Crossroads seeks bids for Capital Campaign Consultant

Request for Proposals
for Capital Campaign Consultant

PURPOSE AND BACKGROUND

Purpose
July 4, 2026 will kick off a national celebration of the 250th anniversary of the founding of the United States, fought for during the eight-year War for Independence. Preparations for New Jersey’s statewide, multi-year commemoration is being coordinated by a public-private partnership (Revolution NJ) between the New Jersey Historical Commission (NJHC), a state agency, and Crossroads of the American Revolution Association (Crossroads), the not-for-profit manager of the federally designated Crossroads of the American Revolution National Heritage Area (Crossroads NHA).

The partners have agreed that the not-for-profit will seek proposals from fundraising consultants to assess the feasibility of a capital campaign. The purpose of the campaign will be to fund a range of action items that not only support activities during the commemoration period (from 2024 to 2033), but also establish American Revolution-related heritage tourism as a long-term economic driver for the state of New Jersey and its communities.

Crossroads commissioned a visitor readiness study of 150 Revolutionary era historic sites, completed in early 2020. The multi-disciplinary team of preservation architects and planners, cultural resources consultants and heritage tourism professionals determined needs and estimated costs for a variety of activities. Additionally, the Revolution NJ partnership has established a strategic framework to evaluate proposed activities. These areas include:

  • capital needs (repairs and facility upgrades to visitor sites, as well as the establishment of a visitor center or centers);
  • programming (such as new exhibits, special events, interpretive training, public outreach and education efforts, adequate staffing, etc.); and
  • establishment of a unified brand and ongoing marketing campaign (advertising, PR, comprehensive signage, etc.).

The costs to accomplish all these objectives are large and aspirational. Some of these needs will be met through a combination of public and private funding, while others will rely primarily on private funding. These activities will need to be prioritized based on need and funding feasibility. The RFP seeks advisors experienced in New Jersey philanthropy who can determine what monetary private fundraising goals are achievable for these activities.

The study should determine how much capital can realistically be raised over what period of time, set campaign goals and test them, and develop a campaign plan. After the initial testing phase, the consultant will be asked to develop a plan outlining the cost of ongoing campaign counsel.

Organizational Background

Crossroads NHA is one of 55 National Heritage Areas (NHAs) across the country and is the only heritage area dedicated to telling the story of the American Revolution. Morristown National Historical Park is its main National Park Service partner. The federally designated heritage area encompasses approximately 2,155 square miles in New Jersey, including 212 municipalities in 14 counties. While federal matching funds are designated only within those boundaries, Crossroads works with partners throughout the entire state ~ hundreds of state and local historic sites; preservation groups; historical societies; friends groups; state, county and local governments; schools; libraries and museums ~ to tell the story of New Jersey’s significant contributions to our nation’s founding.

General George Washington spent more than one-quarter of his time as Commander-in-Chief in New Jersey, establishing dozens of headquarters here during the war, when more than 600 instances of armed combat were recorded. From the heights of the Palisades at Fort Lee to the shores of the Delaware River at Red Bank Battlefield, the Crossroads of the American Revolution National Heritage Area offers an unprecedented opportunity to explore the impact of the American Revolution.

The Crossroads professional staff works with a board of trustees comprised of business and civic leaders, history enthusiasts and environmentalists. Together, they are committed to capitalizing on the state’s complex Revolutionary history to promote heritage tourism, history-based education and local pride.

The Revolution NJ partnership was established by the state legislature in 2018 to advance the role that history plays in public discourse, community engagement, education, tourism, and scholarship in New Jersey. One aspect of this mission is to prepare the state’s Revolutionary-era heritage sites for an influx of visitors during the anniversary years and beyond. These sites tell the stories of battles and skirmishes, as well as the impact on the daily lives of average New Jerseyans of all social, economic and racial backgrounds. Programming will highlight the continuing relevance of the American Revolution today, as we continue to debate and pursue the ideals expressed in the Declaration of Independence and the U.S. Constitution.

New Jersey’s Revolutionary heritage sites range from state-managed battlefields to locally owned and operated structures in various degrees of repair and readiness to receive visitors. Some are fully equipped to welcome visitors daily, while others are seldom open and need major repairs or alteration in order to offer basic services to multiple visitors at one time. Crossroads, as the private-sector partner in the Revolution NJ partnership, is responsible for developing the capital campaign effort.

OBJECTIVE & DELIVERABLES

Outlining the Consultant’s Role
We seek a consultant to conduct a capital campaign study to determine the amount of capital that there is reason to believe could be raised from private-sector donors, corporate partners, and foundations. The consultant, in consultation with Crossroads staff, capital campaign council and the board of directors would:

  • Assist in developing a compelling case for future support.
  • Identify a donor list comprised of local, regional and national philanthropic donors, corporate partners and foundation prospects.
  • Recommend campaign strategies for reaching new and diverse audiences and donors.
  • Offer key staff and board leadership training in capital campaign solicitation.
  • Provide specific recommendations on donor recognition appropriate to this project.
  • Assist with early implementation, outreach and communication about the campaign
  • Conduct a feasibility study (see “Objectives” below).

