Request for Proposals: Disaster philanthropy resource landscape scan

Project overview and context 

The Center for Disaster Philanthropy (CDP) began in 2010 with the goal of pioneering the practice of strategic disaster philanthropy. Since then, it has grown in its ambition, envisioning a world where the impact of disasters is minimized through thoughtful, equitable and responsible recovery for all. CDP has a $33 million budget and a team of more than 25 staff members working remotely across the U.S.

As a philanthropy-serving organization that provides funders with resources to strengthen their disaster philanthropy and the field broadly, CDP has produced several special reports in partnership with Candid and Indiana University’s Lilly Family School of Philanthropy. These include the flagship Measuring the State of Disaster Philanthropy: Data to Drive Decisions (SODP) report, three Philanthropy and COVID-19 reports, and the U.S. Household Disaster Giving report.

These special reports and other educational content have contributed to increasing the availability of data and information on the practice and state of disaster philanthropy. Additionally, after almost 14 years of engagement with many stakeholders, CDP has developed institutional knowledge about the resources, information and people in the field.

However, we have not analyzed what other resources are being produced and by whom. As the field has grown, we suspect that there are other resources aimed at funders who support disasters and humanitarian emergencies that we are unaware of.

We are seeking a consultant(s) to conduct a landscape scan that will:

  1. increase our understanding of the existing knowledge base across the field of disaster philanthropy globally, and
  2. identify the field’s resource gaps (including what donors are looking for) and the opportunities that exist for CDP to address them.

The results from the scan will guide the implementation of our current strategic plan and inform the development of a research, learning and education strategy that will strengthen the work of CDP in influencing and educating the field. The scan will also specifically help inform what a SODP product should look like in the years to come.

Proposals must be submitted by Thursday, July 18, 2024, at 5 p.m. EDT.

Scope of work

The following are the overarching questions we would like to answer through this project:

  • What is the state of existing knowledge on disaster philanthropy?
  • What resources or data on disaster giving exist at the intersection of philanthropy and disasters and/or humanitarian emergencies? Who produced the resource or data, what is the purpose and who do they target?
  • What have been verifiable results of existing resources in terms of influence or behavior change, if any?
  • What resource gaps exist? Are there any potential opportunities for CDP to increase its contribution to the field’s knowledge base?
  • What are promising practices for content creation and dissemination that would help CDP influence disaster funders?

Regarding the timeline, we anticipate the project’s work to begin in early August 2024 and be completed by early October 2024.

The CDP team will use the results of the project to guide the implementation of our current strategic plan and inform the development of a research, learning and education strategy that will increase the ability of CDP to influence the field. Depending on the findings, we may turn the insights gained from the project into a public-facing resource for external stakeholders and the field to share learnings and explain CDP’s next steps.

Project phases, deliverables and expected engagement

Below is an outline of phases and deliverables with the anticipated time required for completion. These are illustrative and consultants should feel free to adjust as needed in their proposal, including the time anticipated for completion, with some description and justification of why.

Phase 1: Desk review

  • Consulting with the CDP project lead to inform the desk review. CDP will provide examples of organizations and reports that represent the type of resources to be sought out during the desk review.
  • Designing and conducting a desk review that looks into literature, books, grey literature, reports, online resources and/or publications that are primarily focused on data or knowledge related to philanthropy and disasters and/or humanitarian emergencies.
  • Anticipated time [1]: 10 workdays (80 hours)

Phase 2: Qualitative data collection

  • Identifying a small subset of stakeholders to engage, potentially through interviews, focusing on authors or content creators of resources found during the desk review and users who were expected to be influenced and how they did or did not use the identified resources. These interviews should explore themes emerging from the desk review and support answering the overarching questions.
  • Analyzing qualitative data.
  • Anticipated time: 6 workdays (48 hours)

Phase 3: Preparation and submission of deliverables 

  • Preparing and submitting key deliverables:
    • A report containing at a minimum the key findings, a more in-depth discussion of findings, any identified solutions or recommendations, a list of resources reviewed during desk review, and methodology.
    • A slide deck that follows CDP’s brand guidelines summarizing findings that are useful for education within CDP.
    • A map or other visualization that demonstrates the state of existing knowledge on disaster philanthropy.
    • An opportunity for CDP to review and provide feedback and/or clarifying questions on deliverables.
  • Presentation to key internal stakeholders on the project.
  • Anticipated time: 4 workdays (32 hours)

CDP expects that updates will be provided to the CDP project lead throughout the project, including communication about progress and any issues that may arise. Please factor in meetings, as needed and mutually agreed upon, with CDP staff throughout the above-outlined phases.

