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Development Consultant

Company: Appel Farm Arts & Music Center
Date Posted: October 7, 2015

Appel Farm Arts & Music Center

RFP for Development Consultant

Expertise ~ Individual Relationship Building and Giving

RFP request ~

Appel Farm Arts & Music Center, located near Elmer, NJ, in rural Salem County, South Jersey, seeks an Development Consultant for a 6-month engagement. Consultant to  devise strategies and timelines for evaluating current individual donors, assist with networking with said donors and then soliciting individual donors through many different development tools. The consultant will work with the staff, board and development committee to share their expertise and teach them the nuances of developing individual donors. This knowledge and new systems will be documented in a manual for the current staff to reference upon completion of consultation period (November 15th, 2015 to May 15th, 2016).

Appel Farm's Company History and Mission ~

Appel Farm, a premier fine & performing arts organization, was established in 1960 as a residential summer arts camp encompassing a unique student/teacher community. Incorporated as a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization in 1978, the center currently provides school and social service programming, on-site arts education opportunities including arts events, arts retreats, performances, festivals and a nationally renowned residential summer camp. Appel Farm serves nearly 25,000 people with an operating budget of approximately $2,100,000 and is run by a professional staff and volunteer Board of Trustees.

Appel Farm's mission is "to provide people of all ages, cultures, and economic backgrounds with a supportive, cooperative environment in which to explore the arts". Appel Farm's values are rooted in the principles that we are Transforming Lives through the Arts! The arts are an exciting and essential part of the learning process and are crucial for the livelihood of a community.

Appel Farm's main goal is to transform lives through the arts by providing quality arts programming to children, families, schools, social service organizations and our community. Our impact is primarily in the South Jersey area, though several programs branch out to the tri-state area, the continental United States and even internationally.

Over the last 20 years, the New Jersey State Council on the Arts has acknowledged Appel Farm for "remarkable contributions made to the cultural life of New Jersey" providing major annual funding. This distinction recognizes Appel Farm as one of the leading cultural institutions in the state. Appel Farm maintains its growth by earned and contributed income from foundations, corporations and individuals.

Appel Farm's Company Background ~

Appel Farm Arts & Music Center is an acclaimed, arts education based, non-profit located 35 minutes from Philadelphia. Our residential summer arts program began its 55th year of providing intensive arts education for an estimated 400+ children, ages 7-17, in an educational and nurturing environment. Admission is based on a non-competitive interest in the arts. An international staff of over 95 professional artists and arts educators, encourage students to develop self-esteem and an appreciation for cultural diversity. Appel Farm's Rising Young Artist Scholarship Program provides annual tuition assistance to over 125 children who are economically disadvantaged and artistically inclined.

Growing over the past 55 years, Appel Farm's programs have expanded to meet the needs of a diverse audience beyond our summer camp through on and off-site programs. Through Creative Connections, Appel Farm currently partners with 15 schools in Salem, Cumberland, Gloucester, Camden and Atlantic counties.

Creative Connections consist of dance, theatre, music and visual arts, workshops, residencies and professional development programs for students and teachers. Appel Farm also has curricular partnership agreements with school districts including the Bridgeton Public Schools "Pathways: 21st Century Community Learning Center" and long-term residencies with various schools in our local region.

The HeART & Health Program provides arts activities for people in healthcare and social service settings. During the 2014-2015 year, the CREATING Families program was launched in partnership with the Family Enrichment Program to help families in our community build healthy relationships and promote child well-being through the arts.

Appel Farm offers several on-site programs also including Arts Lab ~ An After School Arts Sampler, for local school children to become immersed in visual and performing Arts, weekend girl-scout retreats, Crafty Campout and a Journey Jamboree for young scouts to earn arts badges, and family nights out with arts exploratory activities for the entire family. Beyond that, Appel Farm has hosted an annual music festival for 25 years, which is now transformed into an annual music and wine festival by partnering with the Vintage Atlantic Wine region.