Objectives of the Feasibility Study
In addition to the above, the consultant’s primary deliverable is a study outlining Crossroads’ short- and long-term philanthropic goals and long-term opportunities for financial success. Specifically, the feasibility study should address the following key areas:

  1. Ascertain potential support. Through ongoing interviews and knowledge of the Capital Campaign Council’s capabilities, the consultant will provide a realistic estimate for potential campaign success. The consultant will determine if there are enough donor prospects, and enough prospects at different giving levels, to reach the recommended goal.
  2. Set a realistic campaign goal. This includes an overall goal and potential sub-goals for different components of the Revolution NJ effort.
  3. Expand potential prospect list. Develop the optimal funding mix of lead donors, major donors, private foundations, and, if necessary, direct-mail public solicitations. Identify public grant and possible tax credit sources.
  4. Determine campaign strategies. Identify strengths, weaknesses, and a prognosis for success/inability to reach recommended goal. Make proposal for successful implementation.
  5. Develop a fundraising plan for soliciting individual prospects. Information developed in the confidential interviews with the consultant will be used to develop an appropriate solicitation plan, giving level(s) and fundraising schedule (including potential in-kind gifts).
  6. Prepare written report/fundraising plan. The completion of the study will be a written report that synthesizes the findings from the confidential interviews, and the consultant’s recommendations for conducting a successful capital campaign.

Deliverables

  • Campaign Plan. Develop a capital campaign plan that includes clarified goals (dollars raised, timeframe, donor distribution); milestones (date specific objectives for dollars raised, plus supporting benchmarks ~ volunteers recruited, prospects cultivated, solicitations), prioritized donor segments; recommended key cultivation and solicitation strategies and supporting tactics: specifications for campaign tools; budget and timeline; and recommended evaluation methods.
  • Situation Analysis. Establish foundation of assets, challenges, opportunities and threats related to campaign, based on (e.g.):
    • Materials review
    • Infrastructure audit
    • Peer competitor review/environmental scan
  • Case for Support. Develop foundational document and appropriate supporting documents to guide philanthropic strategy for campaign including brand identity and presentation tool templates.
  • Donor Prospect List, Volunteer Leadership Prospect List, Top Prospects for Both. Identify most promising prospects for capital campaign donors and volunteer leadership, based on (e.g.): Review existing members/donors/prospects lists; Conduct strategy/information-sharing workshop; Wealth screening current lists; Research to uncover potential new donors; Feasibility Report & Suggested Campaign Structure. Test case/messaging, prospects (donor and leadership), campaign scope/gift pyramid with key stakeholders to measure the feasibility of conducting a successful campaign.
  • Campaign Implementation Counsel. Provide strategic counsel throughout capital campaign planning, launch, implementation, evaluation, and refinement. Activities may include: driving implementation of the strategy, facilitating the most effective use of staff and volunteer resources, preparing coaching and supporting staff and volunteer solicitors, conducting direct cultivation and solicitation of prospects where appropriate, developing and/or editing proposals, updates and other campaign materials, advising on campaign communication and serving as a strategic partner to the campaign’s leadership.

PROPOSAL REQUIREMENTS, EVALUATION & SCHEDULE

Proposal Requirements
Address the following topics in a 2-5 page proposal. Please submit additional information or sample materials where relevant, including case statements, campaign collateral, and training material.

  • Project understanding.
  • Project approach including significant phases and deliverables. Please describe your feasibility study process. Include the duties you perform and those you expect to be done by the Crossroads staff or leadership. What information and recommendations will be included in the Feasibility Study Report? What components are included in the campaign plan?
  • Project timeline.
  • Estimate of fees and expenses for feasibility study/campaign plan.
  • Estimate of fees and expenses for ongoing campaign counsel, should your firm be awarded the feasibility study project.
  • Firm capabilities:
    • Experience with comparable organizations and capital campaign projects
    • Experience with feasibility studies and fundraising plans
    • Cultural competency
  • Additional materials (appendices):
    • Project team. (Biographies or resumes detailing experience with similar projects, raising private funds, working in New Jersey)
    • References: Complete contact information of three references from the past 2-3 years.

Proposal Evaluation Rubric

  • 25% Quality and completeness of understanding, approach and overall proposal
  • 25% Quality of match between qualifications/capabilities and experience, project scope, alignment with organizational values, cultural competency and requirements
  • 20% Expertise of project team
  • 15% References
  • 15% Value/ROI for Budget

Estimated Schedule
Issue Request for Proposals: February 12, 2021
Questions/Clarifications due: February 26, 2021
Answers provided by: March 3, 2021
Proposals due: March 17, 2021 at 5:00 p.m.
Evaluation of proposals: March 18-25, 2021
Finalist interviews via Zoom: April 5-9, 2021
Announce decision / send notification: April 12, 2021
Begin work: April 21, 2021

Crossroads reserves the right to revise the above schedule.

Questions/Clarifications contact: [email protected]

Proposal Submissions due no later than 5:00 p.m., March 17, 2021.

Please send proposals electronically, directly to [email protected]

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