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2017 - APA Texas Communications Technician

QUESTIONS ABOUT RFP

Questions received from a potential responder: Posted 1/8/2018

1.  Who will be responsible for responding to and resolving member technical inquiries, such as login failures on the website?
We receive about six (6) inquiries per week, mostly from people who cannot figure out how to post an RFP or job notice. They are received by the webmaster and executive administrator. The web master answers technical inquiries and the exec admin answers non-technical inquiries. The new Communications Technician will handle tech inquiries in the future, and the executive administrator will continue to handle others.

2. Do you have a website file backup plan? If you do not have one, do you need one? Or do you want to change it?
We understand that our internet service provider, Tendenci, provides backup of our website. If we transition to the new APA ISP for Chapter websites, APA would provide backup. We should confirm that we have a viable backup plan.

3. Will we be creating graphics and finding photos or do you have a library we will access (or a dropbox account)?
APA National has a graphics library we can access and use. The Chapter is amassing a collection of still photos from selected events and activities.

4. How many member surveys do you anticipate doing in 2018?
Likely two or three surveys. There is an annual member survey, and other surveys for purposes such a reaccreditation of university planning programs. We also do an annual survey of chapter conference attendees following the State Planning Conference each fall.

5. How do you manage the annual training related to website use and maintenance now? Do you have an existing training module you use? Do you want it updated or do you need something new? Would the training be in-person once a year? Or would it be an online module? Or both?
We have developed a webinar for training administrators for the Chapter and Section websites. We offer the training to the nine (9) Section web administrators and also to the five (5) Planning Student Organization web administrators.

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Questions received from a potential responder: Posted 1/7/2018

1.  What do you identify as the strengths and weaknesses of the current communications efforts and strategy?
The APA Texas Chapter Communications Plan provides insight to the strengths and weaknesses of our communications. A volunteer effort has provided our communications for more than 3 decades, while our membership has increased to more than 2,200 members, and technology is advancing to provide expanded means for reaching out and engaging them in the association's activities, programs and services. The Com Tech position will enable the Chapter to provide a heightened level of service to its members.

2.  What are the reasons that the APA Texas Chapter is looking to increase its communications presence?
- Increase our engagement with members.
- Improve the quality of our newsletters and Facebook postings.
- Expand our member communications to include other social media.

3.  In the Communications Plan, the monthly content focus is posted from June - May.  Are these focus areas applicable to 2018?  
Yes. The schedule for content focus will be updated.

4.  Is the APA still working with MyHart Communications?  If so, will this role coordinate with them in some capacity?
No. MyHart Communications was the contractor to the Chapter, to prepare the Communications Plan. Their services are completed. They may be a responder to the RFP for Com Tech services. Alternately, the Chapter could possibly choose to utilize them for future services or coordination in support of implementation for the Communications Plan

Task-Specific Questions:

Task One: Will the updates/web content be developed by the Communications contractor or will it be provided by the Sections, Committees, etc.?  
Both. Our Chapter officers, Section Directors, and standing and appointed committees will provide content relative to their activities, events and services.   The Communications Manager and Executive Administrator will perform an editorial function. The Com Tech will perform editing, formatting and distribution functions, and may also develop content when needed.

Task Three:  May I view an example of a recent newsletter?  Are you pleased with the current format or are you wanting a redesign?   
Click here for the October 2017 E-Newsletter. There is always room for improvement.

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REQUEST FOR PROPOSALS – COMMUNICATIONS TECHNICIAN SERVICES

Project Purpose
American Planning Association (APA) Texas Chapter (hereafter referred to as APA Texas or Chapter) is a statewide 501 (c) (3) non-profit association with over 2,000 members.  APA Texas is seeking a qualified consultant to provide communications services to achieve the Chapter’s Action Plan and accomplish goals associated with communication and engagement with members and allied organizations.

