State of North Carolina Department of Health and Human Services Issues Media Relations RFP

The North Carolina Council on Developmental Disabilities (NCCDD, the Council) is seeking an experienced, qualified PR agency to manage and/or update the Council’s media services and strategic marketing campaign(s).  French | West | Vaughan is a PR firm located in North Carolina and a natural for this assignment.  The best qualified Vendor must possess extensive experience in conducting communication research, conceptualizing, designing, implementing, and evaluating social marketing communication/media campaigns, specific to organizations working and collaborating with individuals with intellectual and other developmental disabilities (I/DD). The Vendor must demonstrate expertise in understanding principles and concepts of social marketing and promotion of full inclusion of individuals with I/DD. The Vendor must utilize person-first and/or person-centered language in its proposal, as well as provide links or examples demonstrating prior work utilizing person-first and/or person-centered language.

The awarded Vendor shall provide the Council with technical services including production of communication materials and media and provide strategic marketing and media consultation – all working to promote the work of the Council in systems change to remove barriers and create a positive impression about abilities and long-term independence for people with I/DD while bringing a stronger identity to the Council, better engaging its stakeholders through the internet and dramatically increasing awareness of disability issues throughout the State of North Carolina.

Background:

The Council’s mission is to ensure that people with I/DD and their families participate in the design of and have access to culturally competent services and supports, as well as other assistance and opportunities that promote inclusive communities. The first step in this process is creating awareness of these vital services and supports among the disability community. This is best achieved through ongoing outreach and community-building strategies through a comprehensive communications program aimed at the Council’s target audiences.

The Council’s current Five-Year State Plan (5YSP) initiated in 2017 and continues through 2021. The 5YSP outlines goals, objectives and specific activities that will be implemented to bring about change. The State Plan guides the Council regarding how staff and fiscal resources are allocated. The Council’s State Plan is developed in accordance with the Developmental Disabilities Assistance and Bill of Rights Act of 2000. The new Five-Year State Plan (2017-2021) was recently adopted by the 40-member Council and was approved by the Administration on Intellectual and Developmental Disabilities (AIDD). Implementation began on October 1, 2016.

Through the 2017-2021 5YSP, the Council aims to 1) Increase financial security through asset development for individuals with I/DD, 2) Increase community living for individuals with I/DD, and 3) Increase advocacy for individuals with I/DD. In order to achieve these goals, the Council identified specific objectives. Under ‘Financial Security’, the Council will 1) Ensure that individuals with I/DD have access to mechanisms for developing financial assets. The Council will increase opportunities for choice, self-determination, independence, and productivity through providing individuals with I/DD the knowledge and tools needed to implement financial plans; 2) Direct policy toward promotion of integrated, community-based employment with competitive wages for people with I/DD. The Council will strengthen collaboration across multiple partners including workforce development, vocational rehabilitation, employment supports, education, service providers, and private employers; and 3) Promote cross agency coordination to ensure effective transition planning for students with I/DD. The Council will implement practices that include quality planning and programming that prepare individuals for post-secondary education, integrated work, and community life. In a similar manner to the ‘Financial Security’ goal, the Council’s ‘Community Living’ and ‘Advocacy’ goals also include specific and accomplishable objectives.

The Council utilizes its Media Relations Program in a number of manners, including to support the Council in creating and developing its 5YSP and also to support the Council in accomplishing its 5YSP. There is significant outreach and information sharing required to solicit information from individuals throughout North Carolina so that the Council can create an effective 5YSP. On an ongoing basis, the need to update North Carolinians on the progress of the 5YSP continues. In recent times, the NCCDD updated its website, initiated a monthly newsletter (Highlights and Hot Topics), improved its ‘Action Alerts’ system, updated NCCDD initiatives on its website (Request For Application, Notice of Funding Award, Resources and Updates), increased the professionalism and media attention around its ‘Annual Awards Dinner’, continued with an online and print annual update and report, and in 2017 the Council’s Media Relations Program initiated an ‘EveryBODY Works NC’ campaign, collaborating with state partners (North Carolina Division of Vocational Rehabilitation and North Carolina Business Leadership Network) in planning press events in multiple cities throughout North Carolina – focusing on increasing awareness of the untapped pool of talent found in the disability community and creating more job opportunities for people with disabilities. It is expected that a new media campaign initiate during each Federal Fiscal Year (October 1 – September 30) which will improve and enhance the Council’s accomplishment of one of its current 5YSP goals.

