Request for Proposals: Development of Strategic Plan

This Request for Proposal (RFP) solicits written proposals from professionally qualified contractors to design and facilitate a participatory planning process that will create a strategic plan for Resolve Philly, a non-profit journalism organization founded in 2018.  All proposals should clearly define how they will work with Resolve staff and board to support a comprehensive process that lends itself to impactful operational success.  

Issue Date: November 3, 2023
Project Closing Date: October 31, 2024

Submission: Deliver an electronic proposal and accompanying supplemental materials at this link:

Goal: Develop a strategic plan for Resolve Philly in coordination with Resolve staff and Board of Directors for adoption at the end of 2024 and to go into effect in January 2025. 

About Resolve Philly 

Mission: Resolve’s mission is to develop and advance journalism rooted in equity, collaboration, and the elevation of community voices and solutions.  

Overview: Resolve Philly is a nonprofit newsroom that centers our work around the information needs of our communities. Black, brown, and immigrant communities and those who work low-wage jobs have long been excluded from — or harmed by — traditional media narratives. We work to change this by offering opportunities for communities to participate in news reporting, working collaboratively with other local newsrooms to produce comprehensive coverage on issues identified by our communities, and meeting people where they are with news and resources by publishing a community newsletter and managing an interactive text line. Carrying out our work this way demonstrates how news can better serve communities, ultimately leading to more just and equitable societies. Resolve is also home to Modifier, a B2B consulting and professional development practice through which we support other news organizations and professionals in other mission-driven fields, who are seeking to improve their operational resilience, community engagement, collaboration, and language and framing practices. This is Resolve’s primary alternative revenue stream which complements our philanthropic funding.

Vision: We imagine a city where all residents have unfettered access to news and information that is action-oriented, accurate, authentic, and reflects the wealth of assets held among our communities. We imagine a world in which all communities around the globe can thrive because best practices learned from our work prioritize community participation, inclusive information access, and collaborative coverage.

Values: Resolve’s core values are collaboration, equity, integrity, and community.

Operating Principles: The following are the agreements made by all Resolve team members (board and staff) regarding how we show up in our work:

As a member of Team Resolve, I will…

  1. Communicate early and often. Actively participate in communications that are timely, honest, mutually beneficial, productive, and respectful. 
  2. Ask questions. Relentlessly seek out a better understanding through query and inquiry. Never assume something is unchangeable. 
  3. Find answers. Be curious, use all the information and data at my disposal to answer questions and complete the task at hand, and problem-solve to the best of my abilities.
  4. Own the work. Hold myself accountable to the team. Respect the time and effort of others, make transparent decisions, and follow through on my commitments.
  5. View conflict as an opportunity for growth and learning. Even in disagreement, I will listen for understanding with an openness to everyone's ideas and each of our potential for transformation. 

Supplemental Materials: The following is a list of supplemental materials regarding organizational history, programs and Resolve’s approach to workplace culture that Resolve is making available through this Google Drive folder and link-outs below.

2022 Annual Report
2020 Year in Review 
Broke in Philly retrospective report
Reentry Project Impact Evaluation
Broke in Philly documentary
Non-Profit Build Up Podcast interview with Resolve’s co-founders (Part One; Part Two)

For consultants preparing a proposal, the following internal not-for-circulation materials are available upon request. Please contact for instructions to access these documents:

  1. Strategic Planning Committee Purpose, Outcomes, and Process Statement 
  2. Resolve Philly Messaging doc
  3. Modifier Business Plan


Planning Needs

We are currently working from a strategic plan drafted in 2019 by Resolve Philly’s two co-founders that takes us through the end of 2024. An overview can be found here, and the full written component here. The most comprehensive version of our plan was released via podcast, and you can find that here.

From 2019 to 2023, Resolve grew from a staff of two co-founders to 24 full-time staff with a $3.2M operating budget. We have evolved from being a vehicle for collaborative reporting in Philadelphia to having an expansive array of programmatic work, as well as a B2B in-house consulting and professional development enterprise (housed within the 501(c)3). Resolve has also emerged as one of the nation's most prominent and widely respected local news organizations.

It is time for us to chart our path forward while staying true to our unchanging mission, values, and Operating Principles. We envision this strategic planning process will help us consider fresh challenges we may face, new opportunities on the horizon, and help us clarify our path forward. We do not expect radical shifts in how Resolve operates to come out of this engagement. Rather, we seek a better understanding of—and consensus on— our north stars, along with a solid road map for achieving our goal of becoming the local newsroom of the future, one that is designed for community impact and involvement and that serves as a model for others. We also know that we exist in a highly volatile industry, which means that sound financial planning, sustainable growth, and mixed revenue streams are even more important to Resolve than to other non-profits outside the journalism space. We expect this strategic planning process to support our need to maintain sustainability.

