RFP: Strategy Review 108 views

RFP: Strategy Review

Mercy Corps is seeking a consultant(s) firm to review our existing strategy process and products with a fresh perspective, bring organizational strategy expertise and serve as a provocative partner to lead us towards an evolved iteration of our organization that can positively impact the lives of as many people as possible. We are looking for consultants who are ready to roll up their sleeves, engage in the messy work, and push us to think differently, while retaining the parts that make us the unique and passionate organization we are. We are ready for new insights and thought-provoking analysis, creative processes and robust dialogue to bring us to the next iteration of Mercy Corps for 2021 and beyond.

By the end of this process we envision a new strategy with a ten-year vision and medium-term recommendations that the Mercy Corps team can align behind to drive us to even greater impact.



We are seeking a process that encourages radical thinking, challenges the common narrative, and asks uncomfortable questions. This review will lead to challenging conversations about the future direction for Mercy Corps, and result in a framework for decisions and action. We are looking for a firm to partner with us to determine appropriate methods for internal and external outreach and participation, encourage candid review of our current status, gather and analyze external data, make recommendations for potential changes to strategic direction, understand the financial implications of these potential changes, and share insights into future actions.

We envision two phases for this work: 1) situational analysis followed by 2) strategy development. The situational analysis will be participatory, gathering the wisdom of Mercy Corps’ dispersed leadership as well as looking externally. The strategy development will be conducted within a smaller circle, and will be informed by shared facts and understanding that emerge from the situational analysis. Along the way, we need clear points for communication and transparency to the global agency.


Situational Analysis

  • Top line review: industry trends, shifts in the external environment, and creative disruptors that will impact and enhance our mission. This will include a literature review of key internal material including budgets and financial forecasts, strategies and assessments from the last five years and will leverage the expertise and networks of the consultants. It will include a review of peer organizations, as well as innovative newcomers, to identify successful and unsuccessful initiatives and strategies that may inform our review. And it will include interviews with key funders to identify trends and goals among our funding sources and potential funding sources. What do these funders like about Mercy Corps programs? What do they wish we could do better?
  • Lead thought-provoking focus group discussions and interviews with a mix of internal stakeholders, board members, and existing and potential external stakeholders (donors, partners, those in and outside of the industry).
  • Organize and support internal working groups to develop a clear and concise process to engage and inform new conversations, when and if deeper exploration is helpful.
  • Partner with the internal strategy team (the internal client team) to ensure engagement of a cross section of team members across the organization to engage a variety of opinions and perspectives. We will be looking for guidance on the best approach to engage diverse audiences in a way that is practical and the best use of time and resources.
  • Actively engage key leaders (steering committee, executive team and board) throughout the process to ensure buy-in and that the project is on track.
  • Lead on internal communications – ensuring transparent and inclusive communications and identification of proper channels. We will need your help keeping the global team updated and building ownership of the final strategy outcome.

Strategy Development

  • Identify and lead key interviews, conversations and workshops needed to pinpoint focus and clarify key strategic decisions that must be made.
  • Bring in examples of other leaders, organizations and private companies that will spark creativity, new thinking and new approaches that lead to impactful results.
  • Through a process of listening, learning, provoking and teaching – lead us in the exploration of decision points and frameworks that will evolve Mercy Corps into an even stronger organization.
  • Partner with the Executive Team and the CEO to develop a new, bold and creative strategy that includes operational and financial considerations to be shared with the board.
  • Present critical updates and direction to the CEO, the Executive Team, Regional Directors, and the Board along the way to ensure the project is on track.


Situational Analysis

  • Analysis of the Evolving Global Landscape and our Industry – Incorporating input from our internal analysis, what global trends may disrupt, threaten, or provide opportunities for our work? Where are top institutional and private donors (both current and potential) headed strategically? How is the balance between development and philanthropic funding shifting? What major trends are others (both within and outside of our sector) preparing for? How should our sector be changing? What is the future role of INGOs in working in fragile contexts? How do we challenge and pivot away from the colonialist model that our sector has been built on for decades? What are the financial implications of these trends?
  • Reflection on Mercy Corps’ Strengths and Weaknesses: This analysis should consider Mercy Corps’ perspective of ourselves as well as external perceptions of Mercy Corps, and where the gaps between the two may be. Internally, this process should elicit examples of our greatest ‘pride’ and ‘disappointments.’ What do we regard as our ‘signature programs? What do informed outsiders think? This internal analysis should take into consideration our business model (organizational architecture, where teams sit and their functions, fundraising, the allocation of resources, etc.) External viewpoints of funders, partners, and competitors should be considered and compared with the perceptions we have of ourselves.
  • Competitive Analysis: Building off an internal analysis of our strengths and weaknesses, look within our sector and beyond. In addition to traditional INGO’s, who are our current and future competitors? What are their business models? How have they changed over time? How will they look five years from now? What are our competitive advantages and where are we most threatened?
  • Financial Analysis: How are we financially positioned to support the organization in this evolving landscape? Where are we vulnerable?
  • Analysis of our Success Metrics: An assessment of how we currently look at, measure and report on impact. Are our metrics acceptable and clear? What are we doing well? Not doing well? Where do we have the most impact? Where do we have the strongest reputation?

