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__________Community RFP – September 2008

Request for Proposal (RFP) to Set Up,

Host and Manage Our Community

September 2008

[Most of this is from the actual RFP I used in September 2006 to solicit
vendors for what ultimately became the Catalyze Community. I have
eliminated all pertinent company information and have made a couple
of modifications.
Feel free to adapt it for your own use and drop me a note at
thumbarger at if you use the template or have any

Confidential • Company Name -- Page 1

__________Community RFP – September 2008

1. General Information
This section summarizes the General Information for the _________ Communities and
is summarized into the following categories:

• Purpose of the RFP

• RFP communications
• RFP timeline
• RFP preparation
• Vendor responses
• Effective dates of pricing
• Evaluation criteria
• Right to reject RFP responses

1.1 Purpose of the RFP

The purpose of this Request for Proposal (RFP) is to establish the functional, technical
and operational requirements for a hosted community platform and management
solution for _________. Additional background for the planned communities has been
excerpted from the _________ Community Business Plan document.

The contents of this RFP are proprietary and are not to be disclosed to third parties
without the express permission of _________.

Creating growing and active communities will be essential to

promoting the _________ brand, engaging with our user base
and driving overall revenue

The planned _________ community will be a combination of:

• Primary
• Secondary

When we talk about building a community, _________ is providing the infrastructure

or “playpen” and the initial spark for the community to get started. While we can
nurture and guide the communities to a certain degree, it would be a mistake to
assume that we can single-handedly ignite a community on our own. We have to have
the patience and conviction to let the communities grow and evolve in whatever
direction the users want them to grow. Both communities will be accessible from our
website, but they will have an identity, name and style that are different from the
_________ website and brand.

The potential for relevant communities is well over 1 million users. While the
_________ customer component will be an important part of our community, it is just
a small slice of the total addressable audience.

Confidential • Company Name -- Page 2

__________Community RFP – September 2008
One of the most important parts to becoming successful with the community will be to
continually provide fresh and new content. The expectation is that much of the
content will ultimately come from the community.

Finally, building communities will take a significant commitment and dedicated

resources to manage and develop content for, and host guests on the site. Another
important point to make is that the community will evolve over time – from both a
content and membership standpoint. The core infrastructure and initial content need
to be in place for the launch, but it takes time to build trust in the community, and to
get members to begin contributing and actively participating in the community.

We acknowledge that building the _________ community will be a multi-year project.

At a high level, the types of content information planned for our communities include:

• “Hot off the press” Content (relatively short shelf-life – days or weeks)
o Industry and other topical news
o Blogs and columns
o Discussion groups and forums (threaded conversations)
o User editable wikis
o Newsletters
o Events and calendars of interest to the members
o Alerts and RSS news or blog feeds
o Daily/weekly digest of new content/discussions
• “Library-Type” Content (longer shelf-life – months or years)
o Articles and whitepapers – by _________ or contributed
o Analyst reports
o Webinars – real-time and archived
o Podcasts and video
o Vendor assessments
o Links to other relevant content

Ideally, we want our communities to become a destination site where our members
come for valuable and topical content and to share insights with other members.

1.2 RFP Communications

Please direct all communications and correspondence regarding this RFP to:

Name –
Title –
Address –
Email address -
Phone number –

1.3 Timeline
RFP submission date - ____
Vendor proposal due date - ____
Vendor selection - ____
Vendor contract process - ____
_________ detailed plan with vendor - ____
Launch communities - ____

Confidential • Company Name -- Page 3

__________Community RFP – September 2008
1.4 RFP Preparation
All costs incurred in the preparation and presentation of a RFP will be absorbed by the
prospective vendors. In the event that modifications or additions to the RFP become
necessary, prospective vendors will be notified in writing. All supporting materials
submitted with the Proposal will become the property of _________ unless otherwise
requested by the prospective vendors at time of submission.

1.5 Vendor Responses

Prospective vendors are required to submit their proposals no later than ________.
All supporting materials and documentation must be included with the Proposal.
Proposals should be sent or emailed to ________. We may ask vendors to present
their proposals in person or by webcast to the _________ evaluation team.

1.6 Effective Dates of Pricing

Prospective vendors should state in writing that all furnished information, including
pricing, will remain valid and applicable for a minimum of one-hundred and twenty
(120) days from the date their Proposal is received by _________ and should submit
their best and final offers.

1.7 Evaluation Criteria

Prospective vendor Proposals will be evaluated using the following general criteria:
• Ability to satisfy functional business requirements
• Ability to satisfy technical and integration requirements
• Strategic partnering potential
• Cost

1.8 Right to Reject

_________ reserves the right to:
• Accept or reject any and/or all submitted proposals
• Request additional information from all prospective vendors at any time
• Negotiate a contract with the selected vendor(s)
• Include the vendor's RFP response in whole or by reference in the final contract
• Accept the proposal of any vendor at any time during the process and other
vendors may or may not be awarded the opportunity to further discuss their
proposals or demonstrate their solutions to the _________ team.

Therefore your response should include all information necessary for _________ to
evaluate your solution, pricing and contract terms.