Scope of Work
APA Texas is seeking to contract with an individual, company or organization that would develop and assist the Chapter in implementing its Communications Plan. The successful proposer will assist in the implementation of communications strategies and technology. The successful proposer will work closely with the Chapter’s Executive Administrator to maintain and enhance the Chapter’s website and social media presence.

Task One: Through coordination with the Chapter’s Executive Administrator, update and maintain the Chapter website.  Maintain and update the Chapter website www.txplanning.org by posting weekly content associated with key functions of the Chapter including, but not limited to, Chapter Board leadership, Board and Executive Committee meeting minutes, financial information, Sections information, Planning Student Organizations, professional development, Chapter Awards, Planning Excellence recognition, calendar of events, legislative and advocacy updates, job postings, National Planning Month information and activities, information about the annual Chapter conference, and other relevant planning news items and information.

Maintain the Chapter website by performing monthly reviews and associated cleanup of old/outdated content and broken links. Through coordination with the Executive Administrator, maintain the website, redirects, domain name and service from the internet service provider.

Participate and assist in the Chapter’s website transition to the APA National website service provided for Chapters, by transferring Chapter content to the appropriate location on the APA National website. After the content has been fully transferred, update and maintain Chapter content located on the National website.

Task Two: Assist with content development on Chapter social media platforms.
Assist with content development for social media interaction including Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, YouTube, and LinkedIn. 

Ensure messaging between all platforms is consistent with the overall branding guidelines of the American Planning Association and investigate new ways to promote the Texas Chapter.

Task Three: Implement and maintain communication and engagement opportunities.
Through coordination with the Executive Administrator, design, create and disseminate quarterly electronic newsletters and monthly e-mail campaigns to increase awareness of APA Texas and its programs and activities.

Obtain monthly Chapter member roster provided by the APA National organization through the Executive Administrator, and update the e-mail marketing service (currently Campaign Monitor) member database before distributing new e-mail campaign messages and newsletters.

Through coordination with the Executive Administrator, design, create and disseminate periodic member surveys.

Maintain communication teams within social media platforms, Chapter website, Campaign Monitor and other communication-related apps. Communication teams are appointed by the Chapter President, nine (9) Section Directors, and Planning Student Organization (PSO) representatives at five (5) accredited planning degree programs at Texas Universities

Task Four: Ensure that appropriate security protocols and training opportunities are offered.
Maintain usernames and passwords for administrative access to the Chapter website, social media platforms, e-mail marketing service (currently Campaign Monitor), and other various applications (apps) such as GoToMeeting, Survey Monkey, Doodle, and Hootsuite.

Coordinate with the Executive Administrator to transition or add new providers should the Chapter decide to change or add services such as e-mail marketing services, hosting services, social media, etc.

Unless otherwise directed, communication team members are assigned as editors only. Only the Chapter President or Executive Administrator may authorize administrative permission-level access to team members.

Provide annual training and periodic assistance to Sections and Planning Student Organizations in relation to maintenance of their webpages on the Chapter website.

Task Five: Evaluate effectiveness of communications activities.
Produce quarterly and annual Communications Reports providing trend data associated with the website, e-mail campaigns, and social media.

The design and function of the website is subject to review and approval of the Executive Administrator and Chapter President including annual review to assess its format and service to the membership.

Requirements for Response to Request for Proposals (RFP)
Responses to the RFP should include items described in this section.

Intention to Respond
Potential responders must submit their intention to respond by 5:00 pm CST, Thursday, January 4th, 2018. Indication of intent must be sent to Executive Administrator, Mike McAnelly, FAICP, at administrator@apatexas.org.

Questions about RFP
Potential responders must submit all questions by 5:00 pm CST, January 8, 2018. Questions must be sent to Executive Administrator, Mike McAnelly, FAICP, at administrator@apatexas.org. - Responses to inquiries about the RFP and attachments and/or any addendums will be posted on the website RFP page: https://www.txplanning.org/rfps/apa-texas-communications-technician/.

