The Hotline Contract Opportunities

National Domestic Violence Hotline (The Hotline®) Request for Proposals (RFP)

Project: Public Relations Agency of Record

Project Period: February 1, 2023 – January 31, 2024 with the option to renew up to two additional years (three years total)

Process: Formal Competitive Request for Proposals (RFP)
Amount Available: Up to $468,000 to one successful bidder; contracts will be issued proportionately on an annual basis

Submissions due: Friday, December 30, 2022, 5:00pm CST

Send submissions electronically in a single PDF format to [email protected] subject line: [Entity Name] RFP for PR Agency 2023

Submit questions regarding this RFP to Lynn Brewer at [email protected]

Our Mission: We answer the call to support and shift power back to those affected by relationship abuse.

Our Vision: We envision a world where all relationships are positive, healthy, and free from violence.

Our Values
Integrity: We conduct every aspect of our work to the highest ethical standards and hold ourselves accountable to them. We value transparency and staunchly safeguard the confidentiality of those we serve.
Thought Leadership: We are committed to learning constantly, developing innovative practices, and evolving strategies as necessary to achieve our vision and mission.
Excellence: We value performance and results. We aspire to be the best and to embrace the challenge to exceed expectations.
Collaboration: We work as a team within the organization and with a wide range of partners outside of it, in the belief that only through these partnerships will we achieve the broadest impact.
Social Justice: We value diverse perspectives and strive to incorporate an anti-oppression lens in all aspects of our work.
Caring: We conduct our work with compassion and in the spirit of inclusion, and we meet all individuals with respect and without judgment.
Survivor-centered: Our work begins and ends with the interested of survivors of relationship abuse in mind.

Domestic Violence – An Overview

Domestic violence (DV) is an umbrella term that encompasses intimate partner violence (IPV), dating abuse and relationship abuse. It is, in fact, a public health crisis that affects the safety of families, businesses, and communities across the nation. DV/IPV affects millions of Americans and leads to serious negative life and health outcomes. Significant data exists to support the need for enhanced crisis intervention services for DV/IPV survivors:

• One in four women and one in seven men aged 18 and older in the U.S. will have been the victims of severe physical violence in their lifetime (1)
• Nearly half of all female homicide victims are killed by a current or former dating partner (2)
• One in three U.S. teens will experience dating abuse in this country over the course of
growing up (3)
• As many as 76% of U.S. teens report emotional and psychological abuse during relationships (4)
• Black, Indigenous and People of Color (BIPOC) and the LGBTQ+ communities face even higher risks. More than 40% of Black women will experience IPV in their lifetime (5)
• One in three Latinas will experience IPV in her lifetime and one in twelve has experienced IPV in the previous 12 months (6)

It takes a comprehensive multi-layered national, regional and local approach to fully support survivors— to further their survival, safety and recovery. This approach includes national 24/7 resources dedicated to serving those affected by DV/IPV, such as the National Domestic Violence Hotline and state, regional and local providers and emergency shelter systems.

Organization Background

The National Domestic Violence Hotline (The Hotline®) was established in 1996 and is headquartered in Austin, Texas (with satellite operations in Washington D.C., Denver, CO., and Las Vegas, NV.). The Hotline is the only national 24-hour domestic violence hotline providing compassionate support, connection to life-saving resources, and personalized safety planning via
phone, online chat, and text (contacts). To date, we have answered more than 6.4 million contacts. Services are provided in English and Spanish through bilingual advocates and in more than 200 other languages through translation services. The Hotline is a frontline resource for survivors and often the first source to validate that abuse is being experienced.

As the nation’s largest direct-service provider to those impacted by domestic violence, The Hotline is one of the leading collectors, of real-life survivor experiences, data, and trends. Our work rests on three pillars: crisis intervention, prevention and education, and advocacy through policy change.

Crisis Intervention

The Hotline is the only national service provider offering domestic violence crisis intervention services via call, online chat, and text message 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, 365 days a year. The core services of The Hotline are delivered through our highly trained advocate staff, who provide high-quality, trauma-informed education, validation, and connection to services that empower victims and survivors to make life-changing decisions with dignity and respect.
We recognize that victims and survivors need a wide range of assistance; therefore, we maintain a robust database of more than 5,000 carefully vetted providers and resources, including shelter and transitional housing, counseling, culturally and linguistically specific programs, and legal services.

