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Request for Proposals: Event Planner for 2021 Virtual Behavior, Energy and Climate Change Conference

Closing Date:

Overview

The American Council for an Energy-Efficient Economy (“ACEEE”) is seeking a qualified and experienced event planner (“Event Planner”) to manage the execution of the 2021 Behavior, Energy & Climate Change virtual conference (“BECC 2021”), to be held online November 8-10, 2021 (dates not final). The Event Planner’s services include but are not limited to:

  • Overseeing the planning process (e.g., monitoring deadlines and timelines, ensuring responsibilities are met)
  • Handling virtual conference logistics
  • Promoting and marketing the conference
  • Serving as a point of contact for and supporting conference sponsors

For more detailed information, see SCOPE OF WORK of this Request for Proposal (“RFP”) below.

The Virtual Conference

The Behavior, Energy & Climate Change Conference (BECC) is the premier conference focused on understanding human behavior and decision making and using that knowledge to accelerate the transition to a low-carbon future. Since 2007, BECC has fostered understanding of individual and organizational behavior and decision making related to energy usage, greenhouse gas emissions, climate change, and sustainability.

BECC 2021 will be the second BECC conference to be run completely virtually. Once again, it will build on the overwhelming success of previous BECC conferences, at which 500+ participants discussed innovative policy and program strategies, shared important research findings, and engaged in building dynamic new networks and collaborations.

BECC is more than just a virtual conference – it is a fun social community that is passionate and excited about mitigating climate change. The conference prides itself on innovative ways to encourage socializing and networking while providing the highest quality presentations and content.

Organizational Information

The BECC Conference is convened by the American Council for an Energy-Efficient Economy (ACEEE), California Institute for Energy and Environment (CIEE) within the Center for Information Technology Research in the Interest of Society at U.C. Berkeley, and the Environmental and Energy Policy Analysis Center (SEEPAC) at Stanford University. ACEEE handles all administrative and financial functions for the conference (including contracts, accounting) but each co-convening organization provides staff support to the BECC organizing committee. Together, the committee makes high-level decisions on planning and content at bi-weekly meetings. Members of the committee also take on most of the specific organization and planning tasks required for the conference.

2021 Event Description

BECC 2021 will be a virtual event taking place November 8-10, 2021 (dates not final). In 2020, the virtual conference had over 500 registrants, including over 70 speakers, with the most popular plenaries having over 300 attendees. The conference consisted of a mix of plenaries, concurrent presentations, panel sessions, interactive workshop-style sessions, social events, yoga, and virtual (on-demand) posters viewable on the conference website. The full agenda is available on the conference website.

Participants attend the conference by logging into the conference web app (in 2020, this was Socio), and selecting the stream they would like to join (in 2020, Zoom was the streaming platform). All presentations are “live” and not pre-recorded, and many include small breakout sessions for networking. The conference is set up to mainly take place during working hours on both the East and West coasts of North America (11am-5pm EST/8am-2pm PST). Up to three concurrent sessions can take place simultaneously at any given time during the conference, but plenaries and social sessions are independent. Attendees are encouraged to connect and chat with each other through the web app and during the sessions themselves using built-in chat functions.

Before the conference, the BECC organizing committee runs monthly webinars to highlight behavior research and promote the conference. After the conference, talks are made available online for six months.

Scope of Work

The Event Planner will operate under committee supervision (by the BECC organizing committee) and will be required to work under the direction of the committee to plan and execute the conference, providing suggestions for changes or improvements when possible.

Many tasks, such as program content planning, social event planning, website management, and conference registration will be handled by specific organizing committee members. The Event Planner will work with committee members to ensure they meet their obligations, will provide logistical/technical planning, and will promote/market the conference.

The selected Event Planner will be organized, reliable, detailed-oriented, flexible, an effective verbal and written communicator, calm under pressure, comfortable with technology, and a strong team player.

A. Oversee Planning and Execution of Event

  • Attend BECC organizing committee planning meetings (usually 2x/month)
  • Coordinate work of the BECC organizing committee, website manager, social media manager, registration manager, program committee, accounting team, writing editor, social committee, and external groups (e.g., Socio, Zoom and others)
  • Serve as a primary point of contact for sponsors, speakers, attendees, students and tech operators

B. Virtual Conference Logistics Before and During Event

  • Set up virtual conference
  • Enter all agenda information into conference web app (Socio or other)
  • Work with Socio (or other) to create Zoom meetings/webinars and any other virtual content in conference web app (e.g., virtual poster sessions or social activities)
  • Set up tech support
  • Work with tech experts to create contingency plans for tech failures, hacks, etc.
  • Train tech operators recruited by BECC organizing committee
  • Provide tech assistance to attendees before and during conference (referring them to appropriate tech experts, if needed)
  • Ensure conference runs smoothly
  • Work with speakers and presenters
  • Provide guidelines and assistance for preparing virtual posters (update instructions from last year)
  • Provide training sessions for speakers and moderators (as needed)
  • Run practice sessions with all moderators, social committee leads, workshop/solutions/skills session leads, and plenary speakers (or arrange for tech operators to run some practice sessions)

C. Conference Promotion and Marketing

  • Write 1-2 marketing emails per month to promote the conference (e.g., to promote call for abstracts, new content, webinars). This includes crafting written content and designing emails using Pardot or a similar email marketing system.
  • Propose additional promotional strategies such as special pricing for partners.

