San Francisco Request for Proposals for Marketing and Advertising Services

Proposals Due: 5 p.m. on Friday, October 6, 2023


A.            Introduction

1.            General

This Request for Proposals (hereinafter “RFP” or “Solicitation”) is being issued by the San Francisco Department of Elections (hereinafter, “SF Elections” or “City”). The mission of SF Elections is to conduct free, fair, and functional elections and to provide equitable access to voting and election-related services. SF Elections serves approximately 500,000 locally registered voters.

For each election, SF Elections develops a Voter Outreach and Education Program to 1) provide equal access to safe, barrier-free registration and voting options to every eligible San Franciscan, 2) engage hard-to-reach and vulnerable communities, and 3) encourage voter participation.  Year-round, SF Elections educates City residents about election-related topics through topic-focused campaigns. For example, in early 2023, SF Elections launched its “Go Green!” campaign with the goal of increasing awareness of the option to access the local Voter Information Pamphlet (“VIP”) online, thereby reducing the costs and environmental impact of postal VIP delivery. (By law, SF Elections must mail a VIP to each locally registered voter unless that voter has specifically requested to access the VIP online instead.)

SF Elections is seeking qualified suppliers (“Proposers”) to provide proposals (“Proposal”) for marketing and outreach services to support any future similar outreach campaigns as described in Appendix A “Scope of Work” found within Attachment 1.  

The selected Proposer would also assist SF Elections staff to facilitate consistent and supplemental voter outreach and education strategies in the next six elections cycles. SF Elections will order goods and/or services covered by the awarded contract(s) through the issuance of individual Purchase Orders during the contract term.

When applicable and practical, the City encourages Proposers to engage contracting teams that reflect the diversity of the City and include participation of businesses and residents from the City’s most disadvantaged communities including, but not limited to the Bayview/Hunters Point, Chinatown, Mission, South of Market, Tenderloin, Visitacion Valley and Western Addition neighborhoods.

Scope of Services

A.            Description of Services

The Scope of Services is to be used as a general guide and is not intended to be a complete list of all work necessary to complete contract services.

SF Elections is seeking services of an experienced marketing company to provide advertising /voter outreach services to supplement SF Elections’ voter outreach and education efforts over the course of the next five years.

These supplemental services will include the development and implementation of 1) a series of voter outreach campaigns (one for each election scheduled in 2024-2028) and 2) as-needed outreach campaigns conducted during non-election cycle. All outreach campaigns will broadcast both general elections-related information to the local voting public (such as how to register to vote) and elections-specific information (such as which local offices are elected by the ranked-choice voting (RCV) method and how RCV works). All outreach campaigns will need to integrate multiple media and formats in both plain English and in Chinese, Filipino and Spanish. All outreach campaigns must utilize a broad range of marketing strategies, including but not limited to hard copy (paper), website, social media, radio, and television advertising. 

The selected contractor will work with SF Elections staff in developing the specific strategies associated with each campaign, and upon approval by SF Elections, the contractor will be responsible for producing and executing the final product. The precise scope and the estimated funding and completion date for each campaign will be specified by SF Elections.

The preparation and implementation of outreach campaigns may include conducting research, developing messaging and creative; planning, purchasing, and executing traditional, non-traditional, and online media; tracking campaign progress; providing recommendations; and evaluating impacts and reporting findings.

Typical budgets for SF Elections campaigns range from $50,000 to $300,000. Desired skills and experience, and typical project responsibilities include, but are not limited to, the following (generally listed in order of project progress):

  • Collaboration and Research
    • Assess current outreach strategies for SF Elections, identifying strengths and opportunities.
    • Determine effective messaging, methods, and tactics for communicating with SF Elections customers to achieve specific goals.
    • Identify macro and micro target customer audiences (e.g., voters with disabilities, first-time voters, etc.) and shape strategy to communicate clearly and effectively with each group.
  • Marketing and Public Awareness/Advertising/Social and Digital Media
    • Develop, execute, and evaluate “out of the box”, creative marketing and advertising campaigns that leverage market research, community-based social marketing principles, and available customer insights.
    • Craft creative, compelling, effective messaging and collateral for a variety of communication channels and audiences.
    • Provide photography, video production, and graphic design services as required; and
    • Demonstrate superior media planning and negotiation skills to achieve maximum media impact from available resources/budget.
  • Evaluation and Analysis
    • Conduct pre-, post-, and ongoing campaign effectiveness evaluation and analysis to evaluate campaign’s impact and improve the performance of future outreach campaigns.
  • B.            Service Delivery Rules
  • In performing the Services provided for in this Agreement, the SF Elections will designate its staff to liaise with the Contractor.
  • Contractor must provide all written Deliverables, including any printed copies of posters and flyers, on recycled paper to the maximum extent possible and feasible.
  • Contractor will submit regular and verifiable reports to SF Elections in a format and on a schedule to be determined by SF Elections at their sole discretion.

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