The Executive Administrator will respond via email to questions from potential responders to assist them in responding to the RFP.

APA Texas will not pay any costs incurred by any Applicant associated with any aspect of responding to this solicitation, including proposal preparation or contract negotiation.

Submission Guidelines
Questions and Submissions, as detailed above should be sent to:
Executive Administrator, Mike McAnelly, FAICP
administrator@apatexas.org

All RFP submittal materials shall be combined and submitted in a single file in Portable Document Format (PDF) via Dropbox. To upload your proposal click the following link: https://www.dropbox.com/request/QNqCkyBqmhw9IyQrLpYo

Dropbox settings for the submittal process will be private and the responder will only be able to view his/her proposal.  

Once your proposal document has been submitted via Dropbox, please send a confirmation email to administrator@apatexas.org, and the Executive Administrator will respond to confirm receipt. Please insert “PROPOSAL ATTACHED – COM TECH RFP” in the subject line of the email.

You will receive a response indicating that your submission was received.

Proposal Deadline
The deadline for receiving proposals is 5:00 pm, CST, Monday, January 15, 2018. Proposals must be submitted electronically via Dropbox to Executive Administrator, Mike McAnelly, FAICP, at administrator@apatexas.org.

Late proposals will not be accepted.

Formatting
Proposals not conforming to the proper format or failure to respond to any required items may result in a Responder’s disqualification and/or rejection of the proposal. Responders should include most of the requested information in the body of the proposal. If Responders include attachments, they should refer to the attachments in the body of the proposal to enable the selection committee to clearly understand what information the Responder is providing for each section. The proposal must be submitted as a combined single file in Portable Document Format (PDF)

Evaluation Procedures

Selection
APA Texas reserves the right to reject any or all responses to this RFP, to advertise for new RFP responses, or to accept any RFP response deemed to be in the best interest of APA Texas. These proposals will be assessed by the selection committee (appointed by the APA Texas Board) and the Executive Board

A. The Selection Committee will review the responses to the RFP on the basis of the respondent’s professional qualifications, experience/availability, understanding of project scope, and cost proposal.

B. The Selection Committee reserves the right to contact respondents for clarification of information submitted. The Selection Committee also reserves the right to contact references to obtain information regarding past performance, reliability, and integrity.

C. Consortiums, or joint ventures will not be considered. The Chapter is seeking a dedicated Communications Technician to perform the scope of work.

D. Persons submitting qualification statements, including their agents and representatives, shall not undertake any activities or actions to promote or advertise their qualification statement to any member of the Chapter’s Board of Directors except in the course of Chapter-sponsored inquiries, meetings, or interviews between the qualification statement submission date and action by Chapter Board.  Any violation of this provision may result in disqualification of the respondent. 

E. The selected respondent will be required to execute a professional services agreement with the APA Texas Chapter.  The term of the initial Agreement shall be nine (9) months.  Subsequent duration of the agreement, if renewed, shall be twelve (12) months.  A copy of the general terms of the Agreement and Scope of Services are available for review on the Chapter’s website https://www.txplanning.org/rfps/apa-texas-communications-technician/.

F. If the Chapter and selected respondent cannot come to an agreement regarding cost, scope of work, or other contact terms, the Chapter will end negotiation with selected respondent and may begin negotiation with the second highest ranked respondent from the selection committee. If the Chapter does not believe the next available respondent can meet the Scope of Work based on the Evaluation Criteria, the Chapter will reevaluate the Scope of Work and determine if changes are needed.

Evaluation Criteria
The proposal evaluation criteria for the selection of the consultant will include:

· Professional Qualifications (40%): The responding consultant must have completed similar projects as outlined in the Scope of Work. The consultant must demonstrate familiarity through past performance and providing references.

 · Experience/Availability of Project Manager (20%): The responding consultant must demonstrate its ability to meet the Chapter’s weekly, monthly, and quarterly tasks as outlined in the Scope of Work. The prime consultant must show that sufficient resources are available to complete requested work.