Appel Farm is currently launching The Citizenship School at Appel Farm, a three-day residential arts program for schools and community groups where youth learn citizenship skills and develop lifelong passions for the power of arts through an immersive, arts curriculum. Appel Farm's experiential, arts curriculum teaches young people and their adult mentors the skills of creative leadership including hands-on lessons in collaboration, communication, critical thinking, and civic engagement using the powerful tool of the arts as a foundation for creating change. The curriculum meets Pennsylvania and New Jersey Core Curriculum Content Standards for the arts and social sciences and reaches under served schools and communities throughout the greater Philadelphia/southern New Jersey region.

Appel Farm’s Current Individual Giving Efforts ~

Appel Farm has engaged in the following fundraising efforts:

  • Produced an annual Fall Campaign Solicitation to previous donors (to approximately 350 people) via mail in mid-November raising approximately $8,500. Additional letters are sent to camper families and patronswho have taken arts classes.
  • Conducted an Annual Board of Trustees Solicitation campaign in FY 2015, raising approximately $43,000.
  • Conducted two Individual Matching Gift programs - $5,000 from the Victoria Foundation and $15,000 from the Salem Health & Wellness Foundation (SHWF). The Victoria Foundation Matching Grant was realized and $10,700 of the SHWF grant has been secured as July 31, 2015.
  • Conducted a Giving Tuesday campaign and Amazon Smile campaign with minimal results.
  • Recorded and tracked donations in Excel and Filemaker programs, sending tax deductible, thank you letters to all donors regardless of size of donation.
  • eld Cocktails and Conversations (friend-raising mixers), to introduce the new Executive Director to our constituents in Philadelphia (March, 2015) and in South Jersey (May, 2015).
  • And will be holding an Alumni reunion during the weekend of Labor Day, 2015 to encourage alumni and their families to reconnect with Appel Farm. This networking weekend is also a good starting point for expanding our connections, which will also hopefully lead to more long-term fundraising opportunities.

Consultant Short, Mid- and Long Term Goals ~

The following “Consultant goals” will help Appel Farm reach its general goal of increasing fundraising efforts and creating a stronger network of givers.

Short Term Goals: 

  • Provide at least 30 hours of monthly consulting services, possibly more at the start of the contract.
  • To meet with staff and board for an introductory fact finding meeting to understand the programs and development strategies. Through conversations with staff, acclimate to individual donor solicitation campaigns (including fall and spring campaigns, Matching Gift programs, Giving Tuesday programs and lapsed donor campaigns)
  • In consultation with staff and board, explore and evaluate stakeholder databases and demographics to create a targeted list of at least 50 potential donors.
  • With a database of over 6,000 alumni and alumni families, conduct research with the staff, on the current camp alumni database to identify key potential donors, develop methods of approaching and networking with those alumni, and creating strategic plans on maintaining consistent communication with those alumni to develop them into donors.

Mid-Term Goals:

  • • Create a strategic, sustainable plan and a timeline of action steps to solicit above referenced potential donors to include, but not limited to letters, emails, phone conversations, one-on-one visits with Appel Farm representative and cultivator reception. All plans (including solicitation of 50 potential donors) to include the tools for execution ie: letters, email samples etc. The plan and timeline is to be presented to Appel Farm, within 45 days of hiring consultant.
  • Consultant to create three additional official systems to encourage donations through a. monthly giving, b. endowment giving and c. planned giving within 90 days of hire date.
  • Create follow up plan for all campaigns so that Appel Farm continues to maintain donors.

Long-Term Goals:

  • In addition to developing new infrastructure systems, Appel Farm’s financial goal is to double our individual giving from $80,000 (FY2015) to $160,000 by (FY2017). The strategic plans should reflect realistic action plans to achieve this goal.
  • Meet with and work with the board to develop a potential list of new board members based on the organizations needs and prepare strategies to approach these individuals.
  • Conduct a Board and Staff training workshop that will cover all aspects of the art of making “The Ask”, to empower Appel Farm to make a successful fundraising solicitation.
  • Monitor progress toward milestones/assess momentum and make recommendations to sustain it.
  • Assist with developing effective recruitment materials (job description) for a full time Individual Giving Manager.

