friends@therouge.org | 734-927-4900 | Fax: 734-927-4920

RFP re: Organizational Assessment and Strategic Planning

The Friends of the Rouge (FOTR) is seeking to contract with an organizational assessment and strategic planning consultant to guide the board and staff through the assessment and planning of the organization. This includes in-depth organizational assessment, planning, and retreat facilitation to drafting a five-year strategic plan document as detailed below.

Posted March 26, 2018

Organizational Overview

History and Mission

Friends of the Rouge is a nonprofit 501(c)(3) organization founded in 1986 to raise awareness of the degradation of the Rouge River in southeast Michigan with a mission to restore, protect, and enhance the Rouge River watershed through stewardship, education, and collaboration. The Rouge River Watershed drains 467 square miles and is home to more than 1.35 million people in 48 municipalities. The Rouge River has four major branches (Main, Upper, Middle, and Lower) with 126 river miles and numerous tributaries. In addition to the river channel, there are more than 400 lakes, impoundments, and ponds. Three counties (Oakland, Washtenaw and Wayne) are part of the watershed and the land is more than 50% urbanized with less than 25% remaining undeveloped.

Recent Initiatives that have affected the Friends

Under the leadership of an active and engaged board, which represents both our individual, municipal and business constituencies, and 32 years of experience and reputation for quality services, the Friends of the Rouge has made progress focusing on strengthening and growing our impact over the last year. As a result, recent significant changes for the organization have been implemented:

  • Review of mission and creation of a vision statement along with identification and definition of 7 core values
  • Adoption of 8 formal committees of the board: Executive, Financial, Fund Development, Membership, Board Development, Water Trail, Public Involvement and Rouge Education Program
  • Establishing an Endowment fund and charitable gift annuity program
  • Assumed primary leadership role in the Lower Rouge River Water Trail

Project Scope

The Objectives of the organizational assessment process are to examine the following:

  • Mission/Vision/Core Values
  • Resource management
  • Understanding broader community conditions and function
  • Communications/PR/marketing
  • Board roles and responsibilities
  • Leadership and impact

In the organizational assessment, the consulting firm will help the FOTR build an understanding of the existing status of the organization, identify a few key issues in need of being addressed, determine specific strategies for success. It is intended that this understanding then provide the basis for developing or modifying work plans, taking action, and tracking evaluation process. This assessment would include a small scale internal and external survey to assess the FOTR current organizational standing and perceptions over the previous five years, which would then be used as a tool in the strategic planning process.

The objectives of the strategic planning process are to do the following:

  • Identify specific fundraising, grant making, communication, marketing, branding, and programming objectives for the organization to pursue over the next five years.
  • Utilize the findings of the organizational assessment survey to determine future organizational projections for next five years.
  • Develop a timetable of implementation with specific measurable benchmarks, objectives and tasks to be accomplished to achieve goals. Identify clear, measurable outcomes for how to measure organizational and strategic effectiveness, impact, and success.
  • Establish a framework and process for the organization’s leadership to effectively implement the strategic plan and monitor progress toward achievement of goals and objectives.
  • Facilitate all meetings and provide leadership, direction and expert consultation and advice related to the development of an effective strategic plan, including successful implementation.
  • Deliver a clear, easily consumed, strategic planning roadmap, accompanied by a strategic planning timeline, implementation and evaluation methodology.

In the strategic planning process, the consulting firm will help the FOTR establish an understanding of objectives for the next five years. The strategic plan would outline specific goals, identify needs or gaps in existing structure to meet these goals, establish framework for success all in an easy to understand document presented to the board and staff upon completion.

FOTR seeks the expertise of a consultant to achieve the objectives of the organizational assessment process and the planning process. Identified consultant responsibilities are:

  • Initial planning meeting with executive director
  • Review of recent external and internal assessments
  • Integration of key themes brought forth in 2017 board assessments and retreat
  • Planning meeting with executive committee
  • Meeting/interview of internal and external parties to the FOTR – as identified by FOTR staff/board and/or consulting firm recommendations
  • Participation in a minimum of three board meetings
  • Facilitation of board retreat (Fall 2018, date/location TBD)
  • Written report of key themes from retreat including goals and strategies to meet mission, vision and core values.
  • Presentation of strategic plan draft to staff and board of directors at board meeting in early 2018

Selection Criteria

Proposals will be reviewed and evaluated by the executive director who will recommend one or more candidates for consideration by the executive committee. Consideration will include a meeting to discuss proposal and provide guidance to committee in decision making. Criteria for evaluation will include:

  • Demonstrated knowledge, skills, and experience in conducting organizational assessments and strategic planning projects in philanthropic or other nonprofit organizations.
  • Understanding of the philanthropic and nonprofit sectors.
  • Ability to meet deadlines (timeline will be determined after initial planning meeting with executive director)
  • Operate within budget.
  • Performance record.

How to submit a proposal

Interested parties should email the following to Marie McCormick, executive director, Friends of the Rouge mmccormick@therouge.org

  • A work plan that contains methodology, timeline, and deliverables for the project
  • A project budget
  • Exclusions or exceptions
  • Description of qualifications and/or resume of consultant(s) involved in project.
  • Reference and contact information of three nonprofit organizations that have utilized strategic planning services in the last 24 months.


If you have any questions, contact Marie McCormick at mmccormick@therouge.org or (313) 792-9627. Questions due by or before 3:00 p.m. EST on April 24, 2018.

Applications should be received by FOTR before 3:00 p.m. EST on May 1, 2018.