 · Understanding of Project Scope (30%): The responding consultant must present their approach through further clarification and understanding of all tasks involved in this project. Any work on similar type projects may be listed to validate this understanding

· Competitive Cost Proposal (10%): The responding consultant must provide a competitive monthly and annual cost proposal to perform the tasks specified in the Scope of Work.

Timeline
The Chapter expects that the evaluation of proposals and the selection of the contractor will be completed by February 19, 2018.

Compensation and Method of Payment
Please include a cost proposal in the PDF submittal. Please provide a monthly and annual cost proposal to perform the tasks specified in the Scope of Work. The approved compensation amount will be determined through negotiation with the selected respondent, and considering the Chapter’s budgetary limitation ($20,000 per year plus approved reimbursable expenses). The selected proposer will submit a monthly invoice. Consultant must obtain preauthorization from the Executive Administrator before purchasing any items associated with the Communications assignment. Approved travel expenses during which APA Texas business is conducted will be reimbursed by APA Texas. Consultant must obtain travel preauthorization to be eligible for travel reimbursement.

Location/Performance of Services
Unless otherwise requested by APA Texas for particular events such as Chapter meetings, conferences or travel, the successful proposer will perform services at their own offices.

Independent Contractor
The relationship of the selected respondent and APA Texas shall remain that of independent contractor and not that of an employee. Therefore, with respect to any funds paid to the selected Applicant under the resulting contract with APA Texas, APA Texas will not deduct, withhold or pay, and it shall be the selected proposer’s responsibility to pay any FICA (social security), federal income tax, net profits or business tax, insurance, unemployment benefit insurance, workers compensation benefits, or any other payments that ordinarily are made or withheld by the employer for itself of on behalf of its employees. Independent contractor will be required to provide APA Texas with a completed W9 form prior to the issuance of the initial contractor payment.

Requested Content for RFP Response

The following information should be submitted as part of your response:

1. Letter of Interest (not to exceed 1 page)
2. Organizational Qualifications (not to exceed 5 pages):

A. Describe your experience in providing services similar to the Scope of Work.

B. Describe projects or work completed that are of similar scope and magnitude related to the professional services that are the subject of this RFP.

3. Individual Qualifications (not to exceed 5 pages):

A. Proposers are required to provide their name(s), training and experience qualifications. Please include a resume for the proposer and any other personnel.

B. Additionally, to the extent not already addressed or set forth in resume form, individual proposers are required to identify their qualifications to perform the work required by this RFP.

4. Project Approach (not to exceed 6 pages):

A. Explain your understanding of the project’s intent and objectives and how your proposed approach to communications will meet the objective to develop and support communications plans, strategies and tactics. The approach should include, at a minimum:

a. Plan to complete each task in the Scope of Work;

b. Project management approach (e.g. quality control and assurance strategies, safeguards to ensure performance and security of required services; and

c.  Likely project challenges and a plan to overcome these challenges.

5. Statement of current and past APA Involvement (not to exceed 1 page)
6. References - A one-page list of at least three (3) professional references who may be contacted concerning the respondent’s qualifications, including name, position, organization, phone number and e-mail address for each reference.
7. Cost Proposal - Please provide a monthly and annual cost proposal to perform the tasks specified in the Scope of Work. More information above under “Compensation and Method of Payment” section.

DEADLINE FOR INDICATION OF INTENTION TO RESPOND:
5:00 pm CST, Thursday, January 4th, 2018.


DEADLINE FOR QUESTIONS:
5:00 pm CST, Monday, January 8th, 2018.

DEADLINE FOR PROPOSALS:
5:00 pm CST, Monday, January 15th, 2018.

Click here to download RFP PDF. 
Click here for APA Professional Services Agreement template.
Click here for Chapter Action Plan.
Click here for Chapter Communications Plan.