Appel Farm's Expectations ~

  • Development Consultant candidates will participate in an initial interview with Executive Director, Director of External Relations, President of the Board and/or various members of the Board Development Committee.
  • Chosen Consultant will then meet with the staff, board and development committee members in an effort to gain an understanding of the fundraising knowledge that Appel Farm contains.
  • Within the first two months, consultant is expected to work in the office one day a week to analyze Appel Farm processes and have discussions with Executive Director, staff and board to understand current practices and to make recommendations for improvements.
  • There after, during the following four months, the consultant is expected to work at least one day a week, bi-monthly in the office.
  • All working documents/files created by the consultant in reference to the Appel Farm partnership will remain Appel Farm property and will reside on the Development server at Appel Farm. Consultant will haveremote access to specific files within the server to accomplish their work.
  • All official correspondences with Appel Farm staff to transpire through official Appel Farm emails. Consultant to present a short “Highlights” of work accomplished each week by Friday 9a, for inclusion in report sent to board and staff.
  • Initial correspondence with organization will happen through Director of External Relations and/or Executive Director. Future correspondences with department heads should always be cc’d to so that the Director of External Relations can monitor progress.
  • Appel Farm exercises control and approval over the content and volume of any solicitations.
  • At no time will independent consultant be considered an employee of Appel Farm. Consultant will be paid as a third party vendor within 30 days of receiving monthly invoice.
  • Upon contract completion all materials still in possession of the consultant will be given to Appel Farm.

Consultant Specifics ~ Please address the following in your RFP document (three-page maximum).

  • List your company history - How long have you been a consultant and who are some of your clients? Please share your experience in fundraising to corporate, foundation and government in areas of the arts, education or in other non-profit fields.
  • List your company background - What do you do? How do you best work and correspond with your clients?
  • List your "Company Overview of Work to be Performed" – Please address your work scope in reference to the above listed Short-, Mid- and Long- Term goals and Appel Farm's Expectations.
  • Cost of the Proposed Work – Please provide a price quote that defining your ability to work within our office vs. hours you prefer to work in your home office. Please indicate the items that incur any additional fees above your monthly fee ie: printing, mailings, visits and meals with donor prospects etc. All additional costs to be vetted through Executive Director prior to incurring expense.
  • References - Please include with your proposal a list of at least three references preferably in the field of arts, education or a combination of both. References should include a description of the company, contact name, phone number, email address and web site URL.
  • Donor Solicitation Writing Sample – Please present one sample of a donor solicitation.

Legal Disclaimer ~

Either party may terminate the contract by providing fourteen (14) days written notice to the other party. At said time, it will be expected that a follow up conversation between the two parties will happen to obtain any and all outstanding work still in the hands of the consultant.

Instructions for responding ~

Please follow the instructions below in submitting your responses to this RFP:

  • Contract and Non-disclosure statement: Both parties will be expected to sign a contract, and a non-disclosure agreement is expected to be signed by consultant.
  • Format of RFP and how to send: Submit RFP and support materials in electronic format to Electronic responses must be in Microsoft Word. Please send all the materials together in one email. This will make our RFP process more efficient. A confirmation response email will be sent within two business days.
  • Deadline: RFP deadline is Saturday, October 31, 2015. Appel Farm reserves the right to retain all material submitted to us in any format, without any implied or express obligation or consideration.
  • Terms – The estimated monthly fee quoted in your response should be valid until at least December 31, 2015.
  • Questions about RFP or concerns about material submissions? – Please contact Heather Yelle, Director of External Relations with any concerns, at or call (856) 358-2472 ext. 103.