Strategic Communications Consultant (EPIP)

Strategic Communications Consultant for EPIP Strategy Rollout


EPIP is seeking a consultant to help plan and drive the rollout of EPIP’s ambitious new strategic plan. Our objective is to build awareness and engagement with our community, and in the broader field, around our strategy. Our initial plan (detailed later in this RFP) calls for a mix of hard collateral, virtual and face-to-face engagement, and online promotion. Using that initial plan as a starting point for creative thinking, the consultant will refine and lead implementation of the rollout in close consultation with EPIP Staff, members and other stakeholders through the end of 2017. Proposals are due June 30th to Christi Tran at [email protected].

 About EPIP

Emerging Practitioners in Philanthropy (EPIP), a project of Tides Center, is a national network of foundation professionals, social entrepreneurs and other change makers who strive for excellence in the practice of philanthropy. EPIP has established itself as a leading provider of professional development opportunities to people who are relatively new to the field, as well as of spaces to explore issues related to social justice and how to advance it within their institutions. Our member-led chapters touch 16 regions across the country and provide programs, networking opportunities and support to their peers. Through this work, we have a strong community of leaders who give deeply of themselves to their community of practice, as well as a strong working knowledge of the needs and dreams of this important demographic. 

Strategic Plan

In late 2016 and early 2017, EPIP embarked on a strategic planning process that prioritized meaningful engagement and transparency throughout EPIP’s member community and among stakeholders and allies. As a result of this strategic planning process, the Board adopted a five-year strategic plan in April 2017. Over the next five years, EPIP plans to grow into a community that:

  • Deepens our work to develop rising talent and promote excellence in the sector;
  • Promotes innovation and effective practices -- and when necessary speaks hard truths -- to support the success of EPIP members and other diverse changemakers; and,
  • Helps move our sector into deeper leadership for equity and social justice.

The full 2017-2020+ EPIP Strategic Plan can be found here. The strategic plan included the following updates to EPIP’s mission, vision and values.

EPIP’s New Strategy: Updated Mission, Vision and Values


Updated Mission: EPIP’s mission is to empower emerging leaders and elevate philanthropic practice in order to build a more just, equitable, and sustainable society.


Updated Vision: EPIP envisions a world where people of all identities can live full and prosperous lives, supported by a diverse, equitable, inclusive and effective philanthropic sector. More specifically, we envision a field that:

  • Fosters healthy, safe and inclusive work environments, where staff from diverse backgrounds and life experiences can bring their whole selves to work;
  • Responds to and is inclusive of nonprofits and local communities - especially those most vulnerable, such as people of color, LGBTQ people, women, immigrants and refugees, etc. - in grantmaking, activities and decision-making;
  • Communicates in plain language, models transparency, makes itself deeply accessible to the public and communities, and devotes energy to making the grantee experience efficient and empowering;
  • Takes bold stances on issues and is willing to incur risks to uphold our most deeply held values and ideals; and
  • Continuously pushes itself to test creative approaches and adopt effective practices to advance all of the above.


Updated Values: We commit ourselves to advance the following five values in everything we do: Shared Leadership, Excellence, Community, Diversity, Equity & Inclusion, and Learning.

 Rollout Objectives and Initial Thinking on Tactics

The core purpose of this rollout is to get members and our broader community clear about our strategy and ready to engage in its implementation. More specifically, our core audiences include:

  • Leaders of EPIP’s 16 member-driven local/ regional chapters
  • Individual members beyond chapter leaders, who typically have fewer than 10 years of experience in philanthropy and are highly diverse
  • Staff at EPIP member institutions, including senior program, human resources and operations staff
  • Established philanthropic executives and other senior leaders who could be partners and/or champions in our work
  • Philanthropic practitioners more broadly

Potential approaches for rollout include the following. Not all of these will be the responsibility of the strategic communications consultant. More on the specific role of the consultant is laid out in the next section.

