NECEC Seeks Event Management Services; Responses to questions included

REQUEST FOR PROPOSALS

Events Management Services: January-April 2022

Released: January 3, 2022

Deadline: January 17, 2022

Background

NECEC is the “voice of the clean energy industry” for the Northeast, encompassing the six New England states and New York. NECEC’s mission is to create a world-class clean energy hub delivering global impact with economic, energy, and environmental solutions. NECEC helps clean energy companies start, scale, and succeed at all stages with our unique business, innovation, and policy leadership. NECEC is comprised of two complementary nonprofit organizations with distinct functions: The Northeast Clean Energy Council develops and advocates for progressive clean energy policies and its affiliated NECEC Institute takes on associated research initiatives, innovation acceleration, policy planning, strategic communications, and other clean energy cluster development activities.

Events are integral to NECEC’s efforts to support the clean energy ecosystem in the Northeast. They are a key mechanism through which best practices and the latest information in the industry is shared. They are also essential to networking and community building. NECEC is seeking an events management consultant to provide comprehensive events management services during the first four months of the year. There is a potential the contract will be extended past April if it is mutually agreeable to both NECEC and the selected consultant.  

The consultant will report to the Vice President for Learning and Organizational Effectiveness, but will work closely with all NECEC in the planning and execution of events. The existing events management consultant will be available to support the transition of the selected consultant as well.

Scope of Work

The consultant will provide comprehensive events management services for up to eight events from January-April, 2022. The COVID pandemic has greatly disrupted the ability of NECEC to hold meetings in person. While we are planning for some of our events to be in person in 2022 with rigorous COVID protocols, it may be determined that it is in the best interest of the health and safety of our participants that the events will be held remotely or postponed.

In addition to the specific tasks outlined below, the selected consultant will lead weekly event planning calls with NECEC staff, including meeting agenda preparation and tracking of project tasks.

For each event, the selected consultant will:

  • Develop and maintain event marketing calendar for event
  • Provide strategic advice to NECEC related to event strategy, content, format and event messaging
  • Develop event plan and timeline in partnership with NECEC staff event lead. Event plan and timeline should be shared in a format that can be easily accessed by NECEC staff.
  • Develop run of show and ensure NECEC staff and partners are briefed on technical components/roles of the virtual event
  • Develop registration process, accept registrations, and help attendees troubleshoot any issues registering for the event
  • Coordinate with sponsors/staff/vendors to ensure logistics are in place  
  • Prepare speaker/staff for event; develop logistical information/run of show for speakers and attendees, including hosting a prep call before the event
  • Ensure event materials are developed and distributed (program/handouts, name badges, logistics guides, slides, etc.) for day of event
  • Provide day-of support/administration of events
  • Develop and send pre-event communication to attendees
  • Coordinate with NECEC staff for effective marketing and attendee recruitment and communication with attendees
  • Create and implement post event survey and share results with NECEC staff
  • Debrief with NECEC staff following the event

In addition to the activities described above, for in-person events, the selected consultant will:

  • Provide day-of support/administration of events, including on-site staffing and management of NECEC staff and volunteer roles for event
  • Advise on and execute in-person logistics in partnership with venues, and NECEC staff

Virtual Events:

NECEC is planning the following virtual events:

  • Maine Clean Energy Day (January 26-27)
    • 10-12 virtual meetings with legislators and NECEC stakeholders to advance NECEC policy priorities
  • Connecticut Clean Energy Day (February TBD)
    • 10-12 virtual meetings with legislators and NECEC stakeholders
  • Emerging Trend Series Event (March TBD)
    • Virtual panel with discussion
  • Navigate Partner Summit (April TBD)
    • Convening of innovation partners for annual meeting to share best practices and build relationships
  • Strategic Partner Network Summit (April TBD)
    • Convene stakeholders from across the clean energy ecosystem on a topic prioritized by members to help move towards specific outcome(s)

In-Person Events

  • Member Mixer (late February/early March)
    • Provide opportunities for members to network, potentially learn about a specific topic if a speaker is planned
  • Green Tie Gala (March 23)
    • Formal gala which serves as a major fundraising event for NECEC. Award for Clean Energy Company of the Year will be announced
  • Rhode Island Clean Energy Day (April TBD)
    • 1-2 days of meetings with legislators and stakeholders to advance NECEC policy priorities

Qualifications

The desired qualifications for the selected consultant include:

  • Substantial experience managing successful virtual and in-person events
  • Experience managing COVID protocols for in-person events
  • Strong attention to detail and communication skills
  • Ability to travel within the Northeast region for Clean Energy Day events
  • Experience working with trade associations and/or within the clean energy/cleantech industry a plus

Fee Structure

The consultant should provide hourly rates for all staff who will be working under this contract if awarded. NECEC expects that all staff working on contracts with them will be paid a living wage, which is considered to be a minimum of $15.46 an hour.

