September 21, 2021

Introduction & Background

The ACLU of Texas will launch a comprehensive strategic planning process in fall 2021. The purpose of this RFP is to solicit a contract facilitator who will help steer and guide the discussions, meetings, brainstorming, and deep conversations surrounding that process—working closely with the executive team, staff, and board of directors to create an equitable and inclusive process.

Organizational Overview

The ACLU of Texas is the state’s leading civil rights and civil liberties champion. With more than a century of experience, no other organization takes a more comprehensive approach than the ACLU—working across multiple issues in the courts, in the State Capitol, and in communities—to defend and advance the constitutional rights guaranteed to all of us. 

The ACLU of Texas is committed to being the unyielding guardian and promoter of freedom, justice, equality, and dignity of all people, particularly for those who are still fighting to secure the full exercise of their civil rights and liberties in Texas. Our commitment to diversity, equity, inclusion, and belonging (DEIB) reflects our values and informs our work. A strong foundation in these principles and practices is critical to our effectiveness and sustainability.

In June 2021, the ACLU of Texas welcomed a new executive director, Oni K. Blair, chosen to lead the organization forward through one of the most challenging environments ever in Texas, following sharpened legislative attacks on voting rights, abortion access, trans kids, border communities, smart justice reforms, and the ability of educators to discuss race and teach history, among other issues.

The ACLU of Texas proudly represents and reflects the people of the state. Led by a Black woman, the staff consists of a majority of people of color, and represents diversity in gender identity, disability, religion, and language. With staff in Dallas, Houston, Austin, El Paso, the Rio Grande Valley, and the Permian Basin—and with Board members in these regions as well as cities like San Antonio, Beaumont, Lubbock, Laredo, and others—we also represent communities all across Texas.

Our current programmatic priorities include: reversing the assault on immigrants and border communities; protecting gains in LGBTQ+ equality from new attacks; defending access to abortion; seizing momentum to drive reform of the criminal justice system; and fighting voter suppression and disenfranchisement of communities of color. Through all aspects of our work, we strive for an intentional approach to racial justice, while likewise seeking to create an internal culture that aligns with our external values. We recognize the need to build an infrastructure that allows the organization to flourish on all fronts, which, among other things, includes growing a culture of philanthropy across all departments and diversifying our revenue portfolio. 

Project Goals & Scope

The goal is to complete a living strategic plan for the entire organization to inform the budgeting process for the organization’s upcoming fiscal year, which starts April 1, 2022, while looking ahead 3+ years. We seek a facilitator to lead internal discussions across teams and departments to help complete a new comprehensive strategic plan—one that creates a shared understanding of priorities and clarity about the responsibility of each department in achieving organizational goals, taking into account the flexibility needed to respond to a constantly changing political landscape. The purpose of hiring an outside facilitator is to ensure that these strategic planning discussions are as inclusive and equitable as possible.

The strategic plan itself will focus on the programmatic priorities central to the organization’s mission to protect, defend, and advance civil rights and civil liberties, while also paying equal attention to priorities around improving internal culture, building a right-sized organizational infrastructure, and creating a culture of philanthropy. The facilitator will not write the strategic plan; that task will be assigned to selected staff at the ACLU of Texas. 

Anticipated Selection Schedule 

We intend to secure a contract facilitator no later than Oct. 10, 2021, in order to commence designing the facilitation structure and process to fit the needs of ACLU of Texas in advance of the formal planning process, which will commence on or around Oct. 23. The RFP timeline is:

  • Request for Proposals: Sept. 15, 2021
  • Selection of Top Bidders / Notification to Unsuccessful Bidders: Oct. 19, 2021
  • Start of Negotiation: Oct. 20, 2021
  • Contract Award / Notification to Unsuccessful Bidders: Oct. 22, 2021

Timeline for Strategic Planning

The formal, internal strategic planning facilitation with staff and board will commence on or around Saturday, Oct. 23, the date of the quarterly meeting of the Board of Directors. The facilitator will lead weekly discussions then and in the ensuing months, as defined between the ACLU of Texas and the chosen facilitator. 

In advance of those facilitated discussions, information-gathering for the strategic planning process will commence among staff and board in September, according to the following anticipated schedule, with the process continuing through Spring 2022.

Sept. 15 - Oct. 23: Listening and Learning

  • Noon, Wednesdays and Fridays: Lunch & Learns with external experts/partners/voices (for staff and board)
  • Fri. Oct. 22: Secure facilitator for strategic plan discussions, begin discussions with senior management and select board committees
  • Fri. Oct. 22: Membership Meeting w/guest panel on big picture political landscape
  • Sat., Oct. 23: Board Meeting

Oct. 25 - Dec. 31: Strategic Planning and Goal-Setting

  • Rolling: Facilitator-led discussions with staff and board committees
  • Dec. 24: First draft of strat plan completed

Jan. 1 - April 30

  • Jan. 1 - Jan. 28: Continue facilitator-led discussions, refine draft strategic plan
  • Jan. 29: Board Meeting—draft strategic plan presented to full board
  • Feb. 26: Staff finalize strategic plan and FY23 budget
  • March 19 (TBD): Board Budget Meeting
  • April 30: Board Meeting to revisit strategic plan and next steps for real-time planning/adjustments moving forward

Elements of Proposal

A submission must, at minimum, include the following elements:

  • Description of the firm and/or facilitator that includes a general overview, credentials, and examples of past work with similar organizations..
  • A one-page description outlining the firm’s/facilitator’s strengths and distinguishing skills or capabilities as they relate to this project.
  • Approach and/or methodology for strategic planning
  • Client references

Evaluation Criteria

  • Commitment to diversity, equity, inclusion, and belonging (DEIB) and demonstrated ability to incorporate those principles into facilitation and work of this nature. 
  • Knowledge of the social justice space and challenges in Texas.
  • Expertise of the firm/facilitator in working with similar clients.
  • Competitive fees that honor non-profit budgetary restrictions.
  • Understanding of group process theory


The budget for the contract facilitation portion of the strategic planning project is $16,000.

Submission of Proposals

Please submit responses online via the Paycom system. Upload the required proposal documentation, as outlined below in the Elements of Proposal section, in the “resume” and “cover letter” options of the online system; no other sections of the online application system are required for completion of a proposal’s submission. Please submit responses no later than Oct. 15, 2021, and direct any questions to Tonya Bradley.