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About HOT

Humanitarian OpenStreetMap Team (HOT) sits at the nexus of participatory mapping, community-led development, humanitarian response, open data and tech. With a talented and diverse team of about 100 staff spread around the globe, HOT is an NGO which supports a dynamic global community of thousands of dedicated volunteers using maps and open data for humanitarian response and advancing the Sustainable Development Goals. Working with humanitarian and development partners like the Red Cross, Médecins Sans Frontières, UN agencies, governments and others, the HOT community maps in solidarity with those affected by or at risk of disaster, contributing the maps and data aid workers need to do their lifesaving work.

In 2020, the work of the HOT community was recognized by TED’s Audacious Project, a collaborative philanthropic initiative that serves as a springboard for social impact on a grand scale, leading to an exciting new phase of growth. HOT is expanding its activities: opening four regional hubs and scaling up its support to local mapping communities with the audacious goal of mapping an area home to one billion people in 94 countries at high risk of disasters or experiencing poverty - mapping with communities before they are in crisis.

Our Strategy Context

Humanitarian OpenStreetMap Team (HOT) is in a period of substantial change, after receiving support from The Audacious Project in 2020.

Since then, four strategic pieces of work have guided HOT. These contain lots of useful and relevant ideas, but have proved challenging to bring together and practically implement, especially given the growth the organisation has gone through. These include:

  1. HOT’s prior strategic plan - which was written in 2018/19 to cover the period 2019-21. This contains lots of information, like a great vision & mission, along with a lot of suggestions on ways HOT could realise that vision & mission. However, much has changed in the organisation since this was written. Staff have been able to use it as a tool to inform the purpose and scale of their work, but have struggled to use it to inform the content of their work. Additionally, HOT’s resourcing and structure changed dramatically in 2020, which was not reflected in this document.

  2. HOT’s Audacious project proposal - which was written in 2019/20, in order to mobilize the financing needed to achieve the vision & mission laid out in the strategic plan. It covers a five year project period through mid 2025. This document greatly evolved thinking around what HOT could be, set some ambitious targets, and laid out the ambition around HOT’s future structure, but does not define the specific pathways to achieve this.

  3. HOT’s Navigation guide - which was written in May-June 2021 based on five top questions that we needed to answer as a shared team at a critical point in delivery, where prioritisation and execution in the midst of a global pandemic was proving challenging. It provides useful, practical information/answers to those five questions, and allows us to experiment with an interesting method to involve our teams in strategy, but is not comprehensive or long-term, nor does it cover the entire organisation.

  4. HOT’s Theory of Change - Developed in May 2021 with input from voting members, board members, staff. It lays out many of the pathways we might take to reach our vision, but the pathways could lead to many different strategic approaches. To inform their work, teams or individuals also use:

  5. HOT’s Objectives & Key Results (OKRs) - which were written in July 2021 to set ambitious goals for the organisation both at the entire organisation and individual team level. The most recent organisation level OKRs span one year (July 2021 - June 2022), while team OKRs vary in length (often 3m or 6m and in some cases 1 year). Over the course of the year, we’ve learned that annual OKRs have been difficult to work with as an organisation, and are working on options to allow us to set regular focused goals, which optimize cross-team alignment and collaboration.

  6. Individual team strategies - these exist for some teams, but at varying levels of completeness, and with minimal interaction between teams.


We are in a position where we want to bring together all of these documents in a coherent stock check of where we are, and where we want to go. The mission & vision laid out in our 2019-21 strategy are still largely relevant, but we want to reassess methods to achieve them over the next 3+ years. We need to update our strategy to reflect updated content (what options and opportunities are there for HOT; how do we assess these & their suitability), and to bring cohesion (without one guiding document that all teams are following, different individuals/teams have interpreted HOT’s work in different ways, and can diverge, resulting in misalignment).

We believe firmly in working with the community, and that for the strategy to have value it must be referenced on a regular basis by staff, and help them do their jobs better. We want to develop a Living Strategy, the scope and purpose of which are laid out here. We are seeking an organization or individual who can help us develop, deliver, and structure the strategy which addresses HOT’s top strategic needs by the beginning of June 2022. This must shift us closer to achieving our vision and mission, and answer big questions which are presently blocking our progress. We want to establish a relationship that can extend to future strategic needs.