Submission Instructions

To respond to this RFP, please provide:  

  • Narrative response to the proposal that includes a description of the approach to fulfilling the scope of work and relevant qualifications and experience of the respondent, including all staff who will be working under the contract if awarded. Please provide the percentages of time you estimate each staff person will dedicate to this scope of work.
  • At least three references, including contact information and description of the work performed for each reference including the dates of performance.
  • Budget

Submissions should be sent to Kristen Stelljes, VP for Learning & Organizational Effectiveness, at kstelljes@necec.org.

Responses will be scored based on:

  • Approach to project (30%)
  • Experience and qualifications of firm and/or proposed staff (30%)
  • Value of proposed work (30%)
  • References (10%)

Proposal Q & A

Clarifying questions on the scope of work and requirements of this  

Request for Proposals may be submitted by January 7, 2022, to kstelljes@necec.org. All  questions and answers will be posted on NECEC’s website: www.necec.org/news-and-events.

Please allow up to three business days for responses to be posted.

  1. How did you hear about our firm? The RFP was shared with all of the firms on a list of Boston area event management companies, professional associations for event management companies, and via NECEC's networks.

  2. Have you worked with a planner in the past? Yes, NECEC has worked with a planner. The firm we were working with is closing, so we are currently looking to transition to a new partner on our events.

  3. How do you define a successful partnership? Are there any hot buttons / concerns we should be aware of that we can hopefully alleviate for you? A successful partnership will be one with consistent transparent and clear communication with well defined roles and responsibilities and clear means for accountability on both sides. The events will run seamlessly. We are hoping the event management firm will be able to work flexibly with us as we navigate how to responsibly hold events during the current pandemic.

  4. How many people are on your event team? Will it be the same team we work with on each event? The staff point of contact will change depending on the content of the event. We are a small organization and do not have in-house dedicated event staff. Weekly events meetings are attended by the president, three vice presidents, and the membership manager.

  5. Who are your attendees generally? Our attendees are typically our member organizations and others within the clean energy/cleantech fields.

  6. How many guests typically attend each event? This varies from 20-30 for Clean Energy Days to 350 for the Gala. See below for a table with more specific details.

  7. How many other planners are bidding? Are you required to accept the lowest bid? We have cast a wide net in sharing the RFP and do not know how many firms will submit bids. We are not required to accept the lowest bid, but cost will factor into our decision making.

  8. What is the budget? Additional information is needed to be able to prepare a budget/we do not bill by the hour. Please include as detailed cost information as possible within your proposal based on the information available. We do not have a firm budget for each event. We will consider other fee structures such as flat fees or retainers, but have a preference for an hourly rate.

  9. We noticed in the RFP, it talks about attendee messaging and developing an event marketing calendar. Are you able to clarify a bit what is expected of the selected vendor? We are hoping that the selected vendor will be able to provide draft invitations and other language about the event we can use to get the word out about our events via our newsletter, social media, direct emails, etc.

  10. Regarding the virtual events – do you typically host all on Zoom? If not, do you have a license for a different platform? Or is platform selection something the selected planner also works on? Will Hopin be used? We have a Zoom account and many of our meetings are via Zoom. However, we are open to recommendations for other options from the vendor. We have used Hopin in the past but do not have an active account and have not budgeted to continue to use it.

  11. Regarding all in person events that are coming up in the spring – do you have venues already selected and confirmed? The location is confirmed for the Gala but we do not currently have locations booked for the other events.

  12. For the gala specifically, has the save the date been sent to potential attendees? Have you already started fundraising, selling tables, etc.? Yes- our members are aware of the event and sponsors are in place. Table sales will be opening in mid-January through our existing event management consultant.

  13. For the event on January 26th, is this included in the selected planner’s scope? Since our proposal is not due until January 17th , we were assuming a decision would not have been made by the 26th. We will make a decision quickly; however, it is not likely we'll have a contract in place by the 26th. Also, based on a change in schedule in Maine, we will need to change the date and it will likely be in early February.

  14. Develop and accept registrations is a noted request. Does the NECEC have a registration platform that is currently being used or would you like the firm to source and manage this? Additionally, does the NECEC accept the payments or will the firm do this on behalf of the NECEC? NECEC currently uses Eventbrite for its events, which can be used going forward. NECEC accepts payments from participants.

  15. Ensure event materials are developed and distributed (program/handouts, name badges, logistics guides, slides, etc.) for day of event. Please confirm if this is the development of (content, design etc.) by the firm or if this is done by the NECEC and managed by the firm. These will be done by the firm with input and review from NECEC. Development includes production of the materials, such as printing and preparing name badges.

  16. Develop and send pre-event communication to attendees. Please confirm the number of emails and/or print communications being developed and sent by the firm. Also please note if the content and design is created by the firm. The content will be developed by the firm with input and review by NECEC. Typically at least one communication is sent to attendees before the event. With additional COVID protocols in place, we anticipate more will need to be sent before the Gala and other in-person events.  