Prevention and Education

Core to our vision is the prevention of domestic violence. In 2007, The Hotline established love is respect (formerly known as the teen dating abuse helpline), an initiative that engages, educates, and empowers young people (ages 13–26) to prevent and end abusive relationships. love is respect was established in response to a national discourse about the need for prevention services, especially among teens. Nearly 1.5 million high school students nationwide experience physical abuse from a dating partner each year (CDC, 2006). love is respect is a safe, inclusive space where young people can access information and get help in an environment designed specifically for them. love is respect mobilizes parents, educators, and peers to raise awareness of healthy dating behaviors and how to identify unhealthy and abusive patterns. Teachers, college advisors, and other groups working with young people use our program as a go-to resource to understand what a healthy relationship is, trends in teen dating abuse (such as the rise of digital abuse), and to learn how they can protect themselves or the teens they care for from relationship abuse.

Advocacy Through Data and Information

Backed by more than 25 years of data from over 6.4 million contacts answered, The Hotline has comprehensive and accurate real-time data on the realities, dangers, and effects of domestic violence in the U.S. From the prevalence and patterns of abuse in relationships to the support networks and local resources available, The Hotline is at the center of the effort to
end domestic violence.

The Hotline has a policy team in Washington D.C. who advocates for legislation, policies, and funding to expand support for survivors, including more resources to support The Hotline. While the landscape for survivors has changed in many ways since The Hotline began, there is much work to be done to close the gap between what survivors need to stay safe and what resources and support they actually have access to. The Hotline’s Policy Agenda intends to bridge this gap through policy advocacy and issue education campaigns by:

1) leveraging our extensive data of survivor experiences and needs from the lines.
2) amplifying research and policy solutions that center the needs of the most marginalized survivors, and
3) grounding our policy priorities in our values as a survivor-centered, anti-oppression organization.

We change lives by providing a path to safety, strength, and recovery. Since January 1, 2022, we have answered 370,698 contacts from people across the United States and its territories – people who felt they could finally seek the help they needed and let their voices be heard. Overall, our contact volume continues to increase, setting new records for our organization. Our contacts received to date this year now exceed the total received in all of 2021. Our annual impact reports provide valuable additional information and context.

Subject Matter Expertise

In addition to direct services and policy efforts, The Hotline is a thought partner and leader in working with corporations and agencies to evaluate their current domestic violence policies and forge thoughtful, comprehensive, equitable, and socially responsible plans for supporting survivors in a trauma-informed way. Domestic violence affects the safety of families, businesses, and communities across the nation. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention estimates that the annual cost of lost productivity due to domestic violence equals $727.8 million, with more than 7.9 million paid workdays lost each year. We typically activate our corporate partners by providing expertise to formulate policies and procedures, toolkits, trainings, and employee and customer resources current with best practices. We currently have partnerships with the National Football League, Bumble, Match.com, TJX, Macy’s, The Allstate Foundation, and several other large organizations.

The Impact of COVID-19

As the U.S. and the world continue to grapple with the significant threats to public health and economic security presented by COVID-19, we know any external factors that add stress, financial strain, and/or isolation can negatively affect survivors of domestic violence and further compromise their safety.
We hear regular reports from survivors that COVID-19 is increasing the dangers they face and limiting their sources of support. To date more than 33,000 people contacting The Hotline have cited COVID-19 as a circumstance of their abusive experience, either being used by their abusive partner to further abuse, isolate and control, and/or as a barrier to accessing support like shelter and legal recourse. During this time of greatly increased vulnerability for survivors, The Hotline’s services have never been more needed.

Website, Social Media, and Earned Media

Website and SEO

Our websites continue to be the main points of entry for most people seeking intervention services, prevention information, and/or to learn more about the issue of domestic violence. We view our websites as program platforms, and the combination of strong content and a quality user experience are critical for those who may choose not to reach out via phone, online chat, or text. Calendar year-to-date there have been more than six million visits to thehotline.org, loveisrespect.org, and their respective Spanish websites.

