Request for Proposal: To Develop a Comprehensive Institutional Communication, Marketing and Fundraising Strategy for Rhodes University

Rhodes University
Please note: this opportunity closing date has passed and may not be available any more.
Opportunity closing date: 
Friday, 24 February, 2017
Opportunity type: 
Call for proposals

Rhodes University prides itself as a university where leaders learn. The institution has a rich history of academic and research excellence. Over the period of 113 years, Rhodes has made a significant contribution to human and social development and built a formidable reputation as an institution of higher learning nationally and internationally. 

Situated in Grahamstown in the Eastern Cape, Rhodes enjoys the distinction of having the best undergraduate pass and graduation rates in South Africa, outstanding postgraduate success rates, and the best research output per academic staff member. This is testimony to:

  • the quality of students that Rhodes attracts and of academic provision,
  • the commitment of Rhodes staff to student development and success.
  • the generosity and committed involvement of our Alumni and funders all over the world and,
  • a social compact based on a deep desire to engage with pressing challenges confronting society at local, national, African and global levels.

Rhodes is both dynamic and cosmopolitan in character. Of its 8000 student population about 20 percent are international students from 40 countries around the world. The university offers an extensive range of high quality undergraduate and postgraduate degrees in the faculties of Humanities, Science, Commerce, Pharmacy, Law and Education.

Facing The Future, The Rhodian Way
Rhodes, like any other institution of higher learning in the country, faces a number of challenges which require a dynamic and imaginative response to enhance its viability and safeguard the sustainability of the project to deliver quality education. Some of the threats emanate from the declining state subsidy, struggling economy, donor fatigue, growing demand for access to higher education, transformation imperatives, inadequate funding for financially needy students, reputational risks, brand management etc.

The University has developed a blue print to respond to the current challenges and to sustain and enhance the institution’s pre-eminent international position as an outstanding institution of higher learning and academic excellence. The following ten points constitute the essence of the blue print:

  • Enhancing the quality of education and overall experience of students.
  • Making Rhodes accessible to academically talented students from diverse racial, social, cultural, economic and class backgrounds.
  • Attracting, nurturing and retaining academic, administrative and support staff of high caliber.
  • Creating and maintaining an inclusive, welcoming, affirming and positive institutional environment.
  • Advancing the transformation imperative of Rhodes University.
  • Maintaining and growing the intellectual outputs and scholarly reputation of our university.
  • Providing the best academic infrastructure, equipment and facilities to support our academic project.
  • Ensuring financial sustainability and long-term viability of the University.
  • Contributing in building a vibrant and sustainable Grahamstown community.
  • Collaborating with the other three institutions of higher learning in the region to address pressing development challenges facing our province.

Communication, marketing and fundraising are vital, strategic and mutually reinforcing functions with transversal relevance to the institutional blue print. In this regard the university has initiated a project to develop a creative and imaginative comprehensive communication and advancement strategy. The comprehensive institutional strategy will be a critical vehicle to catalyse progress on a broad front and precipitate dynamism, collaboration and innovation in the achievement of the institutional objectives.

The broad objectives of this document include, but are not limited to:

  • Provide prospective service providers with adequate information to understand and respond to Rhodes’ requirements.
  • Provide a structured framework for proposals to be submitted.
  • Give input to the development of a comprehensive institutional communication, marketing and fundraising strategy for Rhodes University in order to direct its strategy in engaging with all its stakeholders.

Service Description

  • Conduct briefing sessions with management of the Communication and Advancement Directorate and identified communicators and stakeholders.
  • Determine, through targeted individual interviews and dipstick surveys, the expectations of the leadership and other key internal and external stakeholders.
  • Conduct a review of previous communication and fundraising strategies, including established practice, and other relevant institutional documents.
  • Assess and evaluate the current state of institutional communication and fundraising.
  • Facilitate the two/three-day strategic planning session.
  • Conduct desktop research and international benchmarking exercise.
  • Prepare a report on the strategic planning session and benchmarking exercise (within a week of the session)
  • Draft a framework for the strategy.
  • Facilitate a follow up consultation workshop with key managers and stakeholders (10 people) for input on a framework for the strategy (within two weeks of the session)
  • Prepare the first draft and final communications strategy inclusive of a high level and generic implementation plan for the Communication and Fundraising strategy within a month of the consultative workshop.