Values that must be embodied in strategic development

  • Community centricity: HOT is based around open source software and embodies many of its principles. We need to establish appropriate methods for engagement of diverse groups of community members and staff, and respect their institutional knowledge.

  • Agility: HOT has historically had tight feedback loops with the people it serves, and thrives in its ability to meet needs of the humanitarian and development sector through technology as these change and develop.

  • The strategy is delivery: The link between strategy and implementation must be very close. HOT is based around grassroots action, and a strategy must serve our staff and community. This means an actionable, tangible, realistic strategy - no (corporate) management speak.

  • Flexibility with boundaries: engage with community members on methods and timeframes which work for them, but still keep HOT on track.

Immediate Needs (pre June 2022): the scope of this RfP


  • We’d like you to assist us with:

    • Developing the vision and values

    • Facilitation (internal and external); designing facilitation methods for staff & community engagement. We want you to listen to our objectives, and help design facilitation methods which will help achieve deep involvement of the HOT Community.

  • We’d like you to lead on:

    • A stock check of where HOT is now, where we want to go and how we are delivering

    • SWOT and horizon scanning for the immediate (0-1 year) and medium term (1-3 year) future

    • Research relevant peer organisations/ movements and present case studies/ lessons learned

    • Develop an Operating Model which allows us to deliver on our vision, in accordance with our values

    • Facilitating decision making by Leadership team where required

    • Delivery of final strategy: write ups and final products (to be agreed as part of the interview process)

Longer term needs (July 2022-2023): the scope of a future RfP, which will be shaped by the initial RfP

  1. Assist us to develop a mechanism to prioritise and address top strategic priorities for the organisation moving forward

  2. Fulfil strategy for key thematic areas, including movement strategy (mobilisation and engagement), our global governance model, staffing, and business model.


We are expecting proposals in the range of $30-80k USD. We know this is a really big range; we would like to see responses from individuals and larger organisations and envisage a team of 1-3 people. We understand that different scale teams will deliver differently, and we are not prescribed to who we work with. We want you to assess our RfP and think about what it would really take for you or your team to do the work well, and to have an open conversation about that if you get to the interview stage.

What do we want from you?

A maximum 12 slide proposal that answers the following:

  1. Basic background on your firm, including what your strategic development process includes, and why are you the right individual or firm to help us deliver a Living Strategy?

  2. How can you help us deliver this work within our recommended time frames, considering involvement from 7 board members, 50-100 voting members, community members, and 80 staff members (of which there are 15 senior leaders).

  3. Explain how you manage your client relationships when handling strategy development (breakdown of responsibilities, frequency of engagement with project team and other groups, etc)

  4. Please describe your involvement and expertise in the following elements of Strategy Creation:

    1. Planning

    2. Facilitation

    3. Engagement with different stakeholders: board, membership, community (our implementation stakeholders and partners), staff

    4. Proven experience developing strategies which deliver localisation, community empowerment, and sharing power

    5. Technical expertise in humanitarian and/or open source technology NGOs or nonprofits

  5. List the team member(s) who would work directly on our project and their experience.

  6. List 3+ of your clients that you feel are similar in scope to HOT, with examples of the work completed for them. Please include clients that you think would be comfortable providing us a reference down the line.

  7. Cost based on the recommended approach (or approaches) listed in section (a) of your proposal.

  8. Provide any additional information or comments that you believe would distinguish your organization from others, or that would be relevant for us to know as we consider your response

    Send your proposal to with the subject line: HOT Strategy 2022: Request for Proposal: < your name >

Who will you be working with on our team?


  • RfP Posted: 7th Feb

  • Closing date for questions: any questions can be sent to with the subject line “Strategy RfP” by 21st Feb

  • Accepting applications until: End of Day 27th Feb

  • After review of proposals: we expect to host interviews with promising applicants, with a view to confirming a vendor circa 10th March

  • Start date of: w/c March 14th preferable, absolute latest 4th April