In February 2022, Google launched a crisis search engine optimization to quickly get critical, vetted information to users in need. When people in the U.S. search for information related to domestic violence, a box at the top of the search results displays contact information for The Hotline, with direct access to our website and chat services. Google launched/or will launch boxes for four crisis causes: domestic violence, sexual assault, suicide, and substance abuse. The Hotline was the second box to launch. Because this could drive significant volume, we provided Google with a unique link to www.thehotline.org and created unique tracking for chats initiated through the box. The launch of Google’s new crisis search essentially doubled our volume overnight.

Social Media

Our approach to social media is, first and foremost, to support survivors and their loved ones. We post resources from The Hotline and love is respect websites, partner resources, educational materials, timely articles related to domestic violence, trending and relevant topics and themes, and promotion of our direct services. Facebook, Instagram, LinkedIn, YouTube, and Twitter are the current social media platforms used by each brand respectively. Our social media following and engagement have been stagnant for the last few years. However, in our current strategic plan, we have the goal to create a comprehensive strategy for social media content in each brand voice (love is respect and The Hotline) that is relevant, timely, and inclusive, thereby increasing our social media following and engagement (based on an established baseline). This includes exploring what platforms are best moving forward, including a TikTok channel for love is respect.

Earned Media

We continue to experience an increase in media requests for issues related to domestic violence, intimate partner violence, and prevention, especially instances that involve highprofile figures in sports, politics, and entertainment. Often these stories cause people to log onto our website and/or contact us via call, online chat, or text. This last fiscal year, The Hotline received 21,174 media mentions, with 774 Tier One mentions, and love is respect received 1,105 media mentions, with 43 Tier One mentions.

Project Overview

The Hotline is seeking a public relations agency of record to partner with our internal Communications team to:

• Position The Hotline and its key executives as the nation’s leading experts on the issue of domestic/intimate partner violence and crisis intervention services.
• Position love is respect and its key executives as the nation’s leading experts on the prevention of dating abuse among youth.
• Maintain and grow The Hotline’s reputation as a thought leader on domestic violence and dating abuse.
• Utilize trends, breaking news, and events in popular culture to raise awareness and engage the public in meaningful conversations about domestic violence.
• Expand brand awareness and trust through strategic high-profile opportunities.
• Define and measure meaningful metrics for PR and Marketing success.
•Support meaningful storytelling that can shift the stigma and shame associated with DV/IPV and cause survivors and those who care for them to take action (reach out for services, donate, and/or contact their elected officials).
•Assist in building a crisis communications plan aligned with the organization’s trajectory/growth and the associated risks.

The objective of The Hotline’s public relations efforts is to raise awareness for domestic violence as a whole and to position The Hotline and love is respect as the ultimate resources for the media on issues of domestic violence, crisis intervention, and dating abuse and prevention. The Hotline’s key spokespeople are subject matter experts. The Hotline and love is respect’s value must be communicated clearly to media, and spokespeople must be readily available based on its public relations activities.

RFP Details

The public relations agency of record will perform the following tasks on behalf of and/or in partnership with The Hotline:

1) Strategic media relations and placement
a. Research, identify, and maintain a comprehensive and current national media list
b. Partner with The Hotline’s Communications team to build and maintain relationships with preferred national media outlets
c. Identify news trends and breaking news opportunities to position The Hotline and love is respect as the leading resource and subject matter experts on domestic violence and dating abuse
d. Write, distribute, and conduct follow-ups to press releases, media advisories, etc.
e. Media train spokespeople as requested and identified by The Hotline.
f. Prepare The Hotline spokespeople prior to high-profile interviews with relevant information and talking points.
g. Guidance around crises as necessary per The Hotline’s Crisis Communications plan.
h. Serve as strategic messaging counsel for key message development and as a strategic resource as necessary.

2) Agency / Client communications
a. Regular communication with The Hotline’s Communications team
b. Agreed upon meetings or calls between the agency and the appropriate Hotline leadership
c. Work with The Hotline’s Communications team to analyze trends, growth, coverage, and sentiment in traditional media for The Hotline and love is respect.

3) Reporting
a. Provide a monthly detailed activities report.
b. Report in real time any media coverage.
c. Provide a monthly expenditure and budget status report that provides an overview of money spent or obligated correlated to work completed in the prior 30-day period.
d. Contribute to and complete monthly activities reports detailing coverage obtained for The Hotline and love is respect in the prior 30-day period.

