Request for Proposals for Strategic Communications, Media & Public Relations (9/8/23)

 RFP for PR logos

Request For Proposals

Strategic Communications, Media Relations, & Public Relations

Due: October 6, 2023, 5 PM 



The purpose of this RFP is to identify the appropriate agency to support Samaritan Daytop Village (SDV), Samaritan Daytop Foundation (SDF), and Samaritan Daytop Health (SDH), collectively referred to as “SD” in this RFP, with strategic communications, media relations, and public relations priorities. Our desired partner will have the capacity to provide strategic counsel and direction, actively share and promote our message, amplify our successes, and position SD as a premier holistic provider in providing behavioral health care, shelter and supportive housing, and other health and wellness services that address social determinants of health for thousands of individuals each year.

The selected firm will be responsible for assisting in the development and support of SD’s public relations and media efforts to maximize communications aimed at key local, regional and national reporters and media outlets, as well as directly to clients and key stakeholders. The agency must be able to provide strong media and PR strategic insight and message development to assist SD with proactive media pitches and reactive approaches related to topics, including but not limited to: homelessness, migrants and asylum-seekers, veterans, seniors, supportive housing, harm reduction, overdose prevention, substance use, mental health, and other health and wellness related issues and human needs throughout New York City, the surrounding areas, across other parts of New York State, as well as nationally and internationally.


For over 60 years, Samaritan Daytop Village (SDV) has been improving the quality of life for New Yorkers. The nonprofit is nationally recognized for the treatment of substance use disorder, as well as for the veteran-specific approach it pioneered. Our continuum of services also includes health and mental health care, transitional and supportive housing, educational and vocational assistance, peerassisted recovery, and specialized programs for adolescents, families, and seniors. Annually, Samaritan Daytop Village serves over 33,000 people at more than 60 facilities throughout New York City, Long Island, and the lower Hudson Valley.

For more information about SDV, visit


Samaritan Daytop Foundation (SDF) was created in 1979 to oversee fundraising efforts for Samaritan Daytop Village. Donations fund a growing wish list of enhanced programs and services benefiting the clients of Samaritan Daytop Village. SDF champions Samaritan Daytop Village’s mission to improve the quality of life for thousands of New Yorkers. Through a rich array of specialized health and human services, Samaritan Daytop Village brings lifesaving and life-changing services to men and women, adolescents, veterans, mothers and babies, the homeless, families, and the elderly. With the help of financial and in-kind donations from individual, business, and community supporters, SDF Foundation invests in the agency's people and programs doing more good than ever imagined.

For more information about SDF, visit 


Samaritan Daytop Health (SDH) is a new NYS Department of Health (DOH) Article 28 licensed primary care health clinic located on the 6th floor of the Richard Pruss Wellness Center in the Bronx, NY. The mission of SDH is to increase the community’s access to high-quality, affordable health care that is colocated in a wellness center that offers fully integrated substance use, mental health, peer-led recovery services, and primary health care for all clients and families in need.

To see the SDH website currently in development, visit


This RFP provides an opportunity for SD to develop an effective strategic communications, media, and public relations program from the ground up. We are seeking an agency to partner with SD to develop and execute a robust public relations strategy.

The selected agency is expected to have regular discussions with the President and CEO, VP of Development and Communications, and the VP of External Affairs, along with other key members of the executive team, when needed, and to provide weekly updates and monthly reports on all activities and have ongoing contact with the key members of the organization.

The selected agency’s responsibilities will include these objectives:

  • Tell the story of SD’s marketing and strategies, programs, successes, and opportunities to media across local, regional, and national media outlets.

  • Ensure awareness, understanding, and support of our work to address the needs of New Yorkers impacted by homelessness, immigration, substance use, mental health, and other health care issues.

  • Generate and secure media stories focused on: SD’s new services, programs, and grand openings; upcoming special events and fundraising events; major donations; new partnerships; key milestones; client success stories; Board and staff profiles, and other news related to our wide range of services.

  • Build engagement, trust, and advocacy through strategic communications.

  • Promote and highlight key public policy issues to advance harm reduction, overdose prevention, substance use and mental health treatment, supportive and transitional housing, and other health and wellness services for low-income communities in need of these services.

  • Elevate SD’s executives and key program staff as thought leaders on key topics.

  • Identify industry trends to help shape our messaging.

  • Enhance the visibility and public image of SD and our reputation for providing effective services to meet the holistic health and wellness needs of New Yorkers.

  • Increase the level of good will for SD and mitigate potential negative issues.

  • Develop new communications strategies to support SD’s programs and initiatives and to attract new potential funders and donors to become interested in supporting SD.

  • Establish strong working relationships with influential reporters and media outlets.

  • Provide guidance and support with the re-design and regular updating of 3 websites:


  • Brand management: Ability to drive brand consistency with appropriate nuances, depending on the topic and specific focus of each media story.
  • Strong local and regional media experience in the New York City metropolitan area, as well as nationally, and execution of media strategies that result in positive media coverage.
  • Strong success with similar clients, especially in securing media stories on industry-related issues and those with fundraising publicity.
  • Extensive knowledge of all available public relations, communications, and publicity techniques.
  • Proven experience working with non-profit organizations that operate in the fields of housing, homelessness, substance use disorder, health care, behavioral health and related human services areas.
  • Strong local perspective on issues relating to homelessness, substance use, mental health, and health care, including messaging/language best practices.
  • Planning and execution: Strong ability to react quickly to tight turnarounds.