  • The two/three days’ session must be executed by the end of March 2017.
  • Logistical arrangements for the workshop will be the responsibility of Rhodes University based on approved specifications by the service provider.
  • This exercise is expected to be a combination of desktop study and direct engagements (one-on-one sessions, focus group, electronically and telephonically) with the relevant stakeholders internally and externally.
  • The service provider must determine the size and scope of team able to produce the outcomes intended.

Mandatory Functional Requirements

In order to be considered, proposals must demonstrate clearly and concisely:

  • How the Service Provider will go about developing the comprehensive institutional communication and fundraising strategy for the University.  
  • How the Service Provider will implement the various elements outlined under the service description.
  • A good understanding of interconnectedness of communication and fundraising.
  • A good understanding of a collaborative institutional approach to communication and fundraising.
  • The ability to move the system from the pattern of working in silos, building teamwork, enabling coherence in strategising, helping to identify the interrelatedness of work and the significance of holistic outcomes and impact to the success of the institution.
  • Demonstrate adequate understanding of project management principles.  
  • Have a successful track record of having facilitated projects on strategy and business plan facilitation.
  • Demonstrate an understanding of drafting strategy.
  • A good understanding of communication and fundraising in the higher education sector environment.

A clearly outlined value added service will be an added advantage.

Functionality Criteria

The evaluation of bids will be done in three stages as follows:
Stage 1
Proposals will be evaluated on administrative requirements as well as functional and submission requirements outlined in this document.
All proposals which fail to meet these requirements may be disqualified at Rhodes’ discretion.
Stage 2 
Proposals will be evaluated on functionality. Points will be allocated in respect of according to a criteria set out on Table.
Stage 3
Proposals scoring less than 80% in respect of functionality will be disqualified.
Qualifying bids will be further evaluated in terms of the 80/20 preference point system and BBBEE as contemplated in the Preferential Procurement Regulations, 2011.


  • An approved comprehensive communication and fundraising strategy.
  • A high-level implementation plan.

Mandatory Submission Requirements
Service providers’ proposals must be submitted as outlined below.

  • Official contact details: specify name, position, address and contact details (e-mail, telephone, and fax) of an authorised contactable person for the service provider.
  • Profile of the company including a description and evidence of work previously undertaken and positive references where similar services have been conducted.
  • Proposal with the proposed methodology and approach, and timelines, resources, costs and dependencies, to demonstrate the service provider's understanding of requirements.
  • Overall price including VAT indicating all price elements and disbursements associated with the service to be rendered.

Note: Prices must be quoted in South African currency and must be inclusive of value added tax (VAT).

Other Important Information

  • At this stage, the requirement is a proposal only. 
  • While preference will be given to inclusive proposals, complying proposals limited to one of the two components of the deliverable i.e.: communication OR fundraising will be given due consideration
  • The successful service provider will enter into a detailed Service Level agreement with Rhodes which will be communicated to a successful service provider upon completion of the adjudication process.
  • Rhodes reserves the right not to award the service.
  • Service providers are prohibited from using the Rhodes brand identity on their proposal.
  • Rhodes University may request bidders to provide additional pricing information to be utilised for comparative purposes during evaluations.

Submission Of Proposals

Formal proposals, clearly marked Comprehensive Communication, Marketing and Fundraising Strategy Development Proposal, Communication Strategy, Marketing Proposal or Fundraising Strategy Development Proposal, as may be applicable must be submitted by Friday, 24 February 2017 (close of business) at:
The Director: Communications and Advancement
Rhodes University
Alumni House
Lucas Avenue
For further enquiries, please contact:
Thami Yawa at (046) 603 8570, fax: (046) 603 8744 or email:

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