About Avodah: Avodah believes that Jewish leaders have the power to help change our country for the better. We train and support early- and mid-career Jewish young adults with the tools, knowledge, and networks they need to contribute their skills and passion to advancing social justice across the country and strengthening the fabric of our diverse Jewish communities. Additionally, we help the Jewish community understand how to address the root causes and effects of poverty in the United States.

Project Overview: We are seeking expertise to significantly raise Avodah’s visibility in the wider Jewish world, specifically reaching new prospective and current donors, implementing messaging for our target audiences, and helping us set and implement communications strategies for our work nationally to emphasize Avodah’s impact throughout the nation. We’ve drafted the following deliverables and would like to be in conversation with them or other items that what would be most beneficial for raising the visibility and wide reach of our organization’s impact.We have $30,000 budgeted for this project. 

Phase 1: Messaging/Communications Strategies to Reach Donors/Prospects

Objective: Build our donor communication tool-box, enhance our local development staff’s skills, and refine our messaging specifically geared toward New York donors such that we raise more from New York-area donors than in the past. While New York has a large and diverse Jewish donor pool, there is also a lot of ‘noise’ to break through in order to bring Avodah’s message to the top. For years we have been told by donors that we are a ‘well-kept secret’ or that we appear to be smaller than our actual impact, and through this project we hope to learn skills and develop materials that shine a light on the impact of our work, with the ultimate goal of increasing local funding. This work will serve as the basis for our national communications efforts.

Key Deliverables

  1. Determine the best way to reach our target audiences: Solidify understanding of Avodah’s mission and impact as the leading Jewish social justice leadership development organization among our target audiences and identify the most effective channel(s) to reach each of them.
  2. Assess and refine messaging: Consultant will audit our existing donor materials, including donor folders, videos, website, standard presentations, core language, and general communications strategies. Through their assessment, Consultant will tell us what is working and create refined messaging to replace what is not. Consultant will summarize their suggestions in a guide that includes new language and strategies, specific to the New York market.
  3. Create donor communication/cultivation tools: Using the refined messaging developed, Consultant will work with our Communication Director to enhance our current material/s to be used with New York donors to create an engaging, inspiring narrative arc for the entire fiscal/program year with key moments over the course of the year.
  4. Create Strategic Communications Plan: Special emphasis will be placed on training Avodah’s Communication Director during the creation process so that she/we can replicate and update our materials independently in the future and help create a strategic communications plan that can be utilized with the current capacity of one communications staffer and a part-time graphic designer.
  5. Messaging Training for  Avodah’s Key Leadership: Consultant will train key staff and lay leaders to effectively use the new messaging and tools with New York donors. Staff will be trained from a macro-perspective on how to reach wide swaths of the New York audience through mass communications, and also from a micro-perspective on the best ways to present Avodah’s impact when sitting or communicating with individual prospective donors. Consultant will hold two formal training sessions with staff. Consultant will provide messaging training to Avodah’s staff, board members, and key lay leaders, around telling their ‘Avodah story’ and help hone their elevator pitches to use with key audiences, including donors/funders, institutional leaders, and general target audiences unfamiliar with Avodah.


Phase 2: National Communications Strategy and Tactical Execution 

Objective: Utilize the messaging and strategy work completed in phase 1 to create an inspiring, engaging narrative arc and content, with specific communications touch points geared toward each key national Avodah audience with fundraising goals in mind, and assist with strategy execution by writing content for social media, email, and newsletters. While we believe the below-described deliverables are the right ones, we will look to the Consultant to confirm as much. 


Key Deliverables

  1. Create Metrics and Implementation Plan: Consultant will help Avodah leverage the refined messaging and strategies developed in Phase 1 by creating a weekly/monthly editorial calendar that takes into account the overall Avodah fundraising calendar. Consultant will collaborate with the Development team regarding same. This includes social media, email, and newsletter content that fits into a narrative arc for the year.
  2. Leveraging our current communications materials: This includes guiding the promotion and distribution of our recently created videos and new collateral. Identify the most effective channels for distribution, including cost/benefit of each (when appropriate).
  3. Adapt Avodah’s messaging created for New York Donors to national audiences: Create specific, unique communications engagement plans and content for each major donor category, including: current major donors; prospective donors; first-time donors who made a gift to support one of our participants, alumni of our programs; annual (non-major) donors; and families of participants/alumni.
  4. Raise profile of CEO Cheryl Cook and Avodah: Avodah and CEO Cheryl Cook should be the go-to person media contacts look to for expertise for Jewish thought on social justice issues facing our nation today. We want to put a spotlight on Avodah’s outstanding work in today’s field and be the leading organization people turn to for knowledge on today’s most pressing issues through a Jewish lens.

Submission Requirements:

Appropriate candidates for this project will have a strong track record of brand building while working within the confines of a nonprofit budget.

Respondents should include the following information with their proposals:

  • Description of Individual/Firm: Describe your areas of expertise and qualifications, time in business, location, and other pertinent information that helps to identify you or your firm.  
  • Examples of at least three (3) case studies/projects of similar work executed by you or your firm, the problem you or your firm solved, the process, and outcome, including fundraising outcomes or new visibility, if applicable. 
  • A description of your process, timeline, and budget for the components in the case studies, and/or proposed deliverables. 
  • References: Please include contact information for 2 references for work on similar projects.  


Submission Deadline and Selection:  

Please submit a proposal to [email protected] and include “Communications Consultant” and your name in the subject line of the email. We will accept responses to this RFP through January 4, 2020, or until a consultant is hired. Responses will be evaluated by our Communications Director and Senior Staff. Please be advised that the group may or may not choose to conduct telephone, online or in-person interviews with all respondents.