Budget

The public relations agency of record will bill against a monthly do-not-exceed amount of $13,000 with an agreed-upon rate table and time-tracking process. The monthly “do-notexceed” amount does not include travel and incidentals. The Hotline and the successful bidder will negotiate projects outside of the scope outlined here as needed.

Contract Term

The contract will commence on February 1, 2023, for 12 months with two 12-month renewal options, should both parties choose to exercise, with complete expiration on January 31, 2026. Contract renewals are also contingent on The Hotline receiving continued federal financial assistance. The Hotline is required to conduct a competitive RFP process every three years and will conduct a process similar to this one prior to or at the end of the successful bidder’s contract term.

Proposal Requirements

Candidates must have:
• Experience guiding strategic high-profile public relations work on behalf of large nonprofit organizations
• Deep working relationships with local, regional, and national print, online, and broadcast media outlets;
• Experience working with regional and/or national social justice nonprofit organizations;
• Demonstrate that the staff servicing our account have diverse lived experiences and demonstrated awareness of how ageism, racism, ableism and homophobia impact our society and those The Hotline and love is respect serves;
• Expertise in crisis communication for internal and external crises and threats thereof.

Preference given to agencies with the following:
• Previous experience/success with national nonprofits
• Previous work with domestic violence response and prevention clients
• Previous work with Spanish media

Submissions must include the following (please do not hyper link to required portions, must be in-line document):
• Cover letter

  • Indicate your interest in and qualifications to represent The Hotline and love is respect.

• Agency information

  • Provide the agency’s name, address, website, and phone number.
  • Include the name, title, and email address of the individual who will serve as your agency’s primary contact during the RFP process.

• Brief description and history of your agency client list (past 36 months)
• Bios and photos of key staff (100 words or less for each biography)
• Experience

  • Describe three-to-five projects similar in scope to the SOW described in this RFP that your agency has completed. Please include at least one in-depth study. If possible, highlight work for similar organizations.
  • Include at least three examples of press releases.
  • Key media coverage garnered in the past 12 months.

• Cost

  • Include a proposed rate table for the personnel who would work on the account.

• Describe the demonstrated pursuit of equity and diversity in your firm and in your approach to media and public relations.

  • Address how your agency approaches equity and diversity within your firm’s culture and operations.
  • Address how you ensure LGBTQ+ and communities of color and other critical perspectives are considered in your public relations activities.

Proposal Guidelines

It is not a postmark deadline. Submissions must arrive prior to the deadline. Late or incomplete submissions will not be accepted. No exceptions.

Email submission is preferred. All parts of an electronic submission must be submitted in PDF format (no word or Google docs permitted). Should your submission be printed and mailed, please include three copies. All questions regarding the RFP should be submitted to [email protected] by 5 p.m. CST December 6, 2022. Please, no phone calls.

Key Dates

RFP release – November 22, 2022

Deadline for questions via email – December 6, 2022

Response to questions by The Hotline – December 15, 2022

Proposals due – December 30, 2022

Interviews of up to five finalists – January 2023

Announcement of Successor – February 1, 2023

Contract execution – February 1, 2023

Contact for Questions and Submissions

Lynn Brewer
[email protected]
PO Box 90249
Austin, Texas 78709

To ensure equity, all questions will be answered via email by 5 p.m. CST December 15, 2022. No questions regarding this RFP will be answered separately from this process.

Revisions to the Request for Proposal (RFP)
In the event it becomes necessary to revise any part of this RFP, amendments will be posted to The Hotline website. Interested bidders should check the website for any amendments prior to submitting a proposal. The Hotline reserves the right to cancel or reissue the RFP in whole or in part, prior to the execution of a contract.

No Obligation to Contract
This RFP does not obligate The Hotline to contract for services specified herein. Submissions become the property of The Hotline and cannot be returned. The Hotline is not liable for any costs incurred by the bidder in developing the proposal.

Complaint Process
Vendors may submit a complaint to The Hotline based on any of the following:
• The RFP unnecessarily restricts competition;
• The RFP evaluation or scoring process is unfair; or
• The RFP requirements are inadequate or insufficient to prepare a response.