Strategy Development

  • New, Bold, and Creative Strategy: Through close collaboration with the Executive Team and Regional Directors, the consultants will take the findings from the Situational Analysis and explore strategic implications and potential directions. This conversation will capture where Mercy Corps is now and how we must adapt/change in order to achieve the vision we establish through this process. What opportunities exist to either expand or refine focus? By the end of this process we envision a new strategy with a ten-year vision and medium-term recommendations that the Mercy Corps team can align behind to drive us to even greater impact.
  • Financial Resources: In collaboration with the Finance team, determine and describe the potential financial considerations and changes needed to support this new strategy. How does this intersect with analysis of the global and industry landscape? What are the implications on our business model and priority funders?
  • Metrics: Together with the Executive Team and Regional Directors, set big and audacious goals and develop the metrics, or a framework, that will guide us and allow us to track our progress towards those goals.

Global Team Engagement

  • Internal Communications: Lead the development of communications to various audiences throughout the Mercy Corps community to ensure transparent communications and, where appropriate, opportunities for input. This will require a multi-channel approach.
  • Change Management: Advise the Mercy Corps team and support our efforts to manage expectations and lay the groundwork for the new strategy and organizational implications of decisions resulting from our strategic reflections.

Downloadable File of Project Inputs

  • Information from interviews (with names removed where necessary) and findings from research are the intellectual property of Mercy Corps.

(Note: Applicants are encouraged to suggest additional / different deliverables based on their technical approach.)

Characteristics of the Consulting Firm:

  • Strategy experts with thought-provoking analysis capabilities, international expertise, an understanding of the international aid funding model but also expertise with adjacent sectors, and strong external connections/networks.
  • Deep facilitation experience and creative processes that allow for robust dialogue, conversations that delve deeper than surface level, allowing for uncomfortable conversations, and driving towards clear decisions.
  • Bold thinkers comfortable challenging the status quo and the received wisdom, willing to go out on a limb and provide us with recommendations on how we might adapt.
  • Experience in partnership, not just the outside ‘expert’, working to build ownership with internal stakeholders and leadership.
  • Available across multiple time zones, eager to work with a diverse and global group of stakeholders, and able to contribute equally diverse talent and perspective.
  • A strong point of view and internal practice towards furthering your own and your clients’ commitments towards Diversity, Equity and Inclusion.


In order to secure information in a form, which will ensure that your proposal will be properly evaluated, you are asked to submit your proposal in the format listed below. Standard proposal formats are acceptable provided the following information is included:

1. Name, address, telephone number and email address for principal contact.

2. A brief outline of your organization and services offered, including:

  • Full legal name, jurisdiction of organization or incorporation and address of the company
  • Full legal name and country of citizenry of company’s President and/or Chief Executive Officer, and all other officers and senior managers of the company
  • Year business was established

3. Name and professional qualifications of personnel who would provide the services.

4. Names, addresses, phone numbers and email addresses of at least two clients of similar industry and scope of operations as Mercy Corps that can be contacted as references.


All inquiries concerning this solicitation shall be addressed to the following Designated Contacts:

Please email an electronic version of your response (via e-mail), including all supporting documentation, and direct questions about the RFP to each of the designated contacts.

All questions should be submitted in writing (via email) citing the particular bid section and paragraph number. Bidders should note that all clarifications and exceptions are to be resolved prior to the submission of a bid.

Only questions received during the Question and Answer period (as outlined in the RFP Calendar) will be addressed. No telephone questions will be answered. Official answers to the questions will be posted on Mercy Corps website.

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Mercy Corps is a leading global organization powered by the belief that a better world is possible. In disaster, in hardship, in more than 40 countries around the world, we partner to put bold solutions into action — helping people triumph over adversity and build stronger communities from within. Now, and for the future.

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