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Communications Request for Proposals (RFP)

Submission Deadline: Extended to April 4, 2024 | 11:59 PM ET 

Scope

About Carbon A List

Carbon A List is a climate action instigator specialized in navigating the burgeoning opportunities for climate action, especially, but not limited to, the land sector. Our mission is to help clients and partners unlock climate action in a way that creates equity, transparency, and continuous improvement. Carbon A List offers strategic consulting, methodology development and design, and project development services to a wide range of climate-centric organizations.  

About the Grant

We are leveraging our expertise and positioning to deliver on a $70 million U.S. Department of Agriculture Partnership for Climate Smart Commodities grant (“the Grant”). Serving as a collaboration between industry partners, the Grant is designed to develop end-to-end supply chain partnerships with the goal of both producing climate smart commodities and marketing them via brands and retailers to consumers. In coordination with its Project Partners and Service Providers, Carbon A List aims to enroll more than 350 participating farms in its climate-smart commodity incentive programs.  

About the Request

Carbon A List seeks strategic Communications Services to develop and implement an approach for enhancing engagement with our agricultural, government, and corporate partners. Our project focuses on creating and marketing climate-smart commodities, requiring effective communication across all levels of supply chain, from producers to consumers.    

 

This Request for Proposals (RFP) invites Service Providers with expertise in strategic planning, media relations, stakeholder engagement, and asset development. We aim to partner with a provider adept at crafting long-term communications strategies, building robust media relationships, driving stakeholder collaboration, and amplifying our program impact beyond our 5-year grant period. 

  

The ideal Service Provider will exhibit a strong ability to map out comprehensive communications strategies, facilitate media training, enhance stakeholder engagement, and leverage analytical insights for continuous improvement. Additionally, we value creativity in developing visual and digital communications to effectively convey our mission and impact. We seek a partner dedicated to working alongside our team to foster programmatic growth, enhance our engagement efforts, and build trust within the climate-smart commodity markets. 

Scope of Work

Communications Strategy & Governance

  • Create a forward-looking communications strategy that aligns with our long-term goals. 

  • Establish a clear team structure to manage our partnerships effectively. 

  • Define what success looks like with us and program partners, setting clear targets and advising on best practices for continuous improvement. 

  • Map out a multi-year plan for communications to support the growth of our program. 

  • Implement a system for overseeing our communications efforts. 

Media Relations & Training: 

  • Leverage and grow your existing network to forge valuable connections with the media to boost our visibility.

  • Prepare our team and stakeholders for media interactions with specialized training. 

  • Engage with media and other outlets to spread our message far and wide. 

  • Provide training to Carbon A List and key stakeholders to enhance program-wide communications. 

Stakeholder Engagement & Collaboration

  • Lead development of a Partner-wide communications strategy, ensuring consistency across all Grant communications. 

  • Facilitate regular meetings with Grant Partners' Communications Committee.

  • Develop a detailed plan to keep stakeholders informed and engaged with our mission. 

  • Regularly review our engagement strategies to ensure they remain aligned with our objectives. 

  • Engage to support the program Advisory Committee.

Asset Development: 

  • Partner on content development to ensure strategic alignment and advise on best practices. 

  • Co-create a communications toolkit for consistent and effective communication.

  • Produce compelling visual content for strategic communication initiatives across social media, presentations, and web 

Proposal Requirements

Expected Deliverables

  • Communications strategy and timeline for implementing recommendations

  • Media relations strategy and training plan

  • Stakeholder engagement framework

  • Communications toolkit for Carbon A List and Partner use

  • A summary of discussions and action items from recurring Communications Strategy calls with Carbon A List

 

The specific timeline for the delivery of services will be determined in collaboration with Carbon A List.  

Evaluation Criteria

Qualification, Capacity, and Resources (30%)

  • Qualifications: The Service Provider must have a minimum of 15 years of comprehensive experience in communications and media. 

  • Experience: Specific knowledge of the agricultural sector, with at least 7-10 years of experience in developing and implementing comprehensive communications strategies. 

  • Resource Adequacy: Availability of adequate resources, including media contacts, other potential service providers, and advanced tools to deliver the required services efficiently and effectively.  

 

Approach and Methodology (30%)

  • Risk Mitigation: Robust strategies for identifying, managing, and mitigating mitigating risks specific to the Grant (e.g. consumer, regulatory, public relations, farmer engagement and sentiment). 

  • Responsiveness and Support: A commitment to providing timely and effective responses to tactical questions and operational support needs. 

  • Innovation Partnership: A commitment to actively contribute to exploring innovative approaches and guiding Carbon A List through new endeavors with confidence.  

 

Proposal Feasibility and Budget Alignment (25%)  

  • Implementation Feasibility: A realistic, well-defined plan ensuring that the proposed services can be effectively implemented within the set timelines and organizational constraints of Carbon A List. 

  • Cost-Effectiveness: A competitive cost structure that delivers value without compromising service quality. 

  • Budget Compliance: A detailed and transparent budget proposal that aligns with Carbon A List's financial needs.  

 

References and Past Performance (15%) 

  • Client Testimonials/Case Studies: Evidence of successful delivery of similar services, as demonstrated through client testimonials, case studies, or references. 

 

Commitment to Sustainability, Equity and Climate Goals (Extra Points)

  • Alignment with Carbon A List's mission and climate objectives. 

  • Sustainable practices within the firm or proposed approach. 

  • Registered Disadvantaged Business Enterprise.

