Request for Proposals: EducationUSA Virtual Advising and Fairs Platform

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The Institute of International Education (IIE) is seeking a qualified multimedia services company to provide a customizable platform that can meet a variety of needs in promoting study in the United States to the prospective international student audience virtually. Companies interested in providing proposals must be available to meet with IIE and U.S. Department of State staff in the greater Washington, DC area and must be able to meet the timeline detailed below. Companies should have experience in developing similar products that promote international or educational programs and should provide a portfolio for review. Proven experience in developing the required platform and services expected of successful proposals. Deadline: August 30, 2013.

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Request for Proposals: EducationUSA Virtual Advising and Fairs Platform

  1. 1. 1 Institute of International Education Request for Proposals (RFP) EducationUSA: Virtual Advising & Fairs Platform The Institute of International Education (IIE) is seeking a qualified multimedia services company to provide a customizable platform that can meet a variety of needs in promoting study in the United States to the prospective international student audience virtually. Companies interested in providing proposals must be available to meet with IIE and U.S. Department of State staff in the greater Washington, DC area and must be able to meet the timeline detailed below. Companies should have experience in developing similar products that promote international or educational programs and should provide a portfolio for review. Proven experience in developing the required platform and services expected of successful proposals. Background Information: IIE administers Global EducationUSA Services under a cooperative agreement with the U.S. Department of State’s Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs (ECA) to enhance the quality and effectiveness of educational advising services around the world and increase outreach and marketing activities to promote study in the United States – specifically at the undergraduate and graduate level. EducationUSA is a global network of more than 400 advising centers supported by ECA, which actively promote U.S. higher education around the world by offering accurate, comprehensive, and current information about educational institutions in the United States and guidance to qualified individuals on how best to access those opportunities. Millions of prospective students learn about U.S. study opportunities through EducationUSA centers each year. Centers are staffed by professional advisers who adhere to ethical standards and have participated in State Department-approved training about U.S. higher education and the advising process. For more information, visit www.educationusa.state.gov. Request for Proposal: IIE makes no representations, warranties, or agreements with respect to this RFP. In addition, IIE makes no commitment to purchase any products or services or take any other action, including but not limited to, awarding a contract to the Supplier submitting the lowest cost proposal. Material contained within this RFP is to be considered confidential and proprietary information. IIE reserves the right to amend or cancel this RFP at any time for any or no reason. All amendments to this RFP shall be in writing. In responding to the RFP, Suppliers are asked to provide the best possible pricing scenarios under the assumption that IIE plans to enter a contractual agreement on all or a substantial portion of its requirements. Confidential Information:
  2. 2. 2 Supplier shall hold in confidence and, without the prior written approval of IIE, shall not disclose to any third party, except to employees and approved subcontractors having a need to know, any Proprietary information provided to Supplier by IIE or any of its subsidiaries or affiliates. Supplier shall not use Proprietary information for any purpose other than performing services under this agreement. The term "Proprietary Information" means (a) any information of IIE which is not openly communicated or accessible to third parties, whether or not marked or identified as confidential, related technical data and know-how, financial information, customers, pricing, terms of sale, products, processes, plans, personnel, research and development projects or other aspects of the business of IIE until such information shall have ceased to be proprietary as evidenced by general public availability and knowledge, (b) information of a third party as to which IIE has a non-disclosure obligation, and (c) information produced by Supplier in the course of performing the services. All tangible proprietary information in Supplier possession or control shall be promptly returned to IIE on request or upon termination of this RFP, whichever occurs first. Errors and Omissions: IIE shall not be responsible for or liable for any errors or omissions that may exist in this RFP. IIE retains the right to amend this RFP to correct any errors or omissions. U.S. Government Regulations: Funding for this project comes from a U.S. Government sponsored cooperative agreement. As such, the multimedia services company whose bid is approved will be required to comply with all applicable federal regulations. The federal regulations will be incorporated into the contract that is signed with the multimedia services company that submits the winning bid. This includes, but is not limited to, the Fly America Act and federal travel regulations, regulations regarding the prohibition of discrimination, and certifications regarding debarment, suspension, drug-free workplace requirements and lobbying. Withdrawal of Proposal: A proposal may be withdrawn or amended prior to the Proposal due date. To withdraw or amend a proposal, authorized representatives of Supplier must submit a written request to the RFP contact. After withdrawing a proposal, Supplier may submit another proposal at any time up to the proposal due date. Supplier shall not be permitted to alter its proposal after the proposal due date. Proposal Preparation: i. Proposal Costs - Any resources expended by Supplier in responding to this RFP, including any costs incurred in proposal preparation, presentation or site visits are the sole responsibility of the Supplier. ii. Intent to Respond - The Supplier is required to notify the RFP contact in writing, via email no later than August 23, of its intent to respond to this RFP. The Intent to
