ACT-CA Communications Firm RFP


Public Health Advocates (PHAdvocates) in partnership with the UCLA Center for Healthier Children, Families, and Communities (UCLA), the California Department of Public Health and Community Partners is piloting All Children Thrive California (ACT-CA), a three-year, equity-focused, community-driven initiative that takes a city-focused approach, supporting families through community-based policies and strategies that build community resilience, reduce adversity and trauma, and advance the conditions that allow all children to thrive. The project is intended to provide cities with the tools, policies, and practices that will enable them to address child poverty and related adversities, promote flourishing families, and ensure all children succeed, achieve their full potential, and thrive. We envision that cities/counties/regions will 1) Begin by stating their commitment:  adopting resolutions and a handful of new policies and practices that demonstrate a starting focus on children;  2) Scale their investment: gradually increase efforts that demonstrate a major commitment toward children and families in their policies and practices; 3) Expand the framework:  adopt a culture in which policies and practices–new and existing–are developed, revisited and produced with residents to prioritize equity in the design, innovate and test new strategies and commit to sustaining what works. The purpose of this RFP is to solicit proposals from professionals qualified to support the ongoing communications needs for the project.

About this RFP

This RFP is searching for an entity to fulfill a communications contract through June 30, 2021. The selected partner must have a proven track record and adequate staff capacity to fulfill the scope of work. Proposals should include a budget and timeline.

Project Oversight

Implementation of the ACT-CA pilot is a joint project of Public Health Advocates, UCLA Center for Healthier Children, Families, and Communities (UCLA) in partnership with Community Partners, the California Department of Public Health, and with the guidance of advisors and consultants.  PHAdvocates is responsible for:

  • directing and defining the work outcomes
  • managing the work of the communications firm to ensure that key deliverables are received on time and on budget


The grant-funded portion of the ACT-CA initiative pilot has a two-and a half year timeline, ending by June 2021.

Important Dates

Online Application Submissions Begin

September 27, 2019

Please submit your application materials through the form at the bottom of this page

Deadline to Submit Applications

Thursday, October 24, 2019

Interviews for 3 Finalists

Thursday, October 31, 2019
1:00pm – 4:00pm

Notification of Award

November 1, 2019

Contract Start Date

November 12, 2019

Please see RFP Questions & Answers section below.

Scope of Work

Public Health Advocates is seeking proposals from qualified communications firms to provide brand development services, strategic message development, editing, copywriting, graphic design, video production, and strategic planning for traditional, digital and social media outreach. Audience: Throughout the duration of the pilot, ACT-CA will need to communicate effectively with a number of different audiences. As noted above, these audiences will include, at one phase or another, the full range of project stakeholders, including:

  • A range of city, county, and state level officials, and staff.
  • Potential partners, including key implementing institutions or individuals (i.e. community based organizations, policy and/or advocacy organizations, and other cross-sector partners).
  • Influential figures, including state political leaders and policy makers, whose support will be crucial to the project’s progress.
  • ACT-CA staff and partners, including those implementing, designing and evaluating the pilot, who will wish to understand the progress, learn along the way, and track potential impact of the effort.
  • The general public may also prove to be a key audience for this project.

It is therefore important to identify (map) the key target audiences to articulate clearly the project’s communications objectives with regard to each audience (what information does the team wish to convey, or what action does it wish to motivate); and to develop key messages and products (for each project phase) that are specifically calculated to appeal and respond to the needs of each of those audiences.   We are looking to form a highly-collaborative partnership who can assist us with the following:


  • Partner with Wondros human-centered design firm to conduct formative research to determine priority focus areas and messaging.
  • Create communications plan and initial assets.
  • Conduct focus groups with representation from urban/rural areas to test assets.
  • Finalize assets and develop a plan to deploy assets
  • Identify and define key target audiences
  • Monitor and track the effectiveness of the messaging; monitor and track the impact of communications campaign activities on how participating cities, counties, and communities talk about child wellbeing and trauma and community resilience


  • Develop a campaign theme to drive program activities and achieve the campaign’s objectives
  • Develop a logo, slogan/tagline
  • Creation and refinement of key messages and associated collateral (talking points, fact sheets, FAQs, slide sets) to describe the initiative, especially for city officials and community organizations; the collateral should also support education and knowledge of potential journal/media outlets that may be part of the strategic messaging strategy
  • Develop messages/creative concepts in a manner that creatively, culturally and linguistically reach the diverse group of California’s population
  • Conduct, at the contractor’s expense, market research, which may include focus groups representative of ACT-CA target populations, to develop and refine messaging
  • Test messages with a diverse array of the key audiences and stakeholders (including a cross- section of the public that is meaningfully representative of California’s diverse population)
  • Translations – Spanish and other languages as needed for all outreach materials
  • Draft news releases, advisories and backgrounders to promote the efforts of ACT-CA participating cities, counties and communities
  • Develop a social media strategy – e.g. hashtags, social media toolkit
  • Create a series of videos to relay key, relevant information on:
    • What is trauma?
    • What can we do about it? What is the vision?