Consultant background and characteristics

  • Familiarity with the global philanthropic ecosystem and preferably knowledge of disasters and/or humanitarian emergencies.
  • Background in conducting similar landscape scans and skills in applied research methodologies or techniques (including conducting key informant interviews) relevant to the scope of work.
  • Experience with and interest in presenting findings in creative ways that help the client understand the project and its outcomes while setting up the client to successfully operationalize the findings for future work.
  • Not required but preferably lived experience of a disaster and/or humanitarian emergency or experience using or benefiting from philanthropic resources.
  • We encourage minority and woman business led organizations.
  • Understanding of equity and a commitment to applying an equitable approach to the project.
  • Demonstrated ability to work efficiently and independently to meet deadlines.


The budget for this project will start at $20,000.

Proposal guidance 

To respond to this request for proposal, please submit a proposal of no more than five pages that contains:

  • Name and contact information of the project lead.
  • Experience and qualifications, including brief biographies of team members who would work on the project and description of overall approach to evaluation/research work.
  • The organization’s racial and intersectional equity practices and experience (DEI, DEIJ, etc.).
  • Thumbnail scope and project approach with timelines per activity and deliverable.
  • Budget cost, including the anticipated number of work days for each phase.
  • Three references that have in-depth and proven knowledge of the applicant’s expertise and relevant work experience.

Additionally, we welcome the submission of any supporting materials that will help CDP better understand relevant work and the proposal.


  • Last day to notify CDP of intent to ask questions: July 3, 2024
  • Last day to submit RFP questions to CDP: July 5, 2024
  • CDP will provide written responses to questions (sent to all entities that pre-indicated intent) by: July 9, 2024
  • Proposals due by: July 18, 2024
  • Review of proposals by: July 24, 2024
  • Interviews with preferred proposals: July 29-31, 2024
  • Consultant selected and agreement signed by: Aug. 7, 2024
  • Deliverables and presentation completed by: Oct. 11, 2024


For questions or to submit a proposal, please email the CDP project lead:

Austin Snowbarger
Senior Manager of Strategy and Research

About the Center for Disaster Philanthropy

The mission of CDP is to leverage the power of philanthropy to mobilize a full range of resources that strengthen the ability of communities to withstand disasters and recover equitably when they occur.

CDP is a trusted partner, expert and authoritative resource helping hundreds of individuals, foundations and corporations boost the impact of philanthropic giving in response to disasters and humanitarian crises by supporting equitable recovery and addressing root causes of vulnerabilities worldwide.

In 2023, CDP awarded $22.1 million through 93 grants to 91 grantee partners worldwide; demonstrated thought leadership through 14 webinars, 21 external commentaries, 128 blog posts, 34 featured speaking engagements and other events; and served nearly 20 philanthropic partners through consulting efforts.

In 2020, CDP was a featured nonprofit for the 14th Annual CNN Heroes: An All-Star Tribute.

CDP is fully accredited by the Better Business Bureau’s Wise Giving Alliance and has consistently earned Charity Navigator’s Four-Star Charity rating and Candid’s Platinum Transparency seal.

As an organization grounded in racial and intersectional equity, our team members are deeply committed to strengthening communities most vulnerable to disasters because of systemic inequities. We are guided by our values of integrity, boldness and innovation, humility, and empathy in all that we do in pursuit of our mission.


The following are definitions CDP uses for key terminology used within this RFP and relevant to the project.

Complex Humanitarian Emergency – There is no universally agreed definition of a complex humanitarian emergency (CHE). CDP understands a CHE to include characteristics as described by Britannica: a type of disaster event that is caused by and results in a complicated set of social, medical and often political circumstances, usually leading to great human suffering and death and requiring external assistance and aid.

Disaster – A disaster is a serious disruption of the functioning of a community or a society at any scale due to hazardous events interacting with conditions of exposure, vulnerability and capacity, leading to one or more of the following: human, material, economic and environmental losses and impacts.

Funders – Philanthropic groups that provide financial support to charitable organizations. For CDP, funders include public, private, family, corporate and community foundations (or similar donor structures) and high-wealth donors (individually or through donor-advised fund management companies). Philanthropic-serving organizations are also part of CDP’s primary funder audience.

Philanthropy – Definitions of philanthropy vary but it has been described as the use of private resources – time, treasure, talent, ties – for public purposes. For this project, CDP understands philanthropy to mean the individuals and institutions that use private resources to advance charitable outcomes.

[1] Subject to revision by consultant in proposal.