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Development Professional
Category: Manager

The Botanic Garden at Historic Barns Park
Traverse City, Michigan

Posted: Friday, March 14, 2014

The Botanic Garden at Historic Barns Park

Development Professional (RFP)

The Botanic Garden at Historic Barns Park (BGHBP) seeks the assistance of a fundraising professional with a proven track record in the ability to assess and execute a development plan with a diverse array of funding sources.



The Botanic Garden at Historic Barns Park is managed by the Botanical Garden Society of Northwest Michigan board.  Established in 2000, the mission of BGSNM is to design, build and maintain a year-round botanic garden in Northwest Michigan for the purposes of botanical and environmental preservation, education and research, and the enjoyment and renewal of citizens and visitors.

Over the past 13 years the Botanic Garden has successfully secured a 25-acre site on the grounds of the Historic Barns Park, funded a Master Site Plan for the Garden, collaborated with the Traverse City/Garfield Township Recreational Authority on a successful $1.5 million capital campaign, 50% of which is dedicated to the garden, completed a renovation of the Historic Barns Park Granary as a Visitor Center, and begun work on the first garden.  The Botanic Garden at Historic Barns Park has 700 donors and over 200 volunteers.  Donors look forward to the day when all of the gardens within the Master Site Plan are completed and a large menu of classes, workshops and activities are available.

To meet this goal, a dynamic Development Plan must be in place and operational.  That plan would include Annual Giving, Planned Giving, Endowments, Grants and Capital Campaigns.



The purpose of this RFP is to retain a fundraising consultant, working off-site, for a minimum of one year, with additional years to be determined by performance, who will:

  • Evaluate and execute a Comprehensive Fundraising Plan
  • Identify & evaluate prospects
  • Make prospect calls & assist/coach the board and volunteers with follow-up
  • Assist in developing donor recognition and stewardship plan
  • Any individual or organization replying to this Request for Proposal must be licensed and bonded.



Respondents must furnish one original and one electronic (flash drive) copy of their proposals in a sealed envelope.  Estimated price and terms for services should be provided listing a breakdown in the scope of services .  Please address the following areas in your proposal:

  • If the respondent is a member of a professional fundraising firm, give a description of the firm:  structure, areas of expertise, time in business, number of employees and other data that helps to characterize the firm, addresses of the main office and the office that will manage the project.
  • Experience: Briefly describe five recent projects executed by the individual or firm to demonstrate experience relevant to the proposal.  List relevant public sector clients for whom you have performed similar work in the past five years.  For each project listed provide the name, address, and a contact name of the client’s representative who can be contacted regarding your performance and work product.  Include the name of the lead firm in cases where you worked in partnership or in an auxiliary capacity.
  • List the top major donor amounts the individual or firm has successfully procured for previous clients.
  • Personnel:  Provide professional resumes for the key people to be assigned.  Include those of consultants and describe their relevant experience.  Describe  proposed responsibilities of key people.  Identify who will be the primary interface to the client.
  • Provide a narrative description of how the firm or individual proposes to execute the project.  Descriptions of experience with similar projects that demonstrate effective work are welcome, as are brochures that would help introduce or define you or the firm.  Submit a statement as to why you believe you or your firm are best qualified to carry out the project.
  • Describe the individual’s or firm’s experience and knowledge of specific donor software and record keeping.
  • An itemized cost of services by Phase, if applicable, not to exceed $40,000 a year, including travel and other expenses.

The content of all proposals must conform to the following:

Proposers must respond to the questions in the order presented and may provide supporting documentation pertinent to clarification of your proposal response.

All responses to this Request for Proposal should address the following issues;

1. How long have you been in business and how many non-profit organizations have you assisted?
2. Have you served as a Development consultant for a public garden?
3. How familiar are you with The Botanic Garden’s demographics?  Describe any work you have done with an organization with a similar demographic.
4. What is the success rate of projects/organizations for which you have provided Development assistance?
5. Please provide at least three references from non-profit or municipal clients.
6. Please provide any vendor relationships you are providing as part of this proposal.


Proposals will be evaluated and scored by the Botanic Garden Development Committee based on the following criteria:

  • Demonstrated experience of individual or firm to be assigned to Development
  • Individual’s or firm’s understanding of similar organizations and socio-economic communities
  • Development strategy’s fit with the Botanic Garden’s values and operations.



Members of the BGHBP Development Committee may choose to conduct interviews via telephone or in person at the fundraising consultant firm’s expense.  The Development Committee will take its recommendations to the BGHBP Board for approval.   Upon selection of a finalist, the Botanic Garden will enter into contract negotiations.  If these contract negotiations fail, BGHBP will proceed to contract negotiations with the individual or firm scoring second, and so on.  Unsuccessful respondents will be notified.  It is anticipated that the contract and commencement with the fundraising consulting firm that is selected will begin by spring of 2014.


By responding to this RFP, the fundraising consultant firm agrees to be responsible for fully understanding the requirements or other details of the RFP, and will ask any questions necessary until understanding is gained.  BGHBP retains the right to disqualify fundraising consulting firms who do not demonstrate a clear understanding of our needs.

Responses to the RFP must be received by noon on April 14, 2014, and should be directed to The Botanic Garden at Historic Barns Park, attn.: William Wright, BGHBP treasurer, P.O. Box 1247, Traverse City, MI 49685.  Please state “Proposal for Development Consultant” on the outside package and provide one original and one electronic (flash drive) copy of the proposal.  Questions can be addressed to Karen Schmidt, board chair (231-223-7856) or


Statement of Non-Commitment:  Issuance of this RFP does not commit the Botanic Garden at Historic Barns Park to award a contract or to pay any costs incurred in preparation of proposals responding to the RFP.  BGHBP reserves the right to reject any or all proposals and re-advertise.  All proposals become the property of The Botanic Garden at Historic Barns Park.



Successful contract bidders must comply with provisions of all applicable federal law, Title VI, and Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964.  Any subcontracting by the successful bidder subjects the subcontracting firm(s) to the same provisions of the federal law.

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