  • Develop content for a landing page or website
  • Infographics
  • Images/Graphics – diverse images for multiple audiences/settings
  • PowerPoint templates
    • How to present data in an interesting way (picture)
    • Short and long version
  • Design of Campaign Toolkit describing model programs, policies, strategies, best practices for promoting equity / ensuring community participation in program design, and supporting community leadership in implementation.
  • Develop outreach campaign support materials to promote ACT – CA not only for the primary partners, but also the participating cities,counties and communities in order to promote and highlight their efforts and achievements.

Additional Notes:

PHAdvocates, UCLA and CDPH will be active participants in the process, and may decide to invite other potential partners who can contribute in this as well. We will expect that the communications consultant will make recommendations based on best practices, research and consultant input for final approval by PHAdvocates.


Preference will be given to firms operating within the state of California. The ideal communications consultant team will have the following expertise:

  • Ability to ensure all communications, content, and materials reflect PHAdvocates’ values and commitment to diversity, equity, and inclusion
  • Experience in rolling out multiphase initiatives or campaigns where the communication and messaging is updated to be strategically responsive to the stage and phase of the project and what key stakeholders have already learned
  • Experience in developing and testing messaging and material for culturally diverse audiences
  • Knowledge of website and print design and can provide examples of work

Relevant experience that would be helpful to an idea communications firm, but is not required:

  • Experience working with nonprofits
  • Experience working with city, county, and/or state level government level entities and staff to promote or support their efforts

How to Respond

We are looking for proposals that demonstrate capacity to complete the full scope of work for this project as stated in this RFP. If you do not have in-house capacity to complete the full scope, you are invited to propose a structured team of subcontractors that will operate under your leadership. Given the timeline for completion of the major project deliverable, we want to know that you have secured or are working to get the resources needed to get to work asap. Please organize all responses to the RFP in the manner and format described below. Please limit the narrative portion of your response to 4 pages. Any relevant supplemental information should be included as attachments in an appendix.  These should include, at a minimum, a list of references, sample products from previous work, CVs of expected staff, and a narrative budget justification. Submit all application materials in a pdf file by Thursday, October 24, 2019.

Please Submit Your Application Materials with the Form Below

Thank you for your interest in the ACT-CA Communications Firm RFP. Unfortunately the deadline to apply has passed.

Required Information for Application

In order for your proposal to be considered, please include the following: 

Professional Qualifications

  • Who will be leading and doing the work. Tell us:
    • Who you are.  (State the full name and address of your organization and, if applicable, the branch office or other subsidiary element that will perform, or assist in performing, the work. Indicate whether it operates as an individual, partnership, or corporation. Provide your business name, website, point of contact,  names, titles, length of service, location, and bios of key in-house team members).
    • What you do.  (Areas of expertise, in-house capabilities, examples of projects similar in scope to this RFP, and anything else you’d like us to know about your work)
    • Who you will be working with to supplement in-house capabilities.  (Indicate team structure, role and level of commitment for each subconsultant team member)
    • Include the name of executive and professional personnel by skill and qualification that will be employed in the work. Indicate which of these individuals you consider key to the successful completion of the projects. Identify only individuals who will do work under this RFP by name and title. State history of the firm, in terms of length of existence, types of services provided. Identify the technical details that make the firm uniquely qualified for this work.

Past Communications Experience

  • Provide examples of past similar work proposed in this RFP. Include documentation, or evidence of impact.

Proposed Work Plan

  • How you plan to approach this project, including:
    • Timeline
    • Methods
    • Process for deliverables


  • The budget for the scope of work should not exceed $200,000. Include costs for project coordination, research, design, materials, travel and estimates for subconsultants.

Questions & Answers

Is it your preference that the timeline of the pilot ends at June 2021, or if we can offer to effectively finalize the work by December 2020 (a timeline of 1 year), would that be of interest?

The pilot is 2.5 years and we are almost a year in. We would like to have communications support for the full 18 months, but most of the work will be front loaded.

Has PHAdvocates and its partners identified the cities it plans to target for this initiative, and if so, can you share that list? If not, how do you expect communications contractors to contribute to site identification and recruitment?

