Community Forklift is a non-profit building materials reuse center. Our name refers to our mission: to “lift up local communities” by reducing waste, creating green jobs and making repairs affordable for homeowners, small businesses and community groups.
We accept donations of salvaged and surplus building materials and make them available to the public at low cost or for free from our warehouse thrift-store, located in the town of Edmonston, Maryland, just 5 minutes from Northeast Washington, DC.
Superficially, Community Forklift operates like a Goodwill Industries storefront for home-improvement. But unlike a typical thrift store, Community Forklift places a significant emphasis on community engagement and education. Our organization’s mission and resources are dedicated to providing the following core services:
- Support local communities by providing low-cost and free building materials to low-income families, small business, service organizations, churches, schools, theaters and arts groups and other nonprofits;
- Create good jobs and promote economic development;
- Educate the public about the benefits of re-use and sustainable building practices;
- Reduce waste going into area landfills; and
- Foster community outreach and revitalization to expand local capacity for community sustainability.
Community Forklift’s constituents represent a broad racial and economic cross section of the Washington, DC metro area, including low income families, small business owners, environmentalists, artists, urban hipsters and interior decorators with wealthy clients. Our donor base is similarly broad, and includes homeowners, realtors, universities, contractors, architects, government agencies, and retailers and distributors of building-materials from across the region.
We are staffed by over 40 paid employees, as well as dozens of volunteers. We offer all employees structured training on subject areas related to building materials reuse, job training specific to their position, professional development opportunities including leadership development and human relations skills. We partner with a number of local nonprofit organizations to provide training and volunteer opportunities to high school and college students.
Community Forklift’s primary mission is to provide low cost building materials to the public. The availability of these materials not only allows many of our customers to undertake home improvements that they could not otherwise afford, but it also makes it possible for many of our customers to maintain their livelihoods. About one-quarter of our customers are handymen, very small contractors and small businesses, the majority of which serve the surrounding low-income communities. Many of these small business-people were hard hit by the recent recession and rely on Community Forklift for the materials they need to either support their work or supplement their incomes.
In addition to reselling materials at low cost, Community Forklift has programs to provide free materials to low-income households, nonprofits and community groups. In 2013 we donated over $28,000 worth of materials to households-in-need and other nonprofits. We project that number to reach $45,000 in 2014.
Community Forklift actively supports economic development by promoting or dedicating a portion of its warehouse space to small, local green businesses, such as Treincarnation, which salvages and mills downed urban trees, and ECO-City Farms, an organic urban farm located in the towns of Edmonston and Bladensburg, MD. We also host an annual “green arts” fair that promotes arts and crafts that embrace reuse and sustainability practices.
Community Forklift devotes substantial resources to public education. Every year we attend dozens of events, including neighborhood festivals, housing and green building fairs and home improvement events to promote reuse and waste reduction. We also host an annual series of home improvement and reuse workshops, which are free to the public.
Community Forklift is an enterprise which, over the past eight years, has become an integral part of the Washington-area landscape. Fondly known as “the Forklift,” the value to the community is abundantly evident in the community center-like atmosphere of the store, which is cultivated through festivals, workshops, parties and other community events. Homeowners mingle with contractors and mutual aid is fostered through the cooperative atmosphere and referrals to tradespeople. Community Forklift believes that social revitalization and economic revitalization go hand-in-hand. Housing stock is improved while environmental principles become everyday practices, and valuable skills and resources are more widely shared.
Over the course of its eight-year existence, Community Forklift has expanded from an obscure, understaffed thrift store to an organization with over 40 employees and considerable positive name recognition across the Washington region. We regularly win “best of” awards from the Washington City Paper and Washington Post Express, and we have received a number of citations from municipal and environmental groups for our positive work as a green business. Although our core activity remains the same as it was at our founding, our mission and our vision have expanded, and we have also undergone significant management changes. At the same time, the market for what we do has also evolved and become increasingly competitive, with a number of organizations vying for the same donor and client base.
Our original marketing materials and graphics have not kept pace with our growth. We have made a number of successful adjustments to these materials over the years, but these changes have often occurred piecemeal and in response to immediate needs, rather than in a holistic fashion. We feel it is time to undertake a more comprehensive evaluation of our brand, with the goal of developing a complete set of marketing materials and graphics that clearly and consistently convey our mission and the unique atmosphere or “funky vibe” that sets Community Forklift apart from similar organizations.
Community Forklift seeks a consultant with extensive experience in rebranding nonprofit organizations. Familiarity with the issue of waste-reduction and re-use would be a big plus.
The consultant will produce the following deliverables:
- New or revised logo
- Detailed brand package including fonts, brand assets, other graphic elements, and a color palette for a host of collateral materials, including a newsletter, stationary, brochures, webpage, and various event flyers, mailings and signage
- Branding package standards and usage guide
- New or revised tag line and elevator pitch
Community Forklift’s mission and vision will remain the same. The consultant or will work with existing Community Forklift materials, including logo, taglines, brochures, and help create a complete, holistic set of materials. The selected consultant will be given access to CF management and staff. It is expected that the selected consultant will also seek input from CF customers and beneficiaries.
We see this process not as a re-invention of who and what we are, but as a refinement and integration of our various parts into a more coherent and compelling package. It is very important that deliverables capture our current aesthetic, and we are open to incorporating significant elements of our existing materials into the new product.
As a small nonprofit, Community Forklift is seeking to cap the budget for this project at $2500, and we anticipate the consultant would have to provide some of the services pro bono or at a discounted rate in order to fulfill the scope of work within that budget.
Proposals should be submitted online at https://podio.com/webforms/8946113/662942 and include the following:
- Business profile, including length of time in business and core competencies
- Profiles of key staff
- Brief summary explaining why your business is the best fit for Community Forklift
- Summary of rebranding experience
- Experience with nonprofit organizations
- Experience with website design
- Brief statement regarding the ownership of the produced materials and what will be required for Community Forklift to own the final work produced
- List of three references
- Proposed approach, work plan and timeline
- Total proposed budget and a breakdown by deliverable
All proposals will be reviewed to evaluate applicant qualifications and proposed budget feasibility. Finalists may be contacted to provide additional information or to schedule interviews.
Community Forklift reserves the right to cancel this Request for Proposals at any time, to elect not to award the work listed, to reject any or all of the responses, to waive any informality or irregularity in any response received, and is the sole judge of the merits of the respective responses received.