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Experienced Direct-Response Fundraising Agency

Communities In Schools


About Communities In Schools

Communities In Schools is the nation’s largest and most effective drop-out prevention nonprofit working in 2,350 schools in low-income communities, in 26 states and the District of Columbia, serving over 1.6 million young people and families each year. Communities In Schools believes that greatness exists in every child and we help students realize their potential by surrounding them with a community of support to help them stay in school and achieve in life. Through our local site-coordinators, we connect students and families to critical community resources tailored to their needs. By mitigating the challenges that students face outside the classroom, we help them find the strength and confidence to see a bright future that is theirs for the taking.


Pilot Goals

The primary goal of this pilot is to ultimately determine the feasibility, cost (including resources and staff needed), and effectiveness of an expanded voluntary national direct-response fundraising strategy. Revenue and list growth goals will be discussed with agencies in subsequent conversations.


Scope of Work

Communities In Schools requests proposal submissions from experienced direct-response fundraising agencies to help plan and potentially launch a pilot program in which the CIS National Office would expand our direct-response fundraising program in two ways.

The first would be to partner with two or more existing affiliates for a coordinated direct mail and email fundraising campaign. The chosen affiliates would share their donor list and information with the National Office. The National Office would also launch a geo-specific direct-mail program in areas of the country where we have good name recognition, but no current affiliate.

This campaign would be separated into two phases, a planning phase, and a launch phase. The launch phase will depend greatly on the variables and reporting done by the agency during planning. While the agency selected for phase 1 will likely be chosen for phase 2, the confirmation of this selection will be made at a later date.


Phase 1: Campaign Assessment and Plan:

April 15 – August 30, 2019 Deliverables

  • Develop a comprehensive online, and direct mail fundraising pilot strategy
  • Create a budget for the pilot program.
  • Develop a shared cost and revenue model for the pilot program.
  • Advise on selection of affiliates and locations for the pilot program.
  • Advise on technology and resource needs.
  • Design list buy plan in new areas.
  • Identify data to report, optimize, and make projections on ROIs.


Phase 2: Pilot Program Rollout:

Oct 1, 2019 – Sept 30, 2020 (provided for context only)

  • Implementing the proposed plan and strategy created in phase 1.
  • Advise on content, messaging, and fundraising strategy throughout the year.
  • Track metrics such as revenue and list growth for the pilot program as well as projected ROI over a multi-year timeline.
  • Determine cost and feasibility for a larger rollout of a national direct-response fundraising program.
  • Report on the overall performance, cost, and implication.




(Current list size – 68,000)


Year-end Campaign (mid-November to Dec 31) – Matching Gift Campaign

  • Direct mail solicitation letter.
  • 10-13 email sends.
  • Social media ads and posts.
  • List growth through online list buy.


Graduation Campaign (May-June)

  • Direct mail solicitation letter.
  • 8-10 email sends.
  • Social media ads and posts.


Back to School Campaign (Aug-Oct) – Monthly Giving Campaign

  • 6-8 email sends.
  • Grass Roots Advocacy Campaign (Ongoing).
  • Advocate for policy that is favorable to the mission of CIS.
  • Grow list through Phone2Action and social media ads to join the advocacy campaigns.



Background and Experience

  • Include a concept for how you will work with us to design a pilot program Describe your process and how it distinguishes you from others.
  • Example of a shared revenue and cost model for a federated/affiliated nonprofit.
  • Include 2 examples of work from the past 12-24 months of work on a national direct response
  • program and their results; one of which involves a federated or affiliate structure.
  • Any additional information regarding your knowledge of/ experience working with non-profit
  • fundraising, list growth, and program management.
  • List of any other services that may be considered as an added value.


Please Note Skills/Expertise in the Following Areas

  • Data and financial compliance.
  • Experience fundraising with a national federated nonprofit
  • List buying – familiarity with the trends and best practices to obtain new prospect information.
  • Data analysis.
  • Budgeting, cost analysis, and revenue projection.
  • Online fundraising and online donation best practices.
  • Knowledge and understanding of direct mail fundraising strategy and best practices.


Administration, Pricing, and Staffing

  • Cost breakdown of all fees and expenses, including any additional fees that may be required for Phase 1.
  • Resumes of team leads.


Evaluation Criteria

Vendors will be evaluated on the basis of the written proposals and will be selected based on the following:

  • Quality and completeness of submitted proposal.
  • Superior customer service and account management.
  • Experience and qualifications of the company.
  • References and relevant project history.
  • Competitive pricing.
  • Experience with Salesforce, Causeview, and/or Marketing Cloud is a plus.



  • Formal release of RFP: February 21, 2019
  • Proposals are due: March 22, 2019
  • Finalists are selected and contacted for additional information: March 22 – March 29, 2019
  • Selection will be made March 29 – April 5, 2019


Additional Information

The Communities In Schools network is made up of 133 independently incorporated 501(c)(3) organizations, each managing their own resource development strategies and donor data. Differing priorities and resources throughout the network result in varied capacities to build and/or maintain a direct-response program

We are committed to a workforce that is representative of the varied communities we are privileged to serve. We provide a work environment that does not discriminate based on race, color, national origin, gender, age, sexual orientation, gender identity or expression, marital status, mental or physical disability, genetic information or any other basis protected by applicable law.


How To Apply

Send proposals by March 22 to: Rachel Anderson: Senior Associate of Constituent Engagement

Email: AndersonR@cisnet.org

Feel free to reach out with any clarifying questions.



Include 3 references from work done in the prior 12-24 months including name, title, organization, and telephone number.



- Virtual, District Of Columbia, Maryland, Virginia, Virtual
No information provided.
Posted on:
March 4, 2019

How to Apply

Proposal requirements are included in the RFP

Send proposals by March 22 to:

Rachel Anderson: Senior Associate of Constituent Engagement

email: AndersonR@cisnet.org

Feel free to reach out with any clarifying questions.