  17. The RFP submission requests a budget. We are assuming this is just the budget for our fees and not a per event budget. Please confirm. This is correct- the budget is for the fees for the firm only.

  18. Does the NECEC require payments be made on an hourly basis? Our firm traditionally creates a per event scope price or annual fee to include all items in a scope of work. Is this something NECEC would be interested in or do you prefer to pay hourly per event? We prefer an hourly rate. If this is not possible, please provide your fee structure in the budget and we will consider the options. We will negotiate the final details of the budget as part of establishing the contract with the selected vendor.

  19. Additionally, for in-person events do any events include overnight hotel stays? No.

  20. Would you break up events across multiple vendors? No- we are looking for one vendor for all events.

  21. Will the events be held at the same venues? Where will they be? For the in-person events, the Member Mixer location is TBD, but is expected to be in the Boston area. The Gala will be at the Westin in Copley Square, Boston. The Rhode Island Clean Energy Day would be at the State House in Providence.

  22. How much legwork has already been accomplished?  What plans are already in place as this proposal is due back on Jan 17th and the first event is less than 10 days later.  Example: What speakers / sponsors (and physical venues) have been secured? Much of the details for the Maine Clean Energy event will be finalized. We also have much of the details for the Gala in place, including sponsors, though final plans for rapid antigen testing need to be finalized. Table sales will open before the consultancy will begin. The other events are in the initial stages of planning.

  23. Develop and maintain event marketing calendar for event. Can we assume you will be doing all the marketing, graphics, email blasts, etc.? We can send out the materials but are hoping the events management firm will be able to take on the content creation with the input of the NECEC staff.

  24. Please clarify what you mean by 10 - 12 virtual meetings - is this one meeting with breakouts or 10 - 12 individual events? The Clean Energy Days are lobbying days at the State Houses for each state. These would be 10-12 separate meetings with different legislators. For the virtual events, these would be separate Zoom meetings facilitated by NECEC staff. For in-person events, there would be 10-12 separate meetings at the state house.

  25. What is the long term potential for continuing to collaborate? How will that decision be made? Joe Curtatone began as the NECEC President on January 4. We are currently in the process of developing a communications strategy, including events. As part of this process we will be determining if we will continue to outsource our events management or if we will hire for full time staff. This will in part be determined by the success of our working relationship with the selected vendor.

  26. Would you consider awarding the contract to a firm or team of people? We will consider responses from individual consultants, firms, or a team of people.

  27. Is there any in-house or external tech support contracted for virtual events? We do not have any in-house or contracted tech support and hope that the events management firm will handle this aspect of the events.

  28. What working committees will we be supporting? NECEC is not organized through working committees. To learn more about our organization, please visit our website.

  29. How many pre-event meetings would we be required to attend? The selected vendor will lead weekly events meetings. Additional pre-meetings may be necessary to prepare speakers to work the technology for virtual meetings.

  30. What level of involvement will we have with branding, communications and social media development? NECEC will post content but are looking to the selected vendor to provide the content.

  31. What are your approval processes and controls for financial management? Contracts are signed by the President and invoices will be reviewed and approved by the Vice President for Learning and Organizational Effectiveness and the outsourced Chief Financial Officer.

  32. Is it the consultants job to determine which legislators that NECEC will meet with for the CT and RI Clean Energy Days? No- NECEC will staff will select the legislators.

  33. Are speakers/panelists sourced directly by NECEC or is that the job of the consultant? NECEC will source the speakers and panelists.

  34. For each event are you able to provide the estimated number of:

  • Sponsors

  • Attendees

  • Speakers

  • Days (if not listed in the RFP)

 

Event

# Sponsors

# Attendees

# Speakers

# Days

Connecticut Clean Energy Day (February TBD)

1

20-30

3-5

1

Emerging Trend Series Event (March TBD)

1

150

4-5

0.25

Navigate Partner Summit (April TBD)

1

40

6-10

0.5

Strategic Partner Network Summit (April TBD)

1

70

10-12

1

Member Mixer (late February/early March)

1

50

0

.25

Green Tie Gala (March 23)

25-30

350

2-3

.25 (evening)

Rhode Island Clean Energy Day (April TBD)

0

20-30

3-5

1

 

Legal Requirement

This RFP does not commit NECEC to select any proponent, pay any costs incurred in preparing  a submission, or procure or contract for services or supplies. NECEC reserves the right to  accept or reject any or all proposals and/or submissions received, waive minor irregularities in  submittal of RFP response, modify the anticipated timeline, request modification of the RFP,  negotiate with any respondents, cancel or modify the RFP in part or in its entirety, or change the  application guidelines, when it is in its best interest of the NECEC program.  

Terms and Conditions

Upon NECEC’s authorization to proceed with the event planning services as quoted by the respondent,  NECEC will execute a contract which will set forth the respective roles and responsibilities of the  parties in the execution of the required consulting services.

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