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Bid Title: Request for Proposals City of Bismarck Strategic Communications Plan
Category: Administration
Status: Closed
Bid Recipient: City Auditor, City of Bismarck, PO Box 5503, Bismarck, ND 58506-5503


The City of Bismarck (City) invites proposals from qualified consulting firms and consultants to create a Strategic Communications Plan that would advise the City on public communication strategies, outreach and engagement, communications best practices, and message templates for news releases, media advisories and similar forms of communication.

The City communicates with residents, businesses, and other stakeholders and organizations about various City matters, including:
  • Emergency preparedness
  • City policy
  • Traffic, public safety, and other alerts
  • News and events
  • Key issues and areas of interest
  • Department programs, projects, campaigns, and news

Communications are done both at the department level and out of the City Administration Office. The City communicates daily using the following platforms:
  • City website
  • Press releases, news media outreach
  • Social media: Facebook, Twitter, YouTube
  • Alert notifications: CodeRED
  • Engagement tools: website citizen request form, website Notify Me subscription service
  • Email, department publications
  • Department Annual reports 

The City of Bismarck’s communication goals are to:
  • Communicate key City messages to residents, businesses, and other stakeholders and organizations
  • Ensure residents and businesses have access to emergency alerts
  • Establish plans and procedures for communicating about emergency issues and disasters
  • Increase awareness of City projects and programs
  • Increase awareness of and engagement with City infrastructure construction projects
  • Increase overall civic engagement and participation
  • Broaden the reach of City communications
  • Establish trust with residents and businesses
  • Communicate with all audiences, including youth and seniors, and in multiple languages
  • Encourage City Departments to increase overall public communications
Publication Date/Time:
11/8/2019 12:00 AM
Closing Date/Time:
12/20/2019 5:00 PM
Submittal Information:
Responses should be submitted by mail or in person by 5:00 PM on Friday, December 20, 2019
Contact Person:
Keith Hunke, City Administrator and Jason Tomanek, Assistant City Administrator are available to answer questions and respond to requests for additional information. All questions must be submitted in writing to Keith Hunke and Jason Tomanek
Business Hours:
8:00 am - 5:00 pm, Mon-Fri
The City is looking for a highly qualified Consultant to work closely with the City’s Administration Department to create a Citywide Strategic Communications Plan. The Consultant can be part of a firm or an individual consultant and is expected to create a Strategic Communications Plan that provides:
• Recommendations for maintaining and enhancing citywide communications
• Establish Bismarck audience profiles and methods to reach different audiences, including harder to reach stakeholders and ensures input is received by a broad cross section of the Bismarck community
• Direction on where to publish translated materials
• Best practices for social media, alert messages, surveys and community engagement
• Extensive boilerplate language for press releases and emergency messaging
• Guidance on establishing citywide newsletter
• Guidance on establishing citywide annual report
• Case studies in emergency preparedness and effective social media and other messaging from other municipalities
• Creative ideas for planned social media posts and campaigns
• Most effective way to establish a City presence on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, YouTube, etc.
• How to be most effective with advertising, guidance on advertising outlets, best practices
• How to make effective videos and when to use them
• Advice on media relations, media training
• Best practices for establishing a Citywide photo database and photo release policy
• Information to share with City employees over an Intranet system
• Budget and staffing to implement and maintain Communications Plan
Special Requirements:
The City is requesting six (6) hard copies and one PDF copy of the proposal, which must contain the following information:
1. Letter of Interest and Approach (2-page maximum): Please include a letter expressing the Consultant’s interest in being considered for the project. As part of the letter, please describe your approach for establishing a Strategic Communications Plan for the City of Bismarck.
2. Advisor/Project Manager Experience (2-page maximum): Please include information about the specific relevant experience of the Consultant or team who will draft the Strategic Communications Plan and serve as the principal contact for the scope of work.
3. Scope and Budget (2-page maximum): Based on the Proposed Scope of Work, please provide billing rates, budget, and schedule for the project.
4. References (1-page maximum)

The City of Bismarck’s selection team will review and evaluate all properly submitted proposals that are received on or before the deadline. The selection team will first review each proposal for compliance with the minimum qualifications and mandatory requirements of the RFP. Failure to comply with any mandatory requirements may disqualify a proposal. The selection team shall participate in the analysis of RFPs, the interview process and the final recommendation of the selected consultant for the project. Upon successful negotiations with the selected consultant, the contract will be recommended for approval by the selection team to the Board of City Commissioners for final approval.

Based upon the qualifications of the submitted proposals, informational interviews will be conducted by the selection team. The selection team will then meet to review proposals, discuss interviews, and select a preferred Consultant. The City intends to complete the contract with the selected Consultant in a timely manner so that the Consultant can commence work in early 2020.
The final selection will be based upon the following criteria:
A. The Consultant’s experience and results with similar projects and demonstrated expertise.
B. The Consultant’s demonstrated understanding of the proposed scope and the approach to create a Strategic Communications Plan for the City.
C. The Consultant’s proposed budget amount for this one-time project.
D. Responses of the client references.
E. Interview
F. Such other information that may be required or secured.

The City will not discriminate against any interested firm or individual on the grounds of race, creed, color, sex, age, disability or national origin in the contract award. The City reserves the right to reject any and all proposals at its discretion, including not awarding the contract to any firm.

City of Bismarck Rights

The City of Bismarck reserves the right to reject any or all proposals, make counter proposals and/or engage in negotiations with any or all firms or individuals, waive any requirements or otherwise amend this RFP, or cancel the RFP in order to achieve the City’s goals and objectives for this project. Any changes in the status of the RFP will be brought to the attention of all parties that provide contact information for updates. The information contained in this RFP represent the City’s best information at the time of the release of the RFP and the City reserves the right to modify any term or condition contained herein.

No member of the Board of City Commissioners, member of the selection team for this RFP, and any other officer, employee or agent of the City of Bismarck who exercises any functions or responsibilities in the selection of a proposal, shall have any personal interest, direct or indirect, in the project.

The City of Bismarck recognizes that in responding to this RFP, the proposer may desire to provide proprietary information in order to clarify and enhance their response. To the extent permitted by law, the City of Bismarck will keep confidential such information provided that:
1. The information submitted is arguably proprietary, and
2. The proprietary information is submitted in a separate file or section that is clearly identified as containing proprietary information, according to the submittal instructions of this RFP. Only information that is credibly propriety may be included. Inclusion of non-propriety significant information in the sealed portions may render a submittal ineligible. Responders should note that the City of Bismarck is a municipality, and as such its files are available for public review pursuant to the North Dakota Constitution Article XI, Section 6 and NDCC Chapter 44-04-18.

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