Denver PR Blog


UCD School of Medicine: Don’t Bother Responding to Our RFP
November 19, 2009, 10:30 pm
Filed under: Johnston Wells, PRSA, RFP

You would probably think there are dozens of public relations firms in Denver capable of “building external and internal awareness of the [University of Colorado Denver School of Medicine's] Palliative Care Program and undertaking a successful fundraising campaign to raise philanthropic contributions for its educational and research program.” But not everyone sees it that way, and that has PRSA Colorado President Gina Seamans seeing red.

In a post today on JohnstonWells’ blog, Seamans takes the UCD School of Medicine to task for trying to sneak through a sham RFP Notice of Proposed Sole Source (NPSS) when the school has already decided to give the business to the only firm they think it qualified to handle the assignment. And while Seamans is too polite to name that firm, I’m not. It’s Davis Branding & Marketing.

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10 Comments so far
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I smell a PR fist fight.

Wooooooo!

Comment by Ef Rodriguez

Isn’t this approach better than when one candidate has the inside track but the organization issuing the RFP makes everyone else go through the brain damage of responding?

Comment by Eric Anderson

The better way is to be honest. When we called the procurement agent at the School of Medicine he said the Palliative Care Center had done a search of public relations firms and that after that research found only one firm capable of doing this work. I need both hands to count the number of firms who can do this work.

Comment by Gwinavere Johnston

It’s a little weird to comment on my own blog, but I’ve got information to share from the procurement office. Forgive the length, but this is helpful.

The program budget is over $25K — but I’m not sure about the exact amount. This is why it was put on State Bids in the first place.

The requesting department (School of Medicine) can go through a process to determine a sole source — which happened in this case. But, Purchasing can still issue a “Notice of Intent to Sole Source” like the one issued on Nov. 18, which is a final check to see if there are other qualified sources.

If Purchasing receives no responses to the NISS, then the sole source can move forward with the contracting.

If Purchasing DOES receive qualified responses to the NISS, then Purchasing can deny the department’s request for a sole source and put the service out to bid — which I assume is a full RFP.

Here is the best part! Mr. Taylor provided me more details about how to adequately respond to the NISS.

“However, you, or any other good PR firm, should be able to address each of the points in a sentence or two and give examples of how you meet the requirements (if indeed qualified to do so). That is one of the reasons (among others) for the short timeline for responses.”

The deadline is Monday, Nov. 23 at 2 p.m. There is still time to respond if you think your firm or practice is qualified and if you want to see this go out for competitive bid.

Thank you Mr. Taylor for the additional information. Very helpful.

Comment by Gina Seamans

This is why it’s hard to trust the RFP process. If they wanted an RFQ they should have sent one. If they already knew who they wanted they could have made the budget one dollar under the amount that requires them to issue an RFP. There are lots of talented professionals in this town who never get a shot at a decent contract because the RFP process is not open and inclusive. Sad.

Comment by Jon Pushkin

Actually Gina, it’s not weird for you to comment on your own blog; it’s a conversation, you’re allowed to say something beyond your initial remarks. And this is a topic that certainly begs for conversation, so thanks for bringing it up!

Comment by Bill Menezes

We saw the rfp also. We were glad to see that they were at least admitting they had decided already who they wanted to work with. That’s usually more info than rfps usually divulge.

Interns must have done the agency search.

Comment by Jay Weise

Makes me wonder what specifically they felt Davis had that no other agency had? Kudos to them for positioning themselves as the only agency in town that has “it.”

Comment by Joe Hodas

Great conversation here! As you might already know, the CU procurement office did issue a Request for Documented Quotes, #CU-DT71126Q, (again, not an RFP) for this project on Nov. 25. The deadline for questions is Dec. 10. The deadline for responses is Dec. 21; the budget maxes at $45K, inclusive of fee and OOP. I’m glad that CU is now convinced there is more than just one firm that can potentially do this work.

Comment by Gina Seamans

JVA Consulting, LLC has great credentials and experience facilitating and developing fundraising/fund development plans and in grantwriting. We are interested in partnering with a PR firm that has expertise in the healthcare arena. If you are interested, please call me at 303-477-4896.

Comment by Jessica Craig




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