Public Relations Services

Intercollegiate Horse Shows Association Request for Proposal – Public Relations Services

Executive Summary:

The Intercollegiate Horse Shows Association (IHSA) is seeking to secure public relations services, including social media management, for the organization.

Background/Corporate Mission

The Intercollegiate Horse Shows Association was founded on the principle that any college student should be able to participate in horse shows regardless of his or her financial status or riding level. Emphasis is on learning and sportsmanship. Competition plays a role but the students’ enthusiasm and team spirit are major factors. The objective of IHSA competition is to offer the opportunity to riders in their first years of riding as well as to students with show experience. Eliminating the expense of shipping or even owning horses puts IHSA competitions within reach of many who would otherwise miss the equestrian experience. At IHSA competitions, horses are provided by the show host and riders draw horses at random to compete.

Since its inception in 1967 with just two intercollegiate competing colleges, the IHSA has grown to an organization that encompasses 40 Regions in 8 Zones with more than 400 member colleges in the United States and Canada - representing more than 9,000 riders in both Hunter Seat Equitation, Western Horsemanship, and Reining. In 1999 the original organization was dissolved and IHSA Inc was incorporated as a non-profit 501(c)3 organization. The IHSA has awarded more than $700,000 in scholarships. This year, the IHSA proudly celebrated is 50th Anniversary. The IHSA is proud to have strong working relationships and be sponsored by the United States Hunter Jumper Association, United States Equestrian, American Quarter Horse Association and the National Reining Horse Association. Major corporate sponsors include Weatherbeeta/Collegiate, Smartpak, KASK Helmets, Parlanti, ECE Equestrian Collection and Tredstep.

Service/Work Requirements

The IHSA is seeking to secure a contractor to provide public relations services for the association. Such an individual will handle all press releases and ensure a cohesive public message and image across the different media platforms, including but not limited to press releases, social media (Facebook, Instagram, Twitter) and industry publications. Contractor will report to the Chair of the IHSA Public Relations Committee, Kelly Francfort.

Qualifications:

A minimum of three to five years working in the equestrian field, either in public relations, events promotion, or journalism. A strong working knowledge of public relations and marketing strategy, with excellent written and verbal skills. Qualified applicants must be positive and able to work with a variety of personalities, given the diversity of our users, members, and all-volunteer board of directors. Clear communication style, ability to occasionally work on a quick turnaround, and strong problem solving skills are needed.

Outline of specific work items: 

  1. Press Releases
  2. Monthly AHP Releases
  3. On demand sponsor related press releases

The IHSA is a member of the American Horse Publications and is eligible to release up to three press releases per month.  Such press releases are also distributed to our membership and posted to our website.  In the event that the IHSA Sponsorship Committee has signed a new sponsor or has renewed a sponsorship agreement, the IHSA may look for the contractor to create a press release announcement; this will often require contractor to work with the sponsor on the creation of the press release. All press releases must be approved by the Chair of the IHSA Public Relations Committee prior to distribution.

  1. Article/Content Creation and Placement in Industry Magazines

Given the diversity of our membership and the distinctiveness of our competition format, the IHSA is eager to share stories about our membership. The IHSA would look to the contractor to seek out opportunities to place IHSA-related content in industry magazines. The IHSA will share article leads with the contractor. Contractor would be required to create such content.  The target number of placements over the contract period is three to five.

  1. Social Media (Facebook, Instagram and Twitter)
  2. Ensuring consistent message across all platforms
  3. Incorporate sponsor requirements as provided by IHSA Sponsorship Committee

Contractor will be responsible for posting on IHSA social media accounts, creating original content and selectively re-posting items of interest from news sources, current sponsors, and active IHSA Teams, on a weekly basis. The Contractor will work with members of the Public Relations and Sponsorship Committees to help coordinate posting to maintain consistent message across all of the platforms and that the postings are complementary to the association, its mission, members and sponsors.

  1. Presence at IHSA Nationals
  2. Coordinate with press representatives on-site at Nationals
  3. Facilitate rider interviews during the event

iii.        Social media posts

  1. Wrap-up press release promoting placement in industry magazines

The 2018 IHSA National Championships are from May 3-6 at the Pennsylvania Farm Show Complex, Harrisburg, Pennsylvania.  The contractor is expected to be onsite from Wednesday, May 2 through the conclusion of the event. The contractor would be responsible for coordinating media at the event, including but not limited to generating awareness within the local media outlets, work with members of the press that are onsite, facilitate rider interviews and result reporting on social media.  Upon completion of the show, contractor will be responsible for creating a wrap-up press release and seek out placement in industry magazines.

  1. Board Reports

The contractor will be tasked to report on public relations activities twice annually – December and June. The IHSA Board of Directors has an annual meeting in early January.  Ahead of this meeting, the contractor will be asked to provide details on number of press releases, article/content creation and placement, social media activity and statistics, to the Chair of the IHSA Public Relations Committee for reporting to the Board of Directors. A similar report will be requested upon completion of the contract.

Contract Length

This contract would be for the 2017/2018 competition year.  The goal is to sign a contractor by August 1, 2018 and such contract would run until June 30, 2018.

Pricing

Service provider should state their price proposal as a fixed price for the entire contract length. This proposal should include the costs for providing the listed services. Any ancillary expenses incurred (e.g. travel expenses) will be not be considered part of the contract.  Such expenses will be covered by the association as needed. The service provider would be paid on a quarterly basis from the IHSA National Treasurer.

Review/Renewal Process

At the conclusion of the IHSA Nationals, the IHSA Public Relations Committee will review the work of the service provider and determine desire to renew the contract.  The Chair of the IHSA Public Relations Committee will contact the service provider to advise of decision.

Submission Guidelines

Service providers should submit their proposed response in the following preferred format:

Letter of Introduction:

The letter should include contractor name, address, telephone number, fax number and contact person.

Proposal: 

Service providers shall identify relevant public relations capabilities as well as technical and necessary skills, qualifications and experience that they consider appropriate to the evaluation of their ability to successfully undertake the proposed contract and meet all RFP service requirements. Please include any other information such as references or resumes that would be relevant useful information. Attach other information as required by the RFP such as references, resumes, financial information and other relevant useful information.

Pricing: Indicate proposal pricing as requested.

Timing: The RFP issue date is May 20, 2017. Responses are due by June 20, 2017. Service provider selected and contacted by July 20, 2017.  Service contract to begin on August 1, 2017.

Proposals should be submitted to Kelly Francfort, IHSA Public Relations Committee Chair at klfrancfort@gmail.com.  Should there be any questions about this RFP, please contact Kelly Francfort at (908) 823-0347 or klfrancfort@gmail.com.

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