It is envisioned that at least 60 California cities will be participating, however we have not yet identified the cities we will work in yet.  We do not expect the communications contractors to participate in site identification or recruitment, but welcome input if the selected contractor has relevant connections, knowledge or expertise.

Has PHAdvocates and its partners identified the policies and practices it will encourage cities to adopt, and if so, can you share that list?

We are finalizing the policy review now, so we do not have a final list yet.

In the RFP, PHAdvocates and its partners describe the initiative as “city-focused.” Can you clarify if the initiative is limited to incorporated cities, or if you mean “community focused.” We are asking because many vital systems that promote flourishing families may not correspond exactly with municipal boundaries. School districts and counties may be the best examples.

The initiative is community centered, but city specific. This means that our goal is to have community members and organizations lead the initiative and work in concert with city officials to execute the goals. Many vital systems are not under a city’s purview, but this initiative is focused on targeting the ones that are. Similar to our HEAL (Healthy Eating and Active Living) Cities initiative, we are attempting to help cities see themselves as having a vital role in the public health infrastructure that supports child well-being.   We are also hoping to move away from our tendency to focus on the direct service/clinical work of schools and counties to think about broad systemic opportunities that support culture change and can help address root causes of trauma.

Which cities, counties and/or regions of the state are included in the pilot?

ACT-CA plans to engage 60 California cities during the duration of the pilot. City and community recruitment will begin until January and continue through July 2020.

Under “RESEARCH” – will the communications firm be responsible for conducting the focus groups or just for assisting Wondros in conducting them?

We do not expect the communications contractors to participate in site identification or recruitment, but welcome input if the selected contractor has relevant connections, knowledge or expertise.

What languages other than Spanish do you anticipate for outreach?

At minimum, English and Spanish will be used in outreach. It is likely that the additional languages may include Chinese, Tagalog, or Vietnamese, but the need will depend on the languages spoken in each selected city.

Who is the audience for the videos?

ACT-CA will need to communicate effectively with different audiences. Please see page 2 of the RFP to see a list of anticipated audiences.

Does PHAdvocates anticipate videos on topics other than trauma?

All videos may not specifically address trauma; they will also cover topics related to healthy development and wellbeing.

How much travel is anticipated for the communications firm?

Modest travel (averaging 1-2 days per month) is anticipated for a member of the communications firm.

Are the finalist interviews in-person, and if so, where will they take place?

Finalist interviews will be via a video conferencing call.

Has PHAdvocates set aside a separate budget to pay for printing of outreach campaign support materials as discussed in the Design and Layout section?

Contractors may allocate up to 20% of their total proposed budget for printing costs. A modest additional fund is available for printing and materials if needed.

Will printing and other direct costs be supported in a separate budget?

Contractors may allocate up to 20% of their total proposed budget for printing costs. A modest additional fund is available for printing and materials if needed.

How would you prefer for us to address the narrative? Would you prefer a detailed layout of our methods and how we would approach the scope or are you looking for concrete, fully fleshed ideas?

We would like a detailed layout of your methods and approach with some examples of how you have used this approach in previous work. Sharing both will help us understand the process that you plan to engage in with us and how it connects with concrete products you’ve previously developed. However, if you already have concrete, fleshed out ideas to share, please highlight them in your narrative.

Understanding that the discovery phase may impact the final deliverables, for the purposes of our proposal,
how many languages and how many items/number of words should we account for?

At minimum English and Spanish will be used in outreach. It is likely that the additional languages may include Chinese, Tagalog, or Vietnamese, but the need will depend on the languages spoken in each selected city. 

Understanding that the discovery phase may impact the final deliverables, for the purposes of our proposal, how many videos should we account for? What would the average run time be?

No more than 1-2 videos with an average run time of less than one minute.

Understanding that the discovery phase may impact the final deliverables, for the purposes of our proposal, how many Powerpoint templates are needed? How many page templates will be needed in total across all templates?

One PowerPoint template (design) is needed, with at least 7 or 8 page templates to select to display content in different configurations.

DOCUMENTATION: Are there existing guidelines for Communications Consultants to be following currently?

No, we don’t currently have a communication consultant.

DOCUMENTATION: What should we include in the required budget justification?

A summary of your expenses on personnel, materials, and travel.

What will the decision making process look like for this?

We will notify the top 3 finalists by Friday, October 25th. Interviews are scheduled for Thursday, October 31st between 1pm and 4pm via video conference. Please be sure to hold this time in the event that you are selected.

All further questions regarding this RFP may be submitted via e-mail to Everly Inong at

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