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RFP - Guidebook to Starting and Sustaining a Battlefield Friends Group
Historic Preservation Blog from PreservationDirectory.com - battlefields, parks, battlefield parks, battlefield preservation, friends group, friends groups, stewardship, advocacy, RFP
Contributed By: Mark Coombs
Website: https://www.battlefields.org/

The American Battlefield Trust requests proposals from qualified consultants for the development of a comprehensive and authoritative guidebook intended for use by individuals seeking to start a new battlefield friends group — that is, a nonprofit organization dedicated to stewarding and advocating on behalf of a particular battlefield or battlefield park — together with those seeking to sustain an existing battlefield friends group. Two copies of each proposal should be sent, and arrive no later than Wednesday, March 18, 2020, to:

American Battlefield Trust
ATTN: Mark Coombs
1156 15th Street, NW
Suite 900
Washington, D.C. 20005

Questions concerning this Request for Proposals (RFP) should be directed via email to Mark Coombs of the Trust at mcoombs@battlefields.org. Funding for the project comes from a $55,000 grant provided by the National Park Service’s American Battlefield Protection Program.

Project Description, Scope of Work and Deliverables

Project Description

Battlefields nationwide are confronting a variety of challenges — ranging from indifference and neglect to misuse and outright destruction — which collectively underscore the need for a thorough, user-friendly resource to educate and empower citizens who care deeply about these storied sites to take a more active role in saving and stewarding them.

As established at the outset of this RFP, the Trust aims to identify and contract with a qualified consultant capable of crafting such a resource for individuals who desire to start a new battlefield friends group as well as those actively working to sustain an existing battlefield friends group. This guidebook would be universally applicable across the full spectrum of battlefields identified in both the 1993 Report on the Nation’s Civil War Battlefields prepared by the Civil War Sites Advisory Commission as well as the 2007 Report to Congress on the Historic Preservation of Revolutionary War and War of 1812 Sites in the United States prepared by the National Park Service.

More so than ever before, it is imperative for Americans to take meaningful action to safeguard the battlefields in their own backyards. Besides serving as invaluable connections to community decision-makers, battlefield friends groups and similar local and regional battlefield preservation organizations represent a battlefield’s first line of defense. Indeed, these essential, volunteer-based entities are typically among the first to know of potential threats to increasingly endangered battlefield acreage — as well as potential opportunities for preservation.

The Trust believes that the continued progress of the cause of battlefield preservation depends on the continued presence and strength of battlefield friends groups in battlefield communities throughout the United States. Yet, in too many cases, battlefields either remain without a friends group entirely or are served by a friends group which lacks the expertise to be as effective a champion as it could and should be. Battlefields — and countless irreplaceable battlefield resources — continue to be at risk as a result. 

The resource stemming from this project will provide an invaluable tool for preservationists and citizen activists both in the present and far into the future.

Scope of Work


1. Research. The selected consultant will:

  • Conduct research and draw upon relevant expertise in determining best practices for starting and sustaining battlefield friends groups;
  • Gather information and solicit perspectives from a diversity of existing battlefield friends groups, park professionals and other stakeholders to guarantee that a corresponding diversity of opinions and points of view informs the project deliverables;
  • Engage and encourage feedback from pertinent state and local government officials — including the State Historic Preservation Officers within all states contacted — to gain a clear understanding of their experiences and relationships with battlefield friends groups and other battlefield advocates in their respective constituencies and jurisdictions.

2. Findings. Rooted in the research described above, the selected consultant will:

  • Compile the findings in a well-organized, professionally designed guidebook, appropriate for both digital and physical distribution — and inclusive of instruction both in the following areas as well as on any other applicable topics determined in conjunction with the Trust prior to project completion:

  1. Forming a Non-Profit Organization
  2. Approaches to Administration and Organizational Structure
  3. Boards and Bylaws
  4. Membership Recruitment and Retention
  5. Volunteer Management and Mobilization
  6. National Park Service Philanthropic Partnership Agreements
  7. Other Partnership Opportunities
  8. Fundraising
  9. Battlefield Interpretation, Preservation and Stewardship
  10. Community Outreach and Coalition Building
  11. Activities and Events

  • Feature engaging and enlightening anecdotes gleaned from connecting with high-performing battlefield friends groups and other stakeholders over the course of the project, enhancing the guidebook’s accessibility and readability;
  • Provide information regarding recommended public and private entities where those interested can secure additional help and resources in starting and sustaining battlefield friends groups.

3. Stakeholder Outreach. The selected consultant will maintain a database documenting outreach to, and the contact information for, all battlefield friends groups, government officials and other stakeholders consulted during the project. The selected consultant will also collaborate closely with the Trust in publicizing the project guidebook, including via a limited number of presentations to interested parties; accordingly, the selected consultant will prepare and submit a 30-minute PowerPoint presentation to employ in providing these parties and the public an overview of the guidebook and detailing the key findings of the project.

Deliverables

Project deliverables include the guidebook, outreach database and PowerPoint presentation detailed in the Scope of Work section of this RFP.

All deliverables must be finalized and submitted to the Trust by no later than May 2021. The selected consultant will also be expected to provide a written interim progress report to the Trust in October 2020.

Project deliverables, and any other public releases of information regarding this project, shall carry the following disclaimer: “The views and conclusions contained in this document are those of the authors and should not be interpreted as representing the opinions or policies of the U.S. Government. Mention of trade names or commercial products does not constitute their endorsement by the U.S. Government.”

Finally, all deliverables — as well as the work involved in carrying out this project in its entirety — must conform, as applicable, with the Secretary of the Interior’s Standards for Archeology and Historic Preservation.

Responding to the RFP

Submissions should not be overly complex or longer than ten pages in length. Elaborate artwork, expensive paper or bindings and costly visual and other presentation aids are not necessary. Competitive proposals must include but are not limited to: 

  • A statement of qualifications and experience for the firm and the lead team members. Consultants should have strong professional qualifications relevant to this project;
  • A discussion of related project experience by the proposed firm, including information regarding individual team members, and a description and examples of comparable projects; 
  • A list of references for such projects, including current contact information;
  • A detailed description of the consultant’s proposed approach for undertaking the project as presented in this RFP, including:
  • A statement of purpose;
  • A proposed project timeline, broken down by tasks; and
  • A proposed project budget, also broken down by tasks.
  • Any additional information that a potential consultant deems pertinent to the proposal that might prove useful during the review process, including the location of the consultant’s primary office and any satellite offices. 

Selection Criteria

The following factors shall be considered in selecting the consultant:

  • General qualifications of the firms and/or individuals assigned to the project, relative to the skills and disciplines needed for the project tasks;
  • Experience with similar projects in light of the subject matter, scale and context;
  • Proposed approach of the consultant relative to the circumstances and the Trust’s needs, including the consultant’s ability to provide the required services within the available budget; and
  • References from past clients on similar projects.


Keywords: battlefields, parks, battlefield parks, battlefield preservation, friends group, friends groups, stewardship, advocacy, RFP

Posted: February 11, 2020
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Unless noted, the thoughts and opinions expressed in the article are solely that of the
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