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RFP – Program Impact Communications Strategy – Consultant

Schedule of Events 

April 11, 2022  RFP sent to Vendors 
April 18, 2022  Vendors confirm intent to bid and submit questions to Parks California by 3 PM; 
April 21, 2022  Parks California replies to Vendor questions
April 29, 2022  RFP responses due from Vendors. Responses should be emailed in compressed files to 
May 2 – May 5, 2022 Parks California reviews all proposals
May 6, 2022  Selection of finalists 
Week of May 16   Finalists present to Parks California
May 23, 2022  Parks California selects Vendor and begins contracting phase  
May 30, 2022  Finalize contract and SOW
June 1, 2022  Go Live || On-boarding and Project Kickoff  



This request for proposal (RFP) is for Communications Strategy Services.

Parks California launched in 2019 as a new statewide nonprofit working to ensure our state, regional, and local parks thrive. Our mission is to make our state parks and public lands welcoming, inclusive and climate resilient spaces where all people throughout California truly feel at home. We partner with California Department of Parks and Recreation (Department) to accomplish our goals.

Parks California’s headquarters is in Sacramento, CA.


Project Summary 

Parks California is in its third year of operations and programming. Now that our programmatic strategies are launched, we are gathering initial impact data that we seek to share through compelling messaging and storytelling that resonates with our audiences.

Our programmatic approach: Our mission integrates two key areas – equitable access and natural resource protection and stewardship. No one agency or organization or sector can tackle today’s challenges. These tasks require that we reach across jurisdictional boundaries and disciplines to strengthen capacity and bring resources to collectively create solutions that manage landscapes at scale in a changing climate and improve access to parks for all in California.

Our programs focus on building mutually supportive relationships among partners at many levels, bringing much needed resources to amplify the work of other park agencies and support organizations.

By leading and investing in programs that provide equitable park access and the stewardship, we collectively contribute to health and wellbeing of California’s communities and the long-term health of our park system – from the visitor experience to climate resilience.



  • Equitable Access – Whether real or perceived, many in California don’t feel California State Parks are a place for people like them. By supporting programs that are relevant and that make parks more welcoming and inviting, we will reduce barriers that prevent people from growing a connection to nature. We collaborate with California State Parks and community stakeholders to build trust, grow park awareness, provide memorable and relevant park experiences in an effort to develop the next generation of park visitors and stewards. We believe when people develop a connection to parks, it evokes a relationship, enjoyment, and lifelong stewardship of these extraordinary places.
  • Resource Stewardship – Parks California recently launched its Resource Stewardship Initiative, with a focus on working across jurisdictional boundaries to advance climate resilience strategies at the landscape-scale. We support the development of tools, trainings, and partnerships that catalyze innovations and drive cross-boundary resource stewardship.  We also support inclusive workforce development and training opportunities that open pathways for future park stewards and employees to care for park landscapes for generations to come.

Through this RFP, we seek to develop a communications strategy that combines our integrated mission of equitable access and natural resource protection into a clear, compelling, values-aligned communication strategy. While Parks California will adopt this strategy, an adapted version will also be shared with partners across the state. By providing these resources with like-minded organizations, we aim to provide a shared language around access and climate change that unites, provokes dialogue, and sparks collaboration for change.

Scope of Work:

The selected consultant will assist with the following outputs:

  1. Develop the following for Parks California:
    • A universal programmatic story and its unique set of programs – from equitable park access to natural resources protection and stewardship.
    • Positioning, concepting and core messaging that allows for each programmatic theme and project/s to stand alone, when needed, including but not limited to:
      • Shared language
      • Pitch and headlines – from overall to specific program descriptors
      • Story
      • Fundraising ask
    • Provide recommendations to integrate programmatic storytelling into organization’s overall communication strategy (website, newsletter, social, one-pagers) including projects (for example Candlestick Point SRA and Big Basin) and
    • Create a communications toolkit and recommend and develop set of assets for Parks California to successfully integrate programmatic storytelling across its platforms.
    • Host and facilitate training for Park California for adoption across all departments.


