Request for Proposal: April 2024


Request for quotation for consulting services for the design of a new communications strategy and launching a digital acquisition campaign.



Project Overview 

Request for consulting services for the development of a new communications strategy and digital acquisition campaign.

Cycle Toronto wishes to develop a new communications strategy to help to reach audiences outside of our traditional supporter base. We are seeking an experienced consultant to design and implement a plan that will refine our current communications framework to expand our list of supporters and the reach of our messaging. One outcome of this work would be launching a digital acquisition campaign. The successful candidate would also work to respond to a changing context for our organization - as the city’s cycling network begins to expand into the “inner suburbs”, our organization recognizes the need to reach audiences that are new to cycling and become engaged in the local changes in their communities.

The work of the consultant will be supported and guided by Cycle Toronto staff and board members.

Budget: $15,000

Project timeline: April 2024 - June 30th, 2024



About Cycle Toronto

Cycle Toronto is a member-supported charity that works to make Toronto a healthy, safe and vibrant cycling city for all. We are currently a team of 5 full-time staff, and our work is focused on advocacy, education and encouragement to shape policy and build community to transform the city’s cycling culture. Founded in 2008 as the Toronto Cyclists Union and rebranded in 2012, Cycle Toronto has been leading the change and helping shift the discourse at City Hall and within the public at large about cycling in Toronto. Since becoming a charity in 2021, we continue to seek new opportunities to leverage our status and engage new and existing donors.

Currently, to reach our supporters, we rely on a mix of targeted emails focused on advocacy or upcoming events, a monthly email-based newsletter, a regularly updated website, and social media channels (Twitter 25k followers; Instagram: 9.5k followers).

Our Supporters

Cycle Toronto’s core focus during the 2010s was advocating for cycling and cycling infrastructure in downtown Toronto. Campaigns like Bloor Loves Bikes, Danforth Loves Bikes, Yonge Loves Bikes, and Build the Grid grew our profile and have paved the way for bike lanes and people riding bikes beginning to be accepted on major roads in Toronto.

During the aforementioned campaigns we have built a sturdy base of supporters with an interest in infrastructure and civic politics relying on petitions, newsletter signups, and appeals for membership within those geographic areas.

A major challenge we face as an organization is the lack of diversity in our supporter base. Cycling (and cycling advocacy) has traditionally been more popular in the denser neighbourhoods of the old City of Toronto relative to its counterparts of Etobicoke, North York, and Scarborough. As the city’s cycling network begins to expand into these so-called “inner suburbs”, our organization recognizes the need to reach audiences that are new to cycling and become engaged in the local changes in their communities.

Refining our communications strategies will allow us to reach these residents of the city to refine and adapt our messaging to capture the urgency of our cause. Launching a digital acquisition campaign would help leverage those learnings to help further build capacity.


(We wish to reach folks outside the downtown core in the Transportation Equity Opportunity Zones that are in most need of safe cycling infrastructure. Image: City of Toronto)

Challenges and Opportunities

Without minimizing the human toll and economic impact of the COVID-19 pandemic, changes in transportation habits and loss in recreational opportunities together created a “bike boom” with an increase in the number of folks riding bikes. Many jurisdictions, including Toronto, responded with an expansion of temporary bikeways.

For Cycle Toronto, it was a historic success on many of our historic advocacy campaigns with almost more bikeways built in 6 months than previous 6 years. But this success did not translate into a similar growth in supporters or donors.

Since then, Cycle Toronto has struggled to find messaging that resonates with folks to expand our supporters, and leveraging our broader charitable mission beyond advocacy. Exploring new ways to talk about our cause and issues that could resonate with new supporters including climate change and the environment, road safety, congestion management, mobility and convenience, physical health, mental health, public health, equity, and personal finances.


Project Scope

The successful consultant will develop a new strategic plan for Cycle Toronto to grow our supporter base in the inner suburbs. Potential activities include:

  • Review of our current communications strategy
  • Design of a participatory process that engages staff, our board, and external stakeholders to develop a new Cycle Toronto communications plan
  • Participatory engagement process which could include:
    • Focus groups
    • Strategic meetings with staff and board
    • Interviews
  • Developing and launching a digital acquisition campaign
  • Establishing metrics and KPIs for project success and measuring future growth
  • Potential brand kit and brand identity review
  • Building an engagement ladder for new Cycle Toronto supporters

Project Specifications

The ultimate goal of this project is to develop a new communications strategy for Cycle Toronto to grow our supporter base and awareness of our organization in the inner suburbs.

The consultant will develop a program of activities to review the current plan, to assess the landscape in which Cycle Toronto is working, to engage key stakeholders, and to ultimately develop a final plan to improve Cycle Toronto’s ability to reach new supporters in the inner suburbs. 

Work will begin in March 2024 after the selection of a consultant. Meetings can take place remotely, or at our office in downtown Toronto.


  • Demonstrated experience developing strategic communications plans with charities and non-profit organizations
  • Consultants must be based in Toronto or highly familiar with the Toronto context
  • Proven experience leading fundraising campaigns

Additional Assets

  • Knowledge of or experience with Toronto municipal politics, grassroots advocacy, or 
  • An interest in cycling and active transportation

To Apply

Please submit a proposal of a maximum of three pages (not including CV), that includes:

  • A description of how you would undertake the above-mentioned activities, as well as any additional activities, within the timeline and budget
  • A description of previous contracts and experience that have prepared you for this project
  • A Proposed budget for the project (within the proscribed range)
  • A sample strategic plan as an exemplar of the types of plans you have created
  • Contact information for at least one previous client for whom you have undertaken similar work

Please submit your proposal by email to Taylor Berce, Communications Manager, at [email protected], by 11:59 pm ET on Sunday, March 24th, 2024.

Questions about the RFP can be sent to Taylor at the email above.

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