Deadline date

Nov. 8, 2019

The American Civil Liberties Union of Virginia (ACLU-VA or ACLU of Virginia) is seeking a public relations consultant or agency to conduct a comprehensive audit of the organization’s communications function and programs.

Executive Summary

The ACLU of Virginia seeks to hire a communications consultant or agency to conduct a comprehensive audit of the organization’s external communications. This would include a review and analysis of all communications activities and collateral and provision of recommendations for future strategies to align with best industry practices and ensure that communications are being used most effectively to help further the organization’s mission of protecting and expanding civil rights and civil liberties in Virginia.

Scope of Work

Key objectives include:

  1. Receiving impartial, constructive feedback on deliverables being produced by the Communications Team and how they might be continued, expanded, adjusted or discarded;
  2. Ensuring that the affiliate’s communications efforts are aligned with current industry best practices;
  3. Reviewing systems and processes used by the Communications Team;
  4. Reviewing staffing, resource allocation, and support;
  5. Determining strengths and weaknesses in the current environment;
  6. Providing recommendations for improvement on all of the above, including how best to measure the quality and effectiveness of inputs, outputs, and outcomes as related to the organizational mission; and
  7. Receiving recommendations for adjustments to the communication program based on its two major campaigns – voting rights and Smart Justice – as well as the desire to enhance the affiliate’s donor base.

Topics to be reviewed and analyzed in the audit may include but not be limited to:

  1. The affiliate’s written Communications Policy;
  2. Print collateral, including brochures, flyers, mailers, publications, reports, etc.;
  3. Digital communications, including social media, website/blog, and email communications, among others;
  4. Traditional media relations, including relationships with journalists and news outlets, news releases and conferences, op-eds, story pitching, etc.;
  5. Readability of all materials and relevance to audience;
  6. Adherence to brand guidelines developed by the national ACLU and adopted by the affiliate;
  7. Process for receiving and evaluating requests for speaking engagements, and for pro-actively pitching them;
  8. Effectiveness of materials in communicating across racial, cultural and socio-economic lines; and
  9. Potential audiences and delivery channels for consideration in communications related to the affiliate’s two major campaigns and its development efforts.

Core Competencies


  • Understand the ACLU-Virginia’s mission and purpose;
  • Strong experience and knowledge of current best practices in communications research, planning, implementation and evaluation;
  • Depth of knowledge and experience with the topics of diversity, equity, and inclusivity in relation to contemporary communications;
  • Reliability and clear, professional, communications, reasonable availability, responsiveness to messages, and adherence to deadlines and commitments;
  • Strong leadership ability and willingness to work with the Communications Team, the Senior Leadership Team, Executive Director, DEI Committee, and other staff and board members as necessary throughout the process to formulate analysis and recommendations specific to the ACLU of Virginia.
  • Ability to evaluate metrics, climates, data, etc., and make helpful recommendations, both in the short-term and for use in developing long-term goals and plans.


The successful proposal will generate the following deliverables in line with the scope of work and overall purpose of the project:

  • Key dates/timelines for project from start to finish;
  • A written report covering components outlined above, and others in keeping with best practices which may be recommended by the consultant or agency; and
  • Presentation of key findings and recommendations in person or over the phone.

Proposal Contents

Successful proposal will include the following:

  • Clear outline of work and timeline for completion;
  • Costs and fees;
  • Professional references;
  • Examples of successful project or client work;
  • Examples of how diversity, equity and inclusivity have been incorporated into previous work;
  • Dialogue proposal and facilitation strategy; and
  • How you heard about this opportunity.

Submission Information

Questions about this request for proposals should be sent to:

Bill Farrar

Director of Strategic Communications


Proposals should be submitted via email by midnight on Nov. 8, 2019.

Please take a look at the full RFP below for details.

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