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RFP: Communications Assessment & Action Plan Project 8 December 2017

Columbia Riverkeeper

REQUEST FOR PROPOSALS: Communications Assessment & Action Plan Project

Columbia Riverkeeper (Riverkeeper) seeks to retain the services of a communications consultant to provide a report analyzing news and social media communications related to the Hanford Nuclear Site.

The selected individual or firm will be invited to enter into a short-term contract to produce a report containing analysis of Hanford communications and recommendations on how Riverkeeper, Tribes, and non-profit organizations working on Hanford cleanup can improve communications. The contract will also include a presentation (a web-based presentation is acceptable) and Q & A session with Riverkeeper staff and partners on Hanford cleanup.

The Hanford Nuclear Site is Washington’s most important and dangerous contaminated site, and considered the most contaminated site in the Western Hemisphere. The federal government invests three billion dollars per year on Hanford cleanup, but public participation is sorely lacking considering the scale and importance of the cleanup.

Public outreach and communications about Hanford are difficult because nuclear waste cleanup is technical, there is excessive jargon, the timelines are long, and the Department of Energy historically has not empowered public engagement. This must change. An unmet need is to conduct the communications assessment described in this RFP.

KEY DATES
Release of RFP: December 7, 2017
RFP Due Date: January 8, 2018
Selection of Firm: January 24, 2018
Expected Effective Date of Consultant Agreement: February 2, 2018

ORGANIZATIONAL OVERVIEW
Riverkeeper is a successful nonprofit organization dedicated to protecting and restoring the Columbia River watershed. Riverkeeper is a leader in high-profile campaigns to protect our region from fossil fuel infrastructure, toxic pollution, the Hanford Nuclear Site, and other threats facing Columbia River communities and salmon habitat. Riverkeeper has a history of working with staff and elected officials from Columbia River tribal nations to fight for clean water and strong salmon runs.

PROJECT SCOPE
The consultant will complete a professional communications assessment and implementation plan.

Communications assessment: The report will evaluate how key audiences perceive the Hanford cleanup by assessing news and social media coverage. The report will provide high-level recommendations for key messages, audiences, and tactical avenues and outlets to reach target audiences. Specifically, the assessment will evaluate past Hanford communications to inform best practices for message and message delivery platforms. The contractor will:

1) Assess news and social media coverage and/or conduct simple interviews with community leaders identified by Riverkeeper to answer the following key questions.
Which agency or organization is the prime source of Hanford information,
What media platform is most effective,
What media platform is the least effective,
What is the primary message regarding Hanford that is being communicated to the public,
Whether Riverkeeper is seen as having a key role/voice regarding Hanford, and
Whether the Tribes are seen as having a key role/voice regarding Hanford.

2) Synthesize the research into a report that also includes big picture recommendations for:
Key purpose of a Hanford communications strategy,
Implementing a shared (Riverkeeper/tribal) communications plan,
Identify leaders that influence Hanford cleanup actions,
Priority target audiences, and
Key tactical avenues and outlets to reach the target audiences (e.g., what priorities the partners should place on social media, traditional media, and direct outreach to reach key audiences).

Communications action plan: The action plan will include a detailed outline containing recommendations on video and print collateral, guidance for in-person presentations and hearings, earned media and social media, and visuals. The contractor will utilize the assessment data and lessons learned to create the action plan to reach the key audiences identified in the assessment phase. The plan will set out detailed recommendations on:

Video and print collateral
Guidance for in-person presentations and hearings
Earned media
Social media (including amplification of earned media coverage, as well as live tweeting, Facebook Live and Instagram coverage of events and presentations)
Visuals
Recommendations for metrics and assessment for Riverkeeper to utilize during the 18-month period following contract completion.

The audiences for the action plan are Tribes working on Hanford cleanup, Riverkeeper, and other non-profit organizations engaged in public participation on Hanford cleanup.

BUDGET
The budget for all work described in this RFP cannot exceed $10,000.

QUALIFICATIONS/EXPERIENCE
Ability to perform the requirements outlined in this RFP.
Relevant experience of the firm and/or individuals who will work on the contract.
Project personnel with experience in conducting communications reviews and recommendations for nonprofits, government agencies, tribes, or municipalities. Knowledge of the nonprofit sector preferred.
Demonstrated record of success by firm or individual.
Reasonableness of the fee requested to do the work; comparability of fee to similar services offered by other qualified firm(s) or individuals.

EVALUATION CRITERIA
Riverkeeper will evaluate all properly submitted proposals and will assess all proposals with respect to the Project Scope and the requirements set forth in this RFP, including without limitation the consultant fee and responsiveness of the proposal. The criteria for evaluation are as follows:
Responsiveness to this RFP.
Experience of the professional personnel with Tribes, local governments, agencies, or non-profits.
Quality of work samples presented.
Scope and appropriateness of services proposed.
Information requested by references.
Budget.

CONTENTS OF PROPOSAL
The proposal, which should not exceed five pages, should include the following components:
Description of experience with communication efforts and samples of work, if available.
Description of experience with environmental, public health, or social justice issues.
Resume(s) of proposed lead consultant staff or individuals.
Proposed approach to the project.
Three professional references with contact information.
Proposed work schedule.
Proposed budget.

Riverkeeper will not reimburse applicants or the selected consultant for time spent preparing the application.

CONTRACT TERM
Riverkeeper anticipates the contract will begin February 2, 2018, or sooner and the final work product and presentation will be completed no later than May 30, 2018.

OTHER INFORMATION
Riverkeeper will fund the project described in this RFP through a Public Participation Grant awarded by the Washington Department of Ecology (Ecology). The contractor therefore must be willing to include contract terms required under Ecology’s grant. This includes a notice of Ecology copyright rights to any data or documents created or developed because of or under the contract.

SUBMITTAL/ QUESTIONS
Riverkeeper invites qualified firms or individuals to submit a proposal. Proposals are due January 8, 2018 to info@columbiariverkeeper.org. Please submit one PDF document if possible and title the email “Hanford Communications RFP Application.”

Questions and requests for clarification and/or additional information should be directed via email to Lauren Goldberg at lauren@columbiariverkeeper.org.

SELECTION PROCESS
A panel of Riverkeeper’s staff will rank and select proposals for interviews. Riverkeeper will interview some or all candidates and contact references. Riverkeeper reserves the right to reject any or all proposals.

Columbia Riverkeeper awards contracts on an equal opportunity basis.

LOCATION
Portland, Hood River
COMPENSATION
$10,000
JOB TYPE
Temporary
HOW TO APPLY
SUBMITTAL/ QUESTIONS Riverkeeper invites qualified firms or individuals to submit a proposal. Proposals are due January 8, 2018 to info@columbiariverkeeper.org. Please submit one PDF document if possible and title the email “Hanford Communications RFP Application.” Questions and requests for clarification and/or additional information should be directed via email to Lauren Goldberg at lauren@columbiariverkeeper.org.
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