Request for Proposals: Marketing Firm Services for Extension Engagement Hub Program

Extension Foundation, a 501(c)(3) tax exempt organization, requests services from a marketing firm experienced in providing marketing services to U.S. colleges and university programs with an emphasis in community engagement and educational outreach. Services are funded through a cooperative agreement with the United States Department of Agriculture, National Institute for Food and Agriculture in partnership with Oklahoma State University. 

  1. Extension Foundation Background
    1. The Extension Foundation, founded in 2006, is a non-profit organization that serves and partners with the U.S. Cooperative Extension service to enhance growth, leadership, competencies, entrepreneurship, and stewardship for innovation and technology supporting Cooperative Education professionals. Cooperative Extension is a national system of educational outreach from land-grant universities/colleges located in every U.S. state and the territories. 
  1. Assigned duties. Two employees have been assigned communications, marketing, and engagement duties: the Communications & Engagement Manager, who is primarily responsible for providing proactive and strategic communications to our members and to the Land-Grant University System, and the Communications Associate who collaborates with the Communications & Engagement Manager. 
  1. UNH Engagement Hub Program
    1. Background
      1. UNH believes that every child deserves an opportunity to achieve one’s dreams through a multiple educational pathway approach that recognizes the diversity of student interests and abilities. This project seeks to construct a UNH Engagement Hub to dynamically connect multiple partners on a single platform to engage faculty, staff, and all students exponentially and effortlessly about UNH outreach opportunities, including youth programs, educator professional development, youth & family Extension programs, faculty/staff involvement in the community and schools. 
      2. It will utilize our most powerful tool — our website— to guide youth through a pathway from elementary school to higher education and the workforce and become lifelong learners. Similarly, it will guide educators and school administrators through relevant opportunities to expand their own development within learning cohorts and varied methods of instruction.
      3. The Engagement Hub will help students gravitate to programs that are personally relevant and hold the potential to improve, support, and guide them through their education and into a fulfilling career. By supporting the ongoing learning of primary and secondary educators through professional development that meets their needs, UNH can engrain itself deeply into our local communities.
      4. The hub project is in the early stages of development and has a high potential for making a significant local and statewide impact. The Hub also leverages, correlates to, and completes a number of ‘spokes’ that exist with current UNH projects, such as: Future Skilling, Micro-credentialing, and a Lifelong Learner Bridge.
      5. The Hub has the capability to improve the education and the lives of any NH resident in several ways, for example: improved college readiness and access, increased engagement, improved financial stability, and improved mental and physical health. This is our Why – to more intentionally and consistently touch the lives of youth, educators, and citizens throughout our State.
    2. Audience
      1. The initial primary audiences in developing the Hub are K-12 youth & families, and alumni/community. Eventually, the Hub will include learners of all ages and types. We are currently working with the Hub vendor to identify the ‘personas’ to be created immediately and as the project progresses.
    3. Audience Location
      1. The audience is located in the state of New Hampshire. 
  1. Nature of Change for Audience
    1. We want a greater awareness of and involvement in UNH’s engagement opportunities. We want to make it easier and more logical for people to find and utilize the programs/events and create a ‘personal journey’ through their lifetime by providing relevant learning pathways.
    2. We would know if the change was successful if there was more awareness, participation, and tracking of the journeys taken. This is a long-term assessment.
  2. Key Performance Indicator
    1. This project is focused on information gathering about the intended audience and making recommendations for best practices in terms of marketing, communications, and evaluation. The KPI will be a firm’s ability to gather useful information from the diverse target audience in the state of New Hampshire and the development of audience personas and how to best target messaging to those different personas. 
  1.  Overview: Scope of Services, Please address the following required services in your proposal:
    1. Coordinate market research to support the University of New Hampshire Engagement Hub program to test messaging and build audience personas. 
      1. Conduct market research to determine how to create greater awareness of and involvement in UNH’s engagement opportunities, and level of interest in participating in the online UNH Engagement Hub and the value perspectives seen by the target audience. 
        1. Understand different audience perspectives in UNH’s goal to make their Engagement Hub easier and more logical for people to find and utilize the programs/events and create a ‘personal journey’ through their lifetime by providing relevant learning pathways.
      2. Suggest best practice management to promote a high engagement (call to action) and retention based on success of similar institutions that may or may not be educational (e.g. tourism, municipalities, etc.).
      3. Determine best channels, including Cooperative Extension, for reaching the target audience with UNH Programs, Events, and other critical information. 
      4. Identify potential messaging strategies to best engage the target audience to register an account and participate in the Engagement Hub.
  2. Proposal Outline (Please organize your proposal as follows)
    1. Executive summary. Describe your understanding of the work to be performed and your firm’s ability to complete it within the March 2022 through August 2022 timeframe. 
    2. Professional experience. Provide a description of your firm including philosophy, size,structure, and qualifications. Include a list of current engagements in the agricultural sector or Cooperative Extension that you believe are comparable to our organization’s size, mission focus, and complexity.
    3. Team qualifications. Identify the specific individuals – partners, managers, and in-charge staff – who will be assigned to this engagement if your firm’s proposal is selected, including the qualifications and experience of each.
    4. Fees. Provide a firm estimate of the fees for services to be provided.
    5. Additional information. Additional information not specifically requested but nonetheless helpful in evaluating your proposal is welcome.
  3. Proposal Deadline
    1. The deadline for receipt of your proposal is February 25th, 2022. Documents should be emailed to aaronweibe@extension.org. Proposals received after this date will not be considered. For additional information, questions, or clarifications, please contact me via email or phone at (667) 228-4583.