D. Serve as Liaison for and Support Conference Sponsors

  • Act as single point of contact for conference sponsors (e.g., providing instructions on how to obtain their sponsorship benefits, invoices)
  • Work with BECC organizing committee to determine sponsorship levels and benefits (and to create marketing document summarizing these benefits)
  • Suggest new innovative sponsorship opportunities when possible

Skills and Competencies

The Event Planner will have the following skills and competencies:

A. Management and Teamwork

  • Ability to work with a team and ensure work is coordinated and completed on time
  • Ability to multi-task and juggle multiple diverse responsibilities at the same time

B. Technical Knowledge of Virtual Conferencing Tools or Streaming Platforms

  • Comfort with streaming platforms such as Zoom, as well as other apps and tools
  • Ability to quickly learn new potential virtual conferencing tools and explain them to others

C. Interpersonal Skills

  • Ability to work well with committees and adapt to shared decision making process
  • Clear communicator
  • Can work effectively with a variety of parties (e.g., sponsors, attendees, organizing committee members)

D. Writing and/or Advertising/Marketing Skills

  • Can write clearly and persuasively using non-technical language
  • Understands diverse target audiences and presents creative solutions for reaching them and communicating with them
  • Shows initiative in developing and implementing innovative marketing solutions

Experience

The Event Planner will have relevant experience, such as:

  • Previously set up or run virtual events (e.g., Zoom webinars, Zoom meetings, or virtual conferences), or has experience attending/participating in virtual events and has run in-person events.
  • Managed others or worked in a team setting
  • Conducted marketing or promotional campaigns for events
  • Familiar with conference sponsorship processes and needs

RFP Format and Guidelines

A. Format 

Proposals will be evaluated as they are received, but no later than 11:59 p.m. ET on March 15, 2021 via email to job_openings@aceee.org and include “BECC 2021 Event Planner” in the subject line. ACEEE may select a proposal before this deadline.

B. Guidelines

In addition to a CV and cover letter, the proposal shall include the following:

  • List of Previous Events. The names, dates, and sizes of up to five most relevant previous events that the Event Planner worked on or participated in, noting which role the Event Planner played, as well as whether the event was virtual or in-person.
  • Sample marketing email. A sample email designed to encourage attendees to come to or register for an event.
  • Experience with specific technologies. A description of technologies and online tools that the Event Planner has used before, and the level of comfort with them (e.g., streaming, online forms/surveys, or conference management).
  • Fees. Provide (1) proposed project based fixed fee, including description of all costs and fees the Event Planner proposes to charge ACEEE, and (2) hourly rate of the Event Planner.

Proposal Evaluation

ACEEE reserves the right to accept or reject any and all proposals, without prior discussions, and grant final acceptance to the proposal that best meets the needs and interests of ACEEE, in its sole discretion. The BECC organizing committee will be the sole judge of whether a proposal meets the required RFP criteria.

 Confidentiality Clause

Any information disclosed by ACEEE herein (and any related correspondence and/or attachments) is considered confidential and constitutes the proprietary information of ACEEE. All submission will become the property of ACEEE and will be treated as confidential between ACEEE and the Event Planner. ACEEE will use its commercially reasonable efforts not to disclose the contents of the Event Planner’s proposal to other participants or the public. ACEEE reserves the rights to discuss the submissions with its consultants, references provided by the Event Planner, and other related parties during the evaluations process.

Acknowledgement

By submitting a proposal, the Event Planner acknowledges that they have read this RFP; they understand it and agree to be bound by its requirements.

Event Planner understands and agrees that they are solely responsible for their own business expenses, except for pre-approved, reasonable business expenses related to BECC 2021.

Event Planner agrees to keep their fixed fee and other terms of their engagement open for at least sixty (60) days past the submission deadline.

Once the Event Planner is selected, ACEEE and the selected Event Planner must execute an agreement prior to the selected Event Planner commencing services. The Event Planner agrees that the agreement will be a complete and exclusive agreement and will supersede all prior communications between the parties.

Should ACEEE and the selected Event Planner be unable to agree on the terms of an agreement within a reasonable time (at ACEEE’s sole discretion), ACEEE reserves the right to suspend or terminate negotiations without notice, and to pursue negotiations with another Event Planner. Any suspension or termination of negotiations shall be without liability to ACEEE or the selected Event Planner(s).

ACEEE may terminate this process (in its sole discretion) and issue a new RFP for the requested services.

Each Event Planner shall assume all fees and costs (including but not limited to legal fees) incurred in responding to this RFP and negotiating the agreement with ACEEE. ACEEE shall bear no liability for any costs, fees, or liability incurred in connection with this RFP or any responses thereto.

 

 

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