Budget

The total anticipated budget for this work is expected to remain under $220,000, and will not exceed $249,999 for the duration of the contract, which will not go beyond the period of performance end date of June 12, 2028. Providers are encouraged to demonstrate cost-efficiency and value in their financial proposals without compromising the quality and comprehensiveness of the services offered. 

  

Furthermore, we invite proposers to consider offering tiers of service within their proposed budget. This approach should delineate a range of service options, allowing Carbon A List to select the level of service that best aligns with our current needs and financial constraints. 

  

Proposals should clearly outline the scope of services provided at each proposed tier, including a detailed breakdown of costs associated with each level of service. This tiered offering will enable us to make an informed decision that balances our financial limitations with our requirements for effective and efficient accounting services. 

Submission Guidelines

Proposal Submission Deadline Date: April 4, 2024 

Time: 11:59 PM ET 

Proposals received after the stated deadline will not be considered. 

 

Submission Format 

Proposals must be submitted in PDF format, Arial or Times New Roman, 12-point font. The proposal should not exceed 10 pages in length, including graphics, figures, and/or tables.   

Proposals must cover the following information: 

  1. Executive Summary: Provide a concise overview of your firm’s proposal, highlighting your understanding of our needs and your solution's value proposition. 

  2. Approach to Scope of Work:  

    • Detail your experience in strategic communications, particularly in addressing stakeholder engagement, media relations, and measuring success. 

    • Describe your experience in providing communications services specific to Carbon A List’s needs. How have you tailored your services to meet the unique needs of remote teams and/or the agricultural sector? 

    • Outline any unique qualifications, certifications, or experiences that set you apart in providing communications services.

  3. Risk Management Strategy: Describe your strategy for identifying and mitigating risks related to this grant. 

  4. Communication Plan: Outline your plan for maintaining regular, effective communication with Carbon A List and other stakeholders, including frequency of updates, reports, and meetings. 

  5. Key Personnel: Identify key personnel who will support this contract, including their roles, qualifications, and relevant experience.  

  6. Cost Breakdown: Offer a detailed cost breakdown by scope area (Communications Strategy & Governance, Media Relations & Training, Stakeholder Engagement & Collaboration, and Asset Development) and anticipated staff support, including hourly rates or fixed costs associated with each segment of the work.  

  7. Experience with Similar Projects: Provide examples of previous projects with similar dynamics (e.g., small business, agriculture) and needs (e.g., Grant-funded, farmer focus). 

  8. References: Include references from previous clients for whom you've performed similar communications services, particularly those involving federal grants or contracts. 

Review Process

Carbon A List is committed to a transparent, equitable procurement process designed for integrity and compliance. Our aim is to select the most suitable service provider through a structured and impartial evaluation.

Scoring Round: We employ a standardized scoring rubric and an evaluation panel to ensure unbiased proposal assessments. Panel reviewers disclose any potential conflicts of interest to prevent bias. Proposals must meet a defined minimum score to advance, ensuring only the top candidates proceed to the interview stage.

Interview Round: Carbon A List will interview selected proposers using scenario-based questions directly linked to project needs. Responses will be evaluated per the RFP evaluation criteria, guaranteeing relevance and fairness. 

Terms and Conditions 

Contract duration 

The contract will be negotiated by Carbon A List and the selected proposer and will not extend beyond June 12, 2028.

 

Payment terms 

Payment is made depending on the contractor’s compliance with payment standard operating procedures and processes. 

Federal Procurement Standards Compliance 

Generally, Contractor shall comply with   

  • all laws applicable to Contractor in its performance and delivery of services; and  

  • all policies and procedures related to this Grant published by Carbon A List from time to time and delivered to Contractor.  

Conflict of Interest 

Please outline your organization's policy on conflicts of interest and attest there are no material conflicts of interest impacting delivery of services.

 

Regulatory Changes  

In the event of a change in regulations that have a direct impact on the Contractor’s ability to provide the Services or Deliverables in a timely manner, the Parties agree to meet and confer on adjustments to processes and procedures or modifications this agreement.  

 

During the meet and confer period, Parties agree to use reasonable efforts to comply with current and new regulations, policies, and procedures using interim guidance, in writing, from Carbon A List on how to proceed. 

Non-Disparagement  

Recipients may not engage in any advertising deemed by USDA as disparaging to another agricultural commodity or competing product, or in violation of the prohibition against false and misleading advertising. Disparagement is defined as anything that depicts other commodities in a negative or unpleasant light via overt or subjective video, photography, or statements. Comparative advertising is allowable, provided the presentation of facts is truthful, objective, not misleading, and supported by a reasonable basis. 

 

Additional Information 

Note this opportunity is open to U.S. businesses. Please state that your business is located in and licensed to operate within the United States. This opportunity is only open to businesses that do not have pending or current lawsuits that would impact ability to deliver services. 

Budget

Questions?

To ensure fairness and transparency during the open Request for Proposals (RFP) process, Carbon A List observes a "quiet period," which begins when the RFP is issued and ends upon the contract award announcement.

To support proposers in their submission process, we have established an FAQ site for this RFP and we encourage you to submit any questions you might have via the FAQ Form. We strive to answer all submissions promptly and thoroughly, and may elect to combine similar questions and responses; however, Carbon A List will not respond to inquiries or engage in one-on-one conversations about specific proposals.  

Our goal is to conduct a fair, transparent, and efficient selection process, and we thank you for your understanding and cooperation. We appreciate your interest in collaborating with Carbon A List and your adherence to these guidelines during the RFP process.

Ready to Submit?

Please take a moment to ensure all sections of the RFP have been reviewed:

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