Scope of Work:

OBJECTIVES

  1. a) Increase awareness and engagement: In an ongoing manner, gather information and discover relevant events to communicate to, and promote among, people with I/DD including self- advocates, family members, caregivers, professionals, and community leaders.
  2. b) Initiate engagement: Initiate community and political engagement through outbound communications, including digital, social media, and media relations.
  3. c) Enhance and leverage special events: Continue to elevate the professionalism, prestige, and impact of the Council’s awards and/or events, including the creation, as needed, and support of the Council’s 5YSP for new awards and/or events.
  4. d) Improve and enhance the website, as needed. This will include recommended enhancements  the Vendor suggests and the Council confirms.
  5. e) Provide graphic design and editorial support, as assigned and/or required.
  6. f) Initiate the Vendor’s involvement in the Council’s quarterly meeting(s). Once a quarter, the Council’s members meet in-person and weigh-in on and decide the Council’s direction for the  remainder of, at a minimum, the next quarter. A number of report-outs for Executive                Committee members and Base Committees (one for each of the Council’s 5YSP goals, in 2018) occurs, as well as updates to the Members on state and federal activities, important information  to know that concerns people with I/DD and their families and loved ones.

TASKS

  1. a) Increase awareness and engagement: In an ongoing manner, gather information and discover  relevant events to communicate to, and promote among, people with I/DD including self-advocates, family members, caregivers, professionals, and community leaders.
  2. Research Council initiatives, interview contractors and participants and disability partners to produce new content including relevant articles and posts for social media,  the website, blogs, newsletters and press releases.
  3. Collect information from NCCDD staff, initiative contractors, and the I/DD community  to facilitate the content, promotion and distribution of statewide news and events –  creating/updating a comprehensive community-based calendar, provide staff training and/or how-to guides on social media and calendar posting, as needed.

iii. Integrate the 5YSP into the Council’s messaging and communications strategies through proposing a year-long, fully integrated media relations and promotional  campaign focused on one of the three major objectives (integrated employment and higher educational and employment expectations, increasing community living    opportunities for individuals with I/DD, or promoting the success and engagement    found in self-advocacy).

  1. b) Initiate engagement: Initiate community and political engagement through outbound   communications including digital, social media, and media relations.
  2. Develop editorial themes/calendar in an effort to create engagement among target audiences, updated monthly.
  3. Write, edit, and distribute two or more e-mail blasts, event alerts, and calendar reminders each month (10th and 20th of month – ongoing).

iii. Create Social Media schedule monthly – write, post, and evaluate an average of 20 social media posts per month to Facebook and Twitter.

  1. Write, design, and produce 12 monthly issues of Highlights & Hot Topics, expanding                                  distribution to community, strategic partners, agencies, and more while using Council activities and member activities and initiatives to produce great content – distributing to                                 the entire ‘Constant Contact’ database each month, producing printed versions                                                         on demand (10 per issue).
  2. c) Enhance and leverage special events: Continue to elevate the professionalism, prestige, and impact of the Council’s awards and/or events, including the creation, as needed and support of    the Council’s 5YSP, for new awards and/or events.
  3. Elevate the professionalism, prestige, and impact of the Hefner/Riddle Awards.
  4. Develop a plan for one of two additional special events supporting the campaign  theme adopted through the Council (see a) iii.).
  5. d) Improve and enhance the website, as needed. This will include recommended enhancements  the Vendor suggests and the Council confirms.
  6. Update web content (banners, blogs, Highlights & Hot Topics, etc.) with up-to-date information.
  7. Highlight initiatives through expanding information and access to documents.

iii. Post 5YSP and amendments (if any) to the website and integrate into the website’s messaging and content.

  1. Promote the use of the ‘Calendar of Events’.
  2. Provide training to staff on making website/calendar updates, as needed.
  3. Identify and fix broken links, as needed.

vii. Translate banners and other important information into Spanish.

  1. e) Provide graphic design and editorial support, as assigned and/or necessary.
  2. Write, develop, and print an annual report focusing on Council activities and initiatives during the FFY (October 1 through September 30) and distribute activities/materials at the next Council meeting following October 1st.
  3. Provide print production services on requested items in English and also in Spanish,  when requested, within predetermined budget (including redesign and reprints of  previous material).
  4. f) Initiate the Vendor’s involvement in the Council’s quarterly meeting(s). Once a quarter, the Council’s members meet in-person and weigh-in on and decide the Council’s direction for the remainder of, at a minimum, the next quarter. A number of report-outs for Executive                Committee members and Base Committees (one for each of the Council’s 5YSP goals, in 2018)      occurs, as well as updates to the Members on state and federal activities, important information   to know that concerns people with I/DD and their families and loved ones.
  5. g) Provide social media training session(s) to Council members to promote their involvement so    they can promote the Council and activities through personal emails, like and share on    Facebook, Twitter, and re-tweet often, and become reporters – talking about what is happening      in the disability community.
  6. h) Provide staffing and feedback to the Council’s committee meetings (Ad Hoc, Executive           Committee, and Base) upon request, including strategic planning input on activities involving       media relations, communication efforts, or website integration.
  7. i) Complete quarterly reports in DD Suite (the Council’s Federal Reporting Software).
  8. j) Provide monthly fiscal reimbursement requests.

Due Date:

June 28

Address:

ken.dahlin@dhhs.nc.gov

 

 

 

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