Higher Learning Advocates Website RFP FINAL (PDF)

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Author: Ted Eismeier

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Website Design & Development - Request for Proposal
This RFP is for design and development services for a new website for Higher Learning Advocates.
RFP Sent: November 7, 2017
Responses Due: 5 p.m. ET on November 15, 2017
Send any questions on the RFP to: Ted Eismeier, teismeier@higherlearningadvocates.org
Send final proposals to: Ted Eismeier, teismeier@higherlearningadvocates.org
Budget for new website: $30,000-$40,000
Goal for new website launch: March 31, 2018
Organization Overview
Higher Learning Advocates seeks an experienced digital / integrated marketing communications firm to lead the
creation and launch of our new website. The incumbent firm will have deep experience and a proven track record of
working with non-profit, advocacy and public affairs clients in end-to-end website development—from research and
discovery to design, development and launch. We are seeking a strategic partner who can help us to define the
online behavior of our target audience and then articulate a clear and effective strategy for launching a new website
that will reach that audience.
Launched in March 2017, Higher Learning Advocates is a 501(c)3 nonprofit organization based in Washington, D.C.
We support a system of higher learning that is student-centered, equitable, outcomes-based, and focused on
educational quality by advocating for policies that: are based on student outcomes, make postsecondary education
and student aid work for today’s students, and ensure access and affordability. We are bipartisan, strategically
minded, and focused on improving postsecondary access and success for all students.
Our bipartisan board of directors includes Hon. Margaret Spellings, President, University of North Carolina; Rep.
George Miller, Senior Education Advisor, Cengage and former House Education and Workforce Committee
Chairman; Gov. John Engler, Retired President, the Business Roundtable and three-term Governor of Michigan; Dr.
Chris Bustamante, President, Rio Salado College and Maricopa Corporate College; Dr. Dewayne Matthews,
Fellow, Lumina Foundation; Dr. Kim Hunter Reed, Executive Director, Colorado Department of Higher Education;
and Ms. Teresa Lubbers, Commissioner, Indiana Commission for Higher Education.
We are seeking to build a new and distinctive brand that will help break through the partisan and bureaucratic noise
of Washington, D.C. and translate policy ideas into action through user-friendly advocacy campaigns and concrete
policy change.
Our Audience
Our primary audiences are federal policymakers and their staff, higher education researchers and analysts, leaders
of institutions of higher education, and think tanks and foundations focused on postsecondary education. Many of
them are tech-savvy and engage in technical conversations and debates on issues related to higher education

finance, innovation and public policy. They read publications like The New York Times, The Washington Post, Roll
Call, The Hill, The Atlantic and POLITICO as well as niche/trade outlets like Inside Higher Ed, The Chronicle of
Higher Education, and Hechinger Report.
Current Website
Our current website, www.higherlearningadvocates.org, is about 6 months old and was built and designed in Wix
through pro-bono services. The site currently meets our basic needs and provides a self-service solution for making
simple updates to the website and posting new content items. However, making design and content improvements to
the website is labor intensive process, and the website’s functionality will not be sufficient for our needs as our work
expands. Currently, we have only a few key pages that need to be updated, but we have several projects planned for
the next 18-months that will require a more sophisticated web presence and a less labor-intensive process for
building out and maintaining key sections of our website.
New Website Objectives
Our website’s number one objective is to re-develop our existing website on a new CMS that has the capacity for a
more sophisticated web presence by hosting a broader variety of content items (i.e. blogs, video, press releases,
reports, multimedia stories) on our site using a user-friendly and template-based process.
Specific objectives for the website include:

Provide an easily-replicable process for uploading and managing a variety of content items.
Maintain and grow our online audience through content marketing, direct email, and social media promotion.
Create a blogging platform for brand journalism that will host and curate stories from grassroots champions.
Build capacity using a CMS capable of hosting and supporting multi-faceted digital and interactive content.

New Website Functionality Requirements
Our new website will need:

An easy-to-use content management system (CMS)
Intuitive navigation
Clean and focused design
Approx. 15-30 pages
All applicable content imported from current site
Optimized with SEO best practices
A visually-engaging blog
Social media integration (share buttons, follow buttons, etc.)
Email update sign-up form
Contact Form
Recommendations for direct email / CRM integration to replace Wix.com shout-out feature

Optional Capabilities / Wish-List
We would also like to receive more information on your firm’s capabilities for broader digital and social media
strategy, including how you would approach a month-to-month contract for social media management, depending on

how these elements would impact timeline and/or budget. Please provide cost for these elements separately, and
note if any additional design or development time would be required.
Budget Details
As listed in the summary, our budget for this project is $30,000-$40,000. While we of course prefer the most costeffective solution, all proposals that fall reasonably within this range will be considered and weighed based on their
merits. Proposals that offer flexibility in billing for non-required elements added to the website after initial launch will
also be considered.
Proposal Requirements
Please include the following in your proposal response:

Overview of your company
Overview of how you will meet our objectives
Explanation of your proposed platform/CMS and hosting service
Outline of your website design & development strategy
Proposed website timeline from kickoff to launch
Details about your team, including the experienced project manager to lead the work and any proposed
Recent design & development examples
3 references from client organizations for whom you have done similar work
Key differentiators about your proposed team
Pricing with optional elements line-itemed

RFP & Project Timeline Details

RFP Sent: November 7, 2017
Responses Due: November 15, 2017
Finalists Selected & Contacted for Interview: November 24, 2017
Winner Selected & Contacted: December 8, 2017
Project Kick-off: December 15, 2017
New Website Launch Target Date: March 31, 2017

Thank you for your interest in responding to this RFP with a proposal for our new website. We look forward to your
response. If you have any questions, please contact Ted Eismeier at teismeier (at) higherlearningadvocates.org.

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