We are intent on making this a collaborative effort amongst our staff and board because every person who is part of Team Resolve is deeply committed to this work and highly invested in the outcome. Resolve boasts a high staff retention rate, and it’s very important to Resolve leadership that these team members – those closest to our communities and those carrying out the organization’s work daily – have a key role in determining the organization's future. We also would like outside stakeholder input, and are excited to give guidance on who else besides our board and staff should be included in conversations about our organization’s future. 

We expect this strategic plan to incorporate attention to all elements of Resolve as an organization: its programmatic work, financial sustainability plan, and future staffing structure and organizational scaffolding.

Concerning the final output, our primary audience is internal: we are engaging in this work mainly for internal cohesion and for us all, as a team, to be very clear about our overarching strategic priorities over the coming years.  That said, our secondary audiences include our broad networks: funders, local community partners, our newsroom partners, the wider journalism industry, and Philadelphians writ-large. We would like to have abridged and capsulized versions of the plan with data visualizations that are easily accessible to these various audiences.

We have already established a Strategic Planning Committee, composed of eight people (four staff, three board members, and Resolve’s Executive Director) to coordinate the work undertaken with our chosen consultant. For more information on the role of this committee, please see the document “Strategic Planning Committee POP,” which can be accessed by emailing  This committee to be closest to the consultant-let process, but we also expect ample opportunities for all staff and board to not only directly inform the process throughout the engagement, but also to review and give feedback on drafts of deliverables.  The final plan should be ready to be approved by Resolve’s full Board of Directors during Q4 2024.

The ideal consultant for this project will:

  • Be aligned with Resolve’s mission, vision, and our core values
  • Be excited to embody and work with a team that is committed to the Operating Principles listed above
  • Have an understanding of the concepts of institutional and structural racism and bias and their impact on urban communities like Philadelphia 
  • Have demonstrated experience in designing and executing a planning process that incorporates input from staff, board, and external and community stakeholders
  • Have experience working with nonprofit organizations, including those with alternative revenue streams
  • Work smoothly with an internal strategic planning committee, comprised of board and staff
  • Have experience working with highly diverse teams who bring an array of life and professional experiences to the table
  • Be based in Philadelphia or have the ability to travel to Philly at agreed-upon regular intervals throughout the duration of this contract
  • Familiarity with the media industry and news and journalism landscape
  • ​​Demonstrate some knowledge of the funding terrain that faces the local news industry
  • Produce a deliverable that is a clear, easily consumed, strategic planning roadmap, accompanied by a strategic planning timeline, plan for implementation, and evaluation methodology
  • Work with the Senior Leadership team to create a system of monitoring, reviewing, and adjusting the strategic plan as needed

Submission Instructions and Application Deadline

The deadline for full proposals is 11:59 PM (Pacific) Wednesday, November 29, 2023.

As noted above, interested applicants may access additional background materials by contacting

All proposals submitted in response to this RFP will be reviewed by Resolve’s Strategic Planning Committee. Proposals should be in either PDF or Google Docs format, with an overall length of no more than 8 pages  (excluding attachments). Proposal submissions should be submitted at this link:

Depending on the volume of responses received, a preliminary round of interviews may be conducted among “finalist” applicants only; successful applicants should expect to complete between one and three interviews before the contract is finalized, as well as a presentation to the review committee (please note: interviews and presentations may be delivered virtually).

Submission Requirements

Applicants shall submit a proposal that includes, at a minimum, the following elements:

  1. Name of firm or lead contractor, address, telephone, email, and contact person.
  2. Summary of interest in the project and proposal for what this strategic planning process might realistically look like.  Please include your experience in working with any program to create a strategic plan, and based on your understanding of our organization, explain the particular challenges and opportunities to address in a strategic plan in this community at this particular time. 
  3. Profile of the Contractor must include:
    1.  A list of the names and titles of the members, partners, officers, management, and staff of the contractor’s firm. Include the number of years the firm has operated.
    2. If applicable, provide documentation for minority, women, or disabled-owned business certification.
    3. Three references for which the contractor has provided comparable contractual services to those specified in the RFP. 
    4. A summary and samples of the contractor’s work on similar projects.
    5. Evidence of experience working with non-profit organizations and if available, experience working with other journalism organizations or newsrooms.
    6. Resumes of key individuals and any subcontractor(s) associated with this proposed project, with a clear description of which staff will interact with our team on which elements of the project.
  4. A Work Plan that incorporates the scope of services at each stage of the strategic planning process. The work plan should generally identify the expected duration of each task and reflect associated personnel and other resources required for all tasks to be performed.  This should include a schedule for all deliverables.  
  5. Project Fees, with a line item project expense budget indicating all costs for carrying out the proposed work, including personnel, travel, lodging, meals, supplies, materials, overhead, and all other necessary expenses.

Proposal Submission and Expected Timeline: 

11/03/23 - RFP released 
11/29/23 - Proposals due
11/30/23 to 12/20/23 - Proposal review period, candidate interviews, and selection process 
12/21/23 - Notification date 
01/16/24 - Finalize contract/project start date 
10/31/24 - Project end date 

Electronic proposals should be submitted at this link:
For questions, please contact