Proposer must submit an appropriate and realistic budget, outlining each of the duties.


The following categories represent core responsibilities of the firm in support of SD’s mission:

1.  Media and Public Relations Services

  1. Meet with agency executives and program staff to become familiar with the organization, its people, and wide array of service offerings.
  2. Create and implement a comprehensive media and public relations plan that adheres to SD’s communications strategies and standard operating processes.
  3. Build and maintain relationships with reporters, editors, and bookers at key media publications, outlets, programs, etc.
  4. Proactively pursue positive stories and respond to inquiries – targeting all forms of media, including television and radio broadcast, digital, podcasts, print, etc.
  5. Create ongoing positive media coverage about SD through press releases, story pitches, by-lined articles, op-eds, feature stories, and other established PR channels.
  6. Collectively work with SD’s executive team and key program leaders to generate and pitch ideas for media stories to highlight the importance and impact of SD’s programs and services in the lives of New Yorkers we serve.
  7. Develop and regularly update SD media kits for reporters and media representatives; introduce and pitch our experts to the media. 
  8. Draft press releases, messaging documents, talking points, media Q&As, and FAQs about SD tailored for specific media outlets to reach our target audiences, including media (NY metro, state, national, and industry/trade), community and government leaders, opinion leaders, philanthropists and potential donors, business community, and other relevant targets.
  9. Establish and pitch SD and select members of our executive team as expert resources in the health and human services field, including substance use treatment, mental health, housing, and more.
  10. Create a media database for SD.
  11. Create an agency-wide experts and speakers database.
  12. Update SD entries in relevant print and online directories.

2. Crisis Management and Issues Support

  1. Develop and implement a crisis communication plan to support SD in responding to any crisis situation that may draw media attention.
  2. Monitor news coverage for any issues that may impact SD’s public image and provide advice on a strategy.
  3. Support SD’s executive leadership in drafting responses, when needed, and provide ongoing support on any crisis management issues requiring attention.

3.  Media Training and Ongoing Feedback

  1. Provide media training to executives and key staff who will serve as spokespersons and represent SD to the media.
  2. Provide ongoing feedback to executives and key staff in follow-up to all media coverage, so that the SD spokespersons can continually sharpen and strengthen their skills in communicating about our programs and services to the public.


  • Provide a regular monthly report at the end of each month summarizing all media coverage obtained for SD, follow-up needed on all media stories, plans for how to maximize the reach and impact of each story, media stories planned for the upcoming months, and additional information needed from SD staff for these stories.
  • Provide an annual report highlighting the best media stories of the year, an analysis of the impact of these stories, and a detailed media plan for the following year.

SUBMISSION – Please submit the following electronically only.

Please include a Cover Sheet with the following information:

  • Name of Proposer/Company
  • Contact Person
  • Mailing Address
  • Telephone 
  • Email Address
  • Website
  • Authorized Signature

All proposals should include a clear, concise narrative. Proposal format is open to presentation style, but must include the following:

  1. Project Brief: Provide an issue brief and messaging document with an overview of your firm’s relevant skills, experience, qualifications, and overall project vision. 
  2. Agency Experience: Provide information about your agency’s experience working within New York and the NY metro region, non-profit sector, and the health and human services field, with specific experiences, if any, with issues pertaining to substance use, mental health, and homelessness. Experience should include work to promote and publicize fundraisers and generate interest from philanthropy and major donors. 
  3. Organizational Capability: Provide information demonstrating your agency’s capability to successfully perform the scope of work and experience working with media outlets, along with your ability to coordinate and work with multiple stakeholders.
  4. Media and Public Relations Plan: Describe in detail how your agency will launch SD’s media and public relations plan, including:
    1. Strategy, objective, and goals
    2. Targeted media list
    3. Proposed media pitches
    4. Key messages and media outlets
    5. Ideas for media sequencing and calendaring, including a strategy for sharing media stories via email blasts, social media, etc.
    6. Draft sample news release
    7. Media database development
    8. Media training
  5. Consultant Bios: Provide short bios of the media consulting team members who will be working with the SD team, including their experience with NY metro area and nationally, as well as with the non-profit sector, preferably with substance use treatment, mental health, housing, and health-related human services issues.
  6. Fundraising Publicity Plan: Provide a plan for generating PR for fundraising events and other opportunities to feature major donors and to attract new donors to invest in SD.
  7. Case Study/Work Samples: Provide relevant work example(s) of media stories secured by your agency in similar issue areas for other non-profit organizations. 
  8. Current Non-profit Client List: Provide a list of other non-profit organizations that your agency has served in providing media and public relations services, and provide sample media stories secured for these agencies.
  9. References: Provide at least 3 references from among current clients or previous clients from within the last 3 years.
  10. Budget: Provide monthly consulting fees for services proposed.
  11. Additional Information: Provide any additional pertinent information about your agency that was not already included in the information above.


SD will evaluate all proposals received based on the submission guidelines, as requested above. All proposers should submit their proposals by email to Jill Poklemba, VP of Development and Communications at:

Finalists will be invited to present their proposal in a formal in-person interview in Briarwood, NY.

DUE DATE: October 6, 2023 by 5:00PM

NOTE: SD reserves the right to modify deadlines, change the scope of work, amend the RFP, reject any or all submissions for any reason without incurring any cost or liability, negotiate with any firm, and select the firm that best meets the needs of the organization.

Download a PDF version of this RFP.