REQUEST FOR QUOTATION: Events Management Technical Production for Virtual Events

1. Statement of Purpose

Meridian seeks an external events management firm to design, host and manage the technical production of three virtual events taking place in the spring and summer of 2021. Virtual events continue to rapidly evolve and Meridian requires the expertise and knowledge of a partner who is both aware of the latest technologies and able to incorporate them into our virtual programs. Meridian also desires a visually appealing “television production” quality video feed/experience for the event.

The Meridian Diplomacy Forum will be held the morning of Friday, April 16. The 3-4 hour program will highlight the restoration of the State Department and U.S. global leadership as well as the need to reconceive and modernize our diplomatic practices and capacity to meet the demands of today’s new challenges. Visionaries and decisionmakers from the Biden Administration, Congress, Foreign Service, private sector, and civil society will gather to share an all-of-sectors approach to retool and strengthen the United States’ engagement with the world. Plenary segments will intersperse with concurrent sessions. Between 200 and 400 attendees are expected from the U.S. and around the world.

The CultureFIX to take place on June 8 or 9, 2021 (tentatively) will elevate awareness of Meridian’s Cultural Diplomacy Center to the country’s top patrons of the arts by bestowing awards to artists who have worked to build bridges internationally or cast a spotlight on an issue of great international concern. The event, which is anticipated to have 500 attendees or less, will take place on a virtual platform and will feature panel discussions and artistic performances.

Meridian's inaugural Cultural Diplomacy Symposium, funded through a cooperative agreement with the National Endowment for the Humanities, will be held June 11, 2021 (tentatively), with an overarching theme of “Observe.” The full-day symposium will give scholars the opportunity to share their research on U.S. cultural diplomacy through three panels based on themes in the submitted abstracts, with potential topics touching on historical and contemporary examples of shared international heritage or traditions, the global connections between artists or art forms, international research collaborations amongst institutions, and more. Each panel will be moderated by a DC-area scholar in the field or an experienced NEH staff member. The symposium will allow scholars to share their original research with an academic audience and will provide opportunities for future collaboration within their areas of study. The symposium will culminate in a keynote lecture.

2. Background Information

Meridian is a nonpartisan, nonprofit diplomacy center that connects leaders through culture and collaboration to drive solutions for global challenges. Founded 60 years ago, we have equipped thousands of leaders with the networks, insights and cultural context essential for non-partisan work on shared issues.

3. Scope of Work

The partner/consultant will be responsible for the following:

Professional Services

  • Work collaboratively with Meridian to create unique and dynamic experiences from start to finish.
  • Implement concepts for the overall programs to ensure consistency of message and maximize potential for message delivery.
  • Identify elements of the events where creative attention to detail can communicate the overall theme of the events.
  • Design and manage virtual event layouts to ensure effective program delivery, convenience of participants and effective media production.
  • Participation in regular virtual meetings starting immediately upon contract award.

Event Management

  • Develop and maintain the aspect of event budgets that correspond with the recipient’s SoW.
  • Identify specialized vendors, negotiating the best possible pricing, contracting, and managing all invoicing in-line with financial reporting requirements and in a timely manner.
  • Act as the primary point of contact with any vendors associated with recipient’s SoW.
  • Design, manage and support guest experience for virtual event interface.
  • Provide regular status updates.
  • Maintain an event ramp-up timeline, plan orderly client check-in calls, and deliver final briefing materials.

Technical Event Management

  • Provide TV production quality broadcasting.
  • Coordinate with the selected broadcast vendor for all technical specifications.
  • Work with the Meridian team to craft a run of show that is effective for guests and cohesive from a technical perspective.
  • Provide and execute recommendations when required to solve production issues.
  • Provide quality controls for the creation of all digital assets for the production, including, but not limited to, lower thirds, custom backgrounds, graphics, and animations and other key assets.
  • Design standard lower thirds and title/hold slides.
  • Utilize own broadcast studio, control rooms, and/or any other equipment needed to ensure needed technical infrastructure for the event.
  • Upload all content following each event in a timely manner.

Virtual Event Hosting

  • Provide own website and link for day-of hosting of virtual events, avoiding any requirement of additional software downloads for attendees.
  • Create customized event platform for easy to use yet innovative participant experience (e.g., Swoogo, Glisser, etc.) o To further clarify, Meridian is looking for this to be an upgrade over the Zoom experience. Event attendees should not join the program directly through Zoom; however, Zoom can be used behind the scenes for speakers, etc.
  • Help desk support agents to be on call via phone and email on event days to support any guests who need assistance.
  • Offer audience engagement tools imbedded on the platform that do not require additional sign up requirements beyond a username (i.e. Q&A, Chat, Polling, etc.)

Program, Speaker, and Stage Management

  • In collaboration with Meridian, support speakers and entertainment as needed on technical aspects of program to include consultation on suitable backdrops, lighting, and set up for live broadcast.
  • Provide a technical production manager to oversee execution of the program, including all A/V and digital support, and act as stage manager for the online event.
  • Oversee and advise on show content, look, and tone, while providing content management to organize screen graphics, presentations, and video content.
  • Create and finalize a run-of-show, including cues for technical and A/V needs.
  • Schedule and supervise technical rehearsals, including testing videos, lighting, A/V equipment, as well as organizing participant rehearsals.
  • Management of a “virtual green room” for program participants to hold while waiting to “take stage” during the live programming.
  • Provide fully technical and production support needed for pre-taped segments.
  • Accommodate pre-taping segments on multiple days for each event as needed.

Meridian will manage and be responsible for the following:

  • Program content, including event format and themes, and speaker selection, confirmation and preparation.
  • Audience identification, cultivation and confirmation, including research and email outreach
  • Marketing and promotion of the event
  • Creation and maintenance of marketing/pre-event website
  • Pre- and post-event digital media campaign
  • Sponsorships/fundraising

4. Payments

Payment for this project will be disbursed based on the following three milestones:

  • Milestone 1: Upon receipt of invoice following completion of first event – 33% of fee
  • Milestone 2: Upon receipt of invoice following completion of second event – 33% of fee
  • Milestone 3: Upon receipt of invoice following completion of third event – remainder of fee

5. Awarding the Quote

Meridian seeks one fixed fee quote for all three events; however, applicant may provide quotes for each event separately as well. Meridian will select the winning submission based on the following criteria:

  • Competitiveness of the quote provided
  • Demonstrated ability to meet the technical and functional requirements specified in this RFQ
  • Demonstrated relevant prior experience and past performance

Proposals and any questions regarding this RFQ should be submitted to Julianne Juarez via email (jjuarez@meridian.org) by Wednesday, February 17, 2020. Deadline for submissions is 11:59 PM EDT on Wednesday, February 24, 2020.

As part of your submission package, please include the following:

  • Your quotation
  • Proposal based on the SoW
  • Brief summary of prior relevant experience

Selection will be made no later than Monday, March 1.

6. General Terms

• Awarding of contract is dependent on signature of both parties to Meridian Services Agreement.

• Your quote must remain valid for a period not less than 30 days after the deadline for submission.

• Meridian reserves the right to accept or reject any quotations, cancel the bidding process and to reject all quotations at any time prior to the award of the contract.