Timberlane’s Request for Proposal for a Public Relations specialist is a quick read: RFP Public Relations Services
Some things might instantly strike you after reading this document:
1) It calls for someone with “a minimum of three (3) references in which similar contracts have been provided to school or educational organizations.” Really? Just how many school districts have a PR person anyway? Not many I would wager. There are plenty of PR people who have worked on a contract basis with many organizations but not necessarily made a living off schools or universities. Why exclude this valuable knowledge base? I smell the perfume of a pre-selected candidate.
2) The scope of work is open ended. How would a contractor without an inside edge have any confidence bidding on these nebulous and seemingly infinite responsibilities? Cashmere Mist wafts to my nostrils.
3) “Public Relation Services” has metastasized to include “Information Management Services” with an aim to, among other things, “assist with administrative and teacher efforts to communicate with parents.” We currently have some pretty expensive communication software in the schools to communicate with parents and students. We even have a robocall service. Timberlane has a robust website and each school has its own website. The district sends out newsletters at significant mailing expense a few times a year. Every month the Superintendent posts his own message on the landing page of Timberlane.net and broadcasts it on the district’s TV channel. Nothing short of the Goodyear blimp hovering over the district raining Hershey Kisses will be enough. Forgive me for even mentioning the blimp. “Development of new communication vehicles” is one of the contracted responsibilities.
The last eight years have been very tough for journalists and print media in general. After losing newspaper and magazine jobs, many former journalists have turned to PR so there should be no lack of suitors to the Timberlane district in response to an RFP.
It is shameful the district is going ahead with this initiative at all. I sincerely hope they do not compound their image problem with an RFP that fails to produce many tens of candidates. The number of applicants will be itself the judge of the quality of the RFP.