  • Use EPIP’s website and social media to present and share the strategy
  • Engage chapter leaders in rollout planning, promote strategy among chapter leaders, and support them in implementation (part communications, part out-of-scope programmatic work)
  • Engage current and potential funders as partners in realizing our new strategy (role: alignment and consistency with fundraising planning; possibly some collateral development)
  • Give Institutional Members messaging and tools to discover opportunities for their organization in addition to their individual staff members
  • Engage EPIP members and other colleagues in our community at the CHANGE Philanthropy Unity Summit in September
  • Build and use sector media opportunities to share plan
  • Develop and manage to clear, actionable and realistic metrics for rollout success

These are our initial ideas; we are open to creative thinking from the consultant.

Role of Strategic Communications Consultant

  • Work with EPIP staff and other consultants to refine and finalize a rollout plan
  • Develop key talking points and copy for staff, board and member communications around the strategy (both evergreen to reflect new vision/mission as well as specific to strategy rollout)
  • Distill our strategic plan into a brief, public-facing document to share the EPIP Strategic Plan that is visually engaging and easy to follow, including developing or working with a designer to create graphics for key elements of the strategy
  • Develop (or coordinate development of) additional collateral (evergreen where possible) for rollout, potentially including:

○      Brief (and simple!!) video outlining keys points of new strategy

○      Materials for rollout across EPIPs member-led chapters, specifically tools for chapter leaders (one-pager, PPT deck, etc.) so they can integrate into their own program planning and use to grow their local membership and funding

○      Materials for rollout to EPIP institutional members (tailored strategy briefing)

○      Materials for presentation to current and prospective EPIP funders (integrating key funding needs and opportunities related to new strategy)

○      Materials for other EPIP stakeholders, including partners (UNITY, etc.), allies, past members and/ others as needed

  • Support EPIP staff and other consultants to design and implement rollout at UNITY Summit in September 2017 (New Orleans)
  • Advise and support EPIP staff to update online platform to reflect new strategy and communications
  • Document and debrief successes and lessons learned during the strategy rollout

Key Initial Dates/ Milestones:


Planning conversations with EPIP staff & strategy consultant, Chapter Leader presentation

  • Design session with EPIP staff and possibly members
  • Finalize rollout plan
  • Develop basic talking points
  • Start plan document design
  • Begin video design


Member webinar on strategic plan; Chapter check-ins & UNITY Summit prep

  • Basic chapter tools developed
  • UNITY Summit plan finalized
  • All collateral finalized


Unity Summit; possible Funder + Member + Partner reception or breakfast (TBD)

  • Celebrate and debut new strategy using collateral


Chapter sessions

  • Check in’s with Chapter Leaders and other stakeholders


Follow up convos with funders + institutional members + partners

  • Chapters events with video




Preferred Qualifications:

  • Experience doing strategic communications work for nonprofits comparable to EPIP, such as national membership organizations, organizations with local chapters, leadership development groups, and/or organizations that work with foundations, corporations and nonprofits to promote social justice
  • Experience helping nonprofits develop branding and communications strategies, including guiding graphics and collateral creation
  • Strong writer with an eye toward strategic content development and jargon-free language that is clear and accessible to a variety of audiences
  • Willingness to uphold EPIP’s guiding values in the rollout process
  • Knowledge of philanthropy, including equity-focused philanthropy and the philanthropic infrastructure space
  • Familiarity with effective models and practices for branding, strategic communications and publicity activities, particularly for social justice and/or nonprofit membership organizations that provide institutional services, conduct research and lead advocacy/ campaigns


Interested Strategic Communications Consultants should prepare a brief (3-5 page) proposal describing proposed approach by June 30th, 2017.  The proposal should include:

  • Overview of the consultant's approach to strategic communications;
  • Proposed approach to supporting EPIP’s strategy rollout process, including timeline, consultant responsibilities, and deliverables for each phase of the process;
  • Eligibility relative to the preferred qualifications laid out above;
  • A low-end and high-end budget estimate;
  • References for similar organizations; and
  • Sample written and/or online collateral with graphics for past clients.

A final selection will be made by early July, with a final scope of work in place one week later.  Work will start in early to mid-July. Before preparing a proposal, potential consultants should contact Christi Tran, Consultant ([email protected]) and cc: Tamir Novotny, Executive Director ([email protected]) with questions and to schedule a time to connect by phone during the week of 6/19/17.

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