  3. 3. 3 respond must provide the name and title of the single point of contact within Supplier's organization that should be contacted in the event IIE has questions or other communications regarding this RFP or Supplier's Proposal. iii. Proposal Format - Supplier shall furnish all the information required by this RFP in the format set forth in the Proposal Section. Failure to do so may be grounds for disqualification of Supplier's Proposal. Platform Components: The platform must be able to accommodate the following objectives: 1. Virtual College Fairs (public): Between 20- 50 individuals logged in per room at any time, 30- 50 branded rooms for different institutions, Estimated 5,000 attendees in a day regional fair, 2-3 times/year. a. Engagement: Ability to engage with the Twitter and/or Facebook accounts while having a session. b. Analytics: Provide in depth on-demand analytics of users and conversations. c. Open: Ability to keep a multitude of rooms open (as many as 200 at once) simultaneously and indefinitely. d. Bandwidth: Ability to have both high and low bandwidth rooms to reach larger audiences. e. Power Points, Images, Video: Ability to present in conjunction with live video, YouTube Videos, Power Points, images, etc. f. Ease of use: Easy to use and learn; trainings must be provided as part of the scope of contract. g. Support: Have an online or phone support system in place for troubleshooting events. 2. Virtual Student Advising (public): 170 countries embedding chat rooms on either a website or Facebook page to have virtual advising hours. Use as chat rooms with Power Points preloaded, so advisers can access them during an advising session if needed. Estimated 20 - 30 students per room. Open year round. a. Engagement: Ability to engage with the Twitter and/or Facebook accounts while having a session. b. Analytics: Provide in depth on-demand analytics of users and conversations. c. Open: Ability to have a multitude of rooms open (as many as 200) simultaneously and for as long as we would like. d. Bandwidth: Ability to have both high and low bandwidth rooms to reach larger audiences. e. Power Points, Images, Video: Ability to present in conjunction with live video, YouTube videos, Power Points, images, etc. f. Ease of use: Easy to use and learn; trainings must be provided as part of the scope of contract. g. Support: Have an online or phone support system in place for troubleshooting events.
  4. 4. 4 h. Embed: Can be embedded as a static iFrame on Facebook pages, websites, etc. 3. Virtual Adviser Training (private): Run both by regional coordinators in regions 10x/month and maybe 1 every 3 months from Washington, for 20 - 40 advisers per webinar. a. Bandwidth: Ability to have both high and low bandwidth rooms to reach larger audiences b. Power Points, Images, Video: Ability to present in conjunction with live video, YouTube Videos, Power Points, images, etc. c. Ease of use: Easy to use and learn; trainings must be provided as part of the scope of contract. d. Support: Have an online or phone support system in place for troubleshooting events. e. User Access/ logins: (for EducationUSA staff globally) 20 administrative logins 4. Global/ Regional Webinars for students (public): Globally- 3x/month, estimated 40 - 100 viewers per webinar. Regionally, run by 14 regional coordinators and advisers on a weekly basis, average about 15x/month a. Engagement: Ability to engage with Twitter and/or Facebook accounts while having a session. b. Analytics: Provide in depth on-demand analytics of users and conversations. c. Open: Ability to keep a multitude of rooms open (as many as 200 at once) simultaneously and for as long as we would like. d. Bandwidth: The ability to have both high and low bandwidth rooms to reach larger audiences e. Power Points, Images, Video: Ability to present in conjunction with live video, YouTube Videos, Power Points, images, etc. f. Ease of use: Easy to use and learn; trainings must be provided as part of the scope of contract. g. Embed: Can be embedded as a static iFrame on Facebook pages, websites, etc. h. Support: Have an online or phone support system in place for troubleshooting events. i. User Access/ logins: (for EducationUSA staff globally) 20 admin logins Target Audience Assumptions:  Intended audience range is age 14-25.  Globally, students will have varying degrees of computer access and technical expertise.  The intended audience will have at least a basic level of English. Timeline: I. Agreement reached, contract agreed to by September 15, 2013 II. Invoice received for first year’s costs by September 30, 2013
  5. 5. 5 All costs related to this proposal from the chosen vendor must be invoiced by September 30, 2013. Proposals: Qualified multimedia services companies interested in this project must submit by August 30, 2013, a narrative and budget proposal with costs explained per deliverable and detailed timeline no longer than five pages single-spaced to Martin Bennett, EducationUSA Outreach Coordinator, at mbennett@iie.org, with copies to Kevin Barta, ECA Program Officer, at bartaka@state.gov. Portfolio products/demos should be submitted via email to both Martin Bennett and Kevin Barta if a product demo is accessible online. The address to mail portfolios, if necessary, is: Institute of International Education, Attn: EducationUSA Virtual Advising/Fairs RFP, 1400 K St. NW, 7th floor, Washington, D.C. 20005. - Type of contract: The service contract that will be extended to the selected vendor will be a fixed fee contract. - Budget format: A cost breakdown, as part of the total budget will be required of the successful proposal. Elements of this breakdown should include, but are not limited to: o A tiered usage schedule of fees (per # of hours/year) o system training o dedicated tech support o custom branded rooms o recording/archiving of room sessions o major event support o post-production analytics o other operational costs (if any, please specify details) o other predicted new costs (if any, please specify details) All communications concerning the RFP must be directed to the RFP contact listed below. Contact regarding the RFP with members of IIE, other than with or through the RFP contact, may result in disqualification of Supplier for this RFP. Any oral communications between IIE and Supplier shall be considered non-binding relative to this RFP or its selection of an agency partner by IIE. All communications concerning this RFP shall be addressed to the following: RFP Contact Martin Bennett, EducationUSA Outreach Coordinator, mbennett@iie.org a) Supplier questions regarding RFP questions or clarification must be submitted in writing via email. b) Questions directed to anyone other than the RFP contact will not be answered Criteria for Selection (in order of importance): 1. Delivery of services within a reasonable budget – 40%
  6. 6. 6 2. Proof of past client satisfaction, references. – 25% 3. Proof of past quality work, preferably internationally and/or the education sector, but not required. – 20% 4. Ability to work collaboratively and regularly with DC-based staff during the platform development. – 10% 5. Ability to meet agreed upon deadlines. – 5%

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