Monday, 21 April 2014

Website Design and Development – Request for Proposals

Website Design and Development – Request for Proposals


Asylum Access is accepting proposals to design and develop our third official website. The purpose of this RFP is to secure the services of a web design and/or development professional who understands our goals and can collaborate with us to either re-design or design a brand new website. This RFP provides an overview of our goals, target audience and project scope, enabling a fair evaluation for all candidates. RFPs will be accepted until 11:59pm PDT, April 28, 2014.
The current Asylum Access website ( was designed and produced in 2008, hosted on a customized WordPress theme. We have since outgrown the website, which is currently not user friendly and with an outdated look and feel that does not reflect our professional work and public image offline. Our work as a global organization has grown tremendously, along with a growth in online content and needs. Asylum Access does not have in-house web support. Communications staff maintain content and have made only minor modifications to layout and wireframe.
We are seeking a web professional to work with us in three phases: (i) Facilitate an informed wireframe and layout brainstorm based on already identified goals and target audience; (ii) Based on final recommendations from brainstorm, create 1-2 mock-ups for review and discussion; and (iii) Develop a fully-functional site, which includes a testing and debugging phase before a final launch by September 1, 2014.



Asylum Access is the only international nonprofit solely dedicated to making refugee rights a reality in Africa, Asia and Latin America, where over ninety-five percent of the world’s refugees remain. As a leading refugee rights authority, we need a website that represents Asylum Access as an international thought leader.
Our primary objective is to effectively represent our work as a pioneering nonprofit spearheading a growing refugee rights movement. Our innovative approach combines grassroots legal assistance with long-term advocacy to change the way governments and international aid agencies respond to long-term refugee displacement. We are a dynamic and innovative nonprofit that adapts quickly to change, with organizational culture similar to a fast-growing start-up. (More details about the organization below)
In addition, our objectives also include:
  • Growing our website traffic, which may be measured through increase in number of unique visitors and increase in amount of time each user spends on the site. We’re actively collecting site analytics (using Google Analytics) which the selected candidate will have access to.
  • Providing clear and accessible information about our approach to refugee rights assistance, why we are unique and our work in each country (3 overseas offices, with more in the next two years).
  • Serving as an effective platform for advocacy campaigns, which typically includes a report that has targeted policymakers and thought leaders as a primary audience. (Note that our advocacy campaigns are rarely grassroots campaigns, though we would like to have the capacity for this.)
  • Providing clear information about our volunteer legal advocate opportunities. We are a volunteer-driven organization and regular recruitment of VLAs who contribute six months or more of their time to the organization is a priority.
  • Growing our online donations.
The website should incorporate intuitive navigation, attractive visuals and clear and concise messaging, while being easy to use by staff for content updates, including the addition of pages and minor changes in layout and wireframe. The website should be mobile and desktop friendly.
To ensure optimal usability that serves our broad mission-driven work, we request that the selected web professional facilitate one interactive discussion to support the organization of online information with 4-6 leadership staff. We deeply appreciate the expertise of a savvy web professional and will depend on the candidate to provide informed recommendations about layout and wireframe choices. Our lead project coordinator will work with you to facilitate this in the early stages of the project.

Targeted Audience

Our primary website audience is within the US, although it should be easy to navigate for users globally. Our key targeted audiences are:
  • Thought leaders such as senior policy-makers, senior staff of human rights, legal aid or refugee-assisting organizations and leading academics. This is our target audience for advocacy campaigns.
  • Current and prospective funding partners, including foundations and major individual donors who visit our site to learn more about our work, read updates and make a donation.
  • Professionals working in our field or related fields, including refugee legal aid providers, human rights organizations and development aid workers.
  • Prospective Volunteer Legal Advocates, who are lawyers or law students who volunteer for at least six months in our overseas offices in Ecuador, Thailand and Tanzania.
  • Media contacts seeking expertise about refugee rights issues.
  • Refugee clients who require assistance in the countries we work in.

Staff Support and Engagement

The selected candidate will work closely with our communications department, Anna Chen and Sandra ten Zijthoff, who will be making decisions on behalf of the organization. Leadership staff will have opportunity to provide input during the brainstorm discussion, and have already been consulted about key website needs. The project will also have the support of an in-house graphic designer. Asylum Access will provide a collection of high resolution photos and lead the development of editorial content. We will provide logos, color palette and brand guidelines.

