significant minority group populations.  The RCAP network’s approximately 200 field staff members include registered professional engineers, certified operators, utility finance and board management specialists, community planners, and people with other relevant backgrounds.

Examples of the types of RCAP works to achieve outcomes in small rural communities are:

·         Improved environmental and community health

·         Utilities in compliance with federal and state regulations

·         Sustainable water and waste disposal systems with increased management and finance capacity

·         Increased capability of local leaders to address current and future needs

·         Improved collaboration between communities as well as coordination among
federal, state and local agencies

·         Strong rural entrepreneurial ecosystems and economic strategies that ground wealth in rural communities

Each RCAP regional partner offers an array of services that directly respond to the needs of its area.  These region-specific services include affordable housing development assistance, loans for water and wastewater infrastructure, community and economic development, job training and placement, community-based education programs, and special programming for underserved populations.  RCAP field staff track performance data to enhance our capacity to fulfill our mission of “improving the quality of life in rural communities.”

The RCAP national office engages in program management, applied research, policy development, public education, and advocacy on rural issues.  It also supports the work of the network by obtaining financial support, sharing knowledge and best practices across the network, and promoting dialog to help communities understand the relationship between the environment, public health, and economic viability. More information is available at http://www.rcap.org.

Scope of Work:

RCAP expects the project to include the following:

·         Project management

·         User-oriented (in this case, technical assistance provider-oriented) corporate identity and brand recommendations, involving facilitated discussion across the RCAP national office and regional partners

·         Primary talking points not only about RCAP’s brand but how regions and the national office relate to each other

·         Content strategy

·         Visual design

·         Information design – specifically a new site map

·         Responsive design

·         Testing & quality assurance

·         Content management system

·         A training calendar automatically pulling events from regional partners’ calendars

·         Graphic design/illustration, including brand/identity themes

·         Search engine optimization

·         Front-end coding (HTML/CSS, animations)

·         Back-end coding (Angular/Node, Drupal, CMS, third-party APIs, custom software/features)

Due Date:

Friday, December 20

Address:

Kinsey Brown

Communications Manager

1701 K Street, Suite 700

Washington, DC 20006

kbrown@rcap.org

Relevant agencies worth considering include Zeno Group and Headline Media.

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