A complaint may be submitted to The Hotline at any time prior to five (5) days before the RFP due date. The complaint must meet the following requirements:
• The complaint must be in writing;
• The complaint must be sent to the Application Coordinator in a timely manner;
• The complaint should clearly articulate the basis for the complaint; and
• The complaint should include a proposed remedy.

The Hotline will respond to the complaint in writing. The Hotline’s action or inaction in response to the complaint will be final. There will be no appeal process.

Responsiveness

All proposals will be reviewed to determine whether the bidder meets the criteria to apply. Proposals that fail to comply will be considered non-responsive and withdrawn from consideration. The Hotline reserves the right at its sole discretion to waive bidder’s minor administrative irregularities.

Evaluation of Request for Proposals (RFPs)

The RFP is a competitive process. Submissions will be reviewed based on the requirements stated in this document and any revisions issued.

The Hotline will designate an evaluation team with expertise in the project area to review, evaluate, and score submissions. Submissions will be rated by the evaluation team based on the following:

• Demonstrated competence, experience, and expertise in public relations 30 points
• Demonstrated understanding of The Hotline’s mission and purpose 25 points
• Previous experience with a large-scale regional or national nonprofit organization(s) 25 points
• Overall quality of the submitted proposal including required elements and examples 25 points
• Demonstrated commitment to equity, inclusion and diversity 15 points
• Total points available: 120 points

Proposals must receive an average review score of at least 90 points to be considered for a contract award.

Contract Terms, Conditions, and Provisions

The following terms, condition, and provisions may be included in the successful bidder’s contract:

1) The entity receiving federal funds has no delinquent federal tax liability.
2) Federal funds will not be used to purchase equipment, services, or systems produced by Huawei Technologies Company, ZTE Corporation (or any subsidiary or affiliate of such entities).
3) Federal funds will not be used to purchase video surveillance or telecommunications equipment produced by Hytera Communications Corporation, Hangzhou Hikvision Digital Technology Company, or Dahua Technology Company (or any subsidiary or affiliate of such entities).
4) I certify compliance with environmental standards which may be prescribed pursuant to the following: (a) conformity of Federal actions to State (Clean Air) Implementation Plans under Section 176(c) of the Clean Air Act of 1955, as amended (42 U.S.C. §§7401 et seq.)
5) I certify compliance with the Federal Water Pollution Control Act as amended (33 U.S.C. 1251-1387) to restore and maintain the chemical, physical, and biological integrity of the Nation’s waters.
6) Contract language must address termination for cause and convenience by The Hotline.
7) Contract language must address administrative, contractual, or legal remedies in instances where the contractor violates or breaches contract terms; and provide for such sanctions and penalties by The Hotline.
8) Consultants and contractors may only subcontract work completed under this agreement if it obtains prior written approval by The Hotline. If The Hotline approves subcontracting, the consultant or contractor shall maintain written procedures related to subcontracting, as well as copies of all subcontracts and records related to subcontracts. For cause, The Hotline in writing may: (a) require the consultant or contractor to amend its subcontracting procedures as they related to this agreement; (b) prohibit the consultant or contractor from subcontracting with a particular person or entity; or (c) require the consultant or contractor to rescind or amend a subcontract. Every subcontract shall bind the subcontractor to follow all applicable terms of this agreement. The consultant or contractor is responsible to The Hotline if the subcontractor fails to comply. The consultant or contractor shall appropriately monitor the activities of the
subcontractor to assure fiscal conditions of this agreement. In no event shall the existence of a subcontract operate to release or reduce the liability of the consultant or contractor to The Hotline for any breach in the performance of the consultant or contractor’s duties. Every subcontract shall include a term that The Hotline is not liable for claims or damages arising from a subcontractor’s performance of the subcontract.
9) A contract award must not be made to parties listed on the government wide exclusions in the System for Award Management (SAM), “Debarment and Suspension.” SAM Exclusions contains the names of the parties debarred, suspended, or otherwise excluded by agencies, as well as parties declared ineligible under statutory or regulatory authority other than Executive Order 12549.
10)Any funds other than Federal appropriated funds been paid or will be paid to any person for influencing or attempting to influence an officer or employee of any agency, a Member of Congress, an officer or employee of Congress, or an employee of a Member of Congress in connection with any Federal contract, grant, loan, or cooperative agreement must be disclosed.