The City of Bethel is seeking proposals from qualified public relations firms (“PR firm”) to improve the effectiveness of the organization’s communications with the public. The City is prepared to pay a professional firm to develop press releases, social media posts, public service announcements, and other appropriate media vehicles for public distribution. The firm should be adept at responding to crisis situations and managing public relations accordingly.


Bethel, Alaska is located 400 miles west of Anchorage alongside the Kuskokwim River in southwestern Alaska. Bethel is surrounded by 56 Native Alaskan villages, located six to one hundred miles away. Bethel is the largest western hub community in Alaska, containing 6,179 people who live in 2,000+ households spread over 44 square miles. Bethel is off the road system, not part of the Alaska road network that connects to Washington State. Several flights a day bring people, supplies, and equipment to Bethel from Anchorage. Large cargo is brought in by barge from May to October while the Kuskokwim River is unfrozen. The City of Bethel is a second-class city with the City Manager as the leader of the municipality. The seven-member city council elects the mayor from among their ranks. The mayor chairs city council meetings, makes occasional public appearances, and works like other council members to raise issues of concern to the public in council meetings and make decisions in the public’s best interest. The Bethel City Council directed City Administration to hire a company to provide the City with public relations services. Council’s goal is “to improve the effectiveness of the organization’s communications with the public…” Council envisions the production of press releases, official statements, policy explanations, social media development, crisis communication management, and the fielding of inquiries from media outlets constituting the majority of services provided. The community of Bethel has four radio channels (2 FM and 2AM) used for broadcasts by three radio stations. Bethel has one weekly newspaper. There are no local TV or cable channels. The nearest television broadcast is from Anchorage.

Scope of Work

The City of Bethel seek proposals from qualified individuals or companies to provide public relations services on a regular basis throughout the year. The City expects to work hand-in-hand with one or more leaders in the PR firm to develop a schedule of press releases, blogs, media posts, and other communication mechanisms and to be able to select from a menu of services as the need arises and circumstances evolve throughout the year. The PR firm should act to gather information from local sources and add state and national facts, statistics, and other details, as appropriate, that enhance, enlighten, and make the resulting media output more meaningful. The City may ask the PR firm to provide other PR-related services for a price not listed in the proposal.

The City seeks a PR firm to accomplish all of the following goals:

• Improve its image with the public in the performance of its core functions: police and fire services, delivery of water and sewer services, road maintenance, port operations, and planning.

• Inform and educate the public on ordinances, mandates, State directives, and policies, especially regarding the COVID-19 pandemic, and other vital topics of interest.

• Promote public action, cooperation, and participation in various events, projects, and operation of local government.

The PR firm does not have to come to Bethel, Alaska in order to fulfill this contract, but firms more familiar with Bethel and rural Alaska are preferred. The City plans to issue a three-year contract for public relations services with the provision that either party may opt out of the contract by giving 30 days’ notice. The City insists the cost of services in the first year of the contract will not exceed $30,000. Planned expenditures in Year 2 and Year 3 will likely be about the same amount, but will depend on the results of Year 1 and subject to direction of by City Council. The City Manager will be the point of contact and approver of public relations work under this contract. He will be available Monday through Friday from 8 am to 5 pm. His office is located in City Hall. His preferred means of communication are: emails and cell phone calls.

Bid Opening (Due) Date and Time: January 31, 2022, 4:00 pm AK Time

Bid Opening Place: City Hall

300 State Highway

Bethel, Alaska 99559


Read the Request for Proposals document. Direct technical questions about the item being purchased or questions about the RFP to the Purchasing Agent by email only, at ( At the Purchasing Agent’s discretion, addendums to this RFP may be issued based on questions and comments received by email.

Agencies to consider include Ketchum PR and KCSA PR.

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