Additional References

The following is a list of websites we looked at in our initial project development. These have been included to convey elements we like visually, and are not a fixed or exhaustive list of features we require:
  • Their look and feel is very similar to online news media, such as the New York Times, which conveys credibility.
  • Information is easy to find (primarily through their search function, if all else fails). This is particularly remarkable given the scope of their work.
  • Inspiring and compelling because of the strong use of visuals, which comes across as compelling and conveys impact because most photos focus on people.
  • Their rotating banner is useful to publicize campaigns and highlight work.
  • Navigation is facilitated by ‘third-tier’ pages, which are helpful given the broad range of our work and countries.
  • Very clean and simple look on a white background. There are few options to choose from, which may make it easier for users to navigate through the site and find what they need. Spacing is well-balanced, making it easy to read content.
  • Similar to USCRI, useful banner above the fold.
We currently find the following elements of our website problematic, and would like to make vast improvements in the following:
  • Horizontal sidebar and drop-down menus have too many options, with the result of being not user-friendly. This may be improved by better organization of information and having only 5 options available each time.
  • Lack of a place on our homepage to highlight campaigns or key refugee rights initiatives. Ideally, this would be above the fold. We have discussed the possibility of having a rotating banner.
  • Lack of space on homepage to highlight recent news updates.
  • Color scheme and font does not convey the tone and level of professionalism we prefer. Possible transformation to a white background, given that we are not changing our logo.
  • Lack of accessible multi-lingual functionality. We need content available in Spanish and French at minimum.


This recommended timeline serves as a guide. Dates may be adjusted in consultation with the candidate, provided the website is tested and ready to launch by September 1, 2014. This is a non-negotiable deadline for launch.
1. What we would like from the candidate:
  • RFP release date: Monday, April 9
  • Proposals due: Monday, April 28
  • Proposal Award Date: Monday, May 12
  • Initial Meetings and Facilitated Brainstorm: May 15-May 30
  • 1-2 mock-ups or prototypes: Wednesday, June 11
  • Website first draft ready for testing: Wednesday, July 30
  • Final site launch: Monday, September 1
2. What we will provide to you:
  • Sitemap rough draft: May 30
  • Final design idea (based on 1-2 mock-ups): June 30
  • Editorial content rough draft and photography: July 15
  • Final changes to website design: August 22
  • Final editorial content: Friday, August 29


Asylum Access is an international nonprofit founded to make refugee rights a reality in Africa, Asia and Latin America. Of the world’s 16 million refugees, less than one percent are resettled in North America, Europe or Australia. Most remain in first countries of refuge — the first country they flee to — within Africa, Asia and Latin America. In theory, international law protects their fundamental rights to safety, employment, education, healthcare and protection from further injustice. In practice, many countries violate these rights with impunity.
Asylum Access was founded to change this. Our innovative model helps refugees access the tools to rebuild their lives themselves using four integrated tools: individualized legal counsel and/or representation, community legal empowerment, policy advocacy and strategic litigation. Together, these tools help refugees respond to individual rights violations while transforming the human rights landscape for entire refugee populations.
Among other achievements, we successfully advocated for refugee work rights to be included in the Ecuadorian constitution, enabling 250,000 refugees to work and feed their families for the first time. In Thailand, we advocated for draft amendments to the Thai Immigration Act that would include the country’s first refugee law, if passed before parliament when the new government is convened. In Tanzania, we successfully advocated for the government to begin developing an urban refugee policy that would enable refugees to live and work in local communities, instead of living in camps.
Since 2005, our work has impacted an estimated 1,000,000 refugees through policy advocacy and strategic litigation efforts. Our direct legal assistance reached over 10,000 refugees in Ecuador, Thailand and Tanzania last year alone.
For more information, please visit


Our project budget is $5,000-$6,000. All quotes should be inclusive, and clearly itemize costs. If your price excludes certain fees or charges, please provide a detailed list with explanation of the nature of those fees. It is understood that all final products will be exclusively owned by Asylum Access, unless otherwise stated in writing. If you also provide ongoing web support beyond website launch, kindly specify how this support is billed and your rates (note that this is not a guarantee of further engagement of your services).


  • We will be evaluating each candidate according to the following criteria:
  • Experience in developing professional websites, as seen through previous work.
  • Experience working collaboratively with nonprofit organizations, collaborative being a key factor for the right candidate.
  • Knowledge and/or experience in user experience design and information architecture.
  • Experience deploying websites on Content Management Systems with user-friendly, intuitive administrative interfaces.
  • Experience integrating Salesforce and Mailchimp into web functionality, or other CMS and mailing tools.
  • Knowledge of SEO.


Each proposal should include the following:
  • Proposal: Please provide a summary and description of your proposed solution, including a timeline and preliminary outline of key features.
  • Budget: Please provide a detailed list with explanation of the nature of fees, if applicable. Itemize costs clearly in your proposal. In the case that you provide ongoing web support beyond this project, please specify your rates.
  • Examples of your work, such as an online portfolio or links to websites you created. (Please specify if you were a contributor instead of the leading website developer)
  • References of two clients you previously worked with.
  • Standard contract (if available)
Kindly submit all proposals no later than 11:59pm PDT, April 28, 2014 to Anna Chen at with “RFP Proposal” in the subject title. Please contact Anna Chen for any inquiries.
Thank you for your interest in Asylum Access.

No comments:

Post a Comment