  1. Develop the following for Partners
    • All-inclusive language that brings together equitable access, climate resilience, and natural resource protection
    • Partner Communication toolkit for partners to customize and adopt, including:
      • Messaging framework
      • Shared narrative and core messaging
      • Recommend a list of assets to include in a Partner Communication Toolkit (including but not limited to language, messaging samples, infographics, proof points, factsheets)
      • Develop and execute 2-3 of the top recommendations
      • Virtual training for partners to use toolkit


Approach for developing the outputs:

  • Conduct landscape analysis
    • Review existing language and assets at Parks California and California State Parks
    • Review how other organizations with the dual mission of public lands access and protection are messaging climate change and equitable access
    • Provide summary of analysis and list of recommendations for Parks California to consider
  • Engage stakeholders:
    • Interview Parks California staff, board and advisory council members to capture what our team values in our impact messaging
    • Interview cross section of external partners to capture collective values around integrated mission to inform development of partner toolkit

Background and Expectations  

  • Parks California is a new statewide nonprofit partner to California State Park and Recreation. The organization just celebrated its third year.
  • Parks California has rich data and reports that informed the creation of the organization. This along with the communication strategy led over the past year will be shared with the selected consultant during the on-boarding.
  • It’s expected that the consultant fully understands the nonprofit and public sector and multisector audiences. Expertise in public lands and climate science communications is also a plus.
  • Parks California will rely on the consultant to create innovative content that resonates and reaches the target audiences – from concept, to nuances, to attention grabbing messaging.
  • California is rich with multicultural communities. Having expertise in both equity and inclusion will be a plus.
  • The budget range for this project is expected to be $25,000 -$35,000

RFP Responses Requirements  

Please respond to each item listed below. All items developed and submitted in answer to this RFP shall become the property of Parks California.

  1. Provide a brief history and how you can add value to this project, including examples of situations from comparable projects where the owner received tangible value.
  2. Provide a general statement of qualifications that responds to the project background information given in this RFP.
  3. Offer an example of who you believe is best in class for communicating about both equitable access and climate resilience in public lands.
  4. Participants are to propose how they would address Parks California’s project needs by addressing all the items called out in this RFP. Include insight on your methodology and analysis where possible and appropriate, and include suggested schedule required to complete the project. Provide information regarding your current workload and how you would accommodate this project.
  5. Creative Exercise: You are invited to present a recommendation to the following prompt as part of your response. Parks California is a partner to a state agency with a dual mission mandate – “To provide for the health, inspiration and education of the people of California by helping to preserve the state’s extraordinary biological diversity, protecting its most valued natural and cultural resources, and creating opportunities for high-quality outdoor recreation”. How would you create a messaging strategy that addresses the management challenge of creating equitable park access while also addressing natural resource degradation in parks resulting from increasing visitation?
  6. Participants must provide brief background of the team member(s) who would service the Parks California RFP if awarded the project.
  7. The proposal must include three references for recent and, preferably, similar studies. “Similar studies” could be defined by one or more of the following:
  • Start-up organization
  • Non-profit organization
  • Environmental and/or recreation organization
  • Government agency

Each reference should include:

  • Company name
  • Brief summary of the work done. Include links if available.
  • Date work was done
  • Company contact (name, title, phone, email)
  1. Provide details on your Fees and Charges. All items must clearly be identified as per project cost.
  • Any assumptions not priced here will be assumed to be at no charge to Parks California.
  • Refer to the RFP for any definitions or requirements.
  • Include typical mark-up rates for third party costs.
  1. Provide your standard Master Services Agreement for review.


Evaluation Criteria

Parks California will evaluate each participant’s submission on the following criteria:

  • Thoroughness of proposed approach and solution
  • Timelines and scope met
  • Samples of final product
  • How the work is prioritized
  • Client references
  • Fees and charges