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__________Community RFP – September 2008

2.0 Requirements
This section summarizes the key requirements for the _________ Communities and is
summarized into the following categories:

• Community strategy
• Infrastructure requirements
• Functionality requirements
• Ongoing management requirements
• Technology requirements
• Other requirements
• Cost requirements

2.1 Community Strategy

We believe that getting the community strategy right is an integral part of building our
community. As part of your proposal, we would like you to include a description of
how you will help us strategize our community and approach. This may be part of a
bundled package or priced separately. It is important to make sure that you are
explicit in terms how you can help us, a description of your qualifications and an
estimate of the time/cost necessary to help us finalize our strategy.

2.2 Infrastructure Requirements

The key infrastructure requirements include:
• Platform
o Provide a robust, fully encrypted, and hosted platform that provides
room to grow the community and meets the other requirements detailed
o Establish single sign-on and permissions rules
o Implement and manage legal and intellectual property agreements for
access to content, member privacy
o Establish service level agreements that are acceptable to _________
o Document and train _________ personnel in administration and
management of site
o Provide periodic training to _________ personnel as updates are made
to the platform or as new _________ personnel get involved with site

• Strategy and planning

o Drive completion of community strategy plan
o Create a comprehensive project plan
o Develop a customized look and feel
o Build a membership recruitment plan
o Design a launch plan (for marketing and PR)
o Generate an ROI measurement plan
o Develop community rules for participation, posting, etc.

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__________Community RFP – September 2008

• Multiple sites
o Support up to ___ community sites
o Separate URLS for each community site
o Separate look-and-feel for each community site

• Members
o Support different levels of members (i.e. guest, registered, customer)
with different permissions/privileges and access to content
o Support _____ members
o Support up to ___ concurrent users
o Support different restrictions for members (ranging from total blocking
to full access)
o Support social networking (i.e. professional profile, my favorite
files/links, photo, etc.)
o Support for member rating

2.3 Functionality Requirements

The key functionality requirements include:

• Content types – we need to support the following content capabilities

o Document and content libraries
o Multimedia libraries for videos, podcasts and other multimedia
o Discussion forums
o Blogs
o Wikis
o Newsletters
o Webcasts
o Podcasts
o Vlogs (video blogs)
o Events and Calendars
o Links
o Realtime polls and surveys
o Live hosted chat events

Confidential • Company Name -- Page 6

__________Community RFP – September 2008

• Available metrics – we want to be able to measure the following metrics.

The metrics should be available in standard reports and in user definable
reports. The reports should be available online and printed or exported if
o Unique visitors by date and date range
o Page views by date and date range
o Session time by date and date range
o Community click-through (what percentage of visitors to the home page
click through to a community program)
o Registered members and join date
o Postings per day/week/month (in member-to member interaction
o Read-to-post ratio (in member-to-member interaction programs)
o Page additions (in member-generated content programs)
o Page revisions (in member-generated content programs)
o Peak number of concurrent users (in live events)
o Total number of users (in live events)
o Audience penetration (if the total size of the target population is known)
o Repeat visits and Frequent visitors

• Other functionality requirements

o Ability to charge and collect a member fee for access to premium
o Ratings - ability to rate content
o RSS feeds – RSS feeds for news, blogs and other content
o Alerts - alerts for content (users can set alerts for libraries, discussions,
blogs and other content)
o Subscriptions – ability for members to subscribe to any content on a
daily, weekly or other time basis of their choosing
o Search – ability to search content by title and within documents or
discussions (Google-like search capabilities)
o Chat with other members – set up separate chat rooms and live chat
between the community manager
o Email Posting - Ability to post to blogs and discussion groups by email
o Polls - Ability to develop and show polls and surveys, and their results
o “What’s new” – easy way to find new content or discussions
o Automatic word filtering and suppression for discussion forums
o Talkback – ability to add comments on content, etc.
o Social sharing – one-click ability to share any content via email and
other social media sites like Facebook, Twitter, Digg, de.lic.ious, etc.
o Widgetizable components – ability to turn community elements into
widgets that can be displayed anywhere, such as embedded in other
o Community manager administration – ability for our community
manager to perform most routine administrative tasks such as setting
permissions, running reports, making modifications to most pages, etc.

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__________Community RFP – September 2008
o Member information
 # of members online and in total
 Who’s online
 Member profiles and ability to search profiles
 Ability to rank members by their submissions
 Ability to contact members even when their emails is not
provided (anonymous contact)
 Ability to create a list of current members and their registration
information (.xls format)

• Ad Serving – similar to Google adwords

o We want the capability to ‘monetize’ the site by providing targeted
advertisements when people conduct searches within the community or
ads that may appear in a side bar or banner location

2.4 Ongoing Management Requirements

The key ongoing management requirements include:
• Management
o Provide a dedicated moderator to the communities to manage
conversations and actively enhance member experience – with the goal
of growing the communities and keeping the community active and
vibrant (based on activity and new members/partners added)
o Maintain and regularly check physical and virtual links
o Manage and summarize user feedback – and incorporate feedback into
improving the site
o Provide continuous programming and membership moderation
o Provide community training and demos to new/prospective members
o Generate detailed community reports and analysis of results

• Marketing
o Identify potential members. partners and user groups to target,
including obtaining of email addresses
o Invite potential users to join
o Get people to join – driving awareness and attention
o Encourage people to stay active and contribute
o Manage the membership and partnerships
o Create regular and periodic marketing campaigns to generate traffic,
awareness of community and member/partner growth

• Content creation
o Source new content (the majority of content must be from non-
_________ to give it an aura of impartiality)
o Build links to related sites, blogs, etc. (the onus of research and effort
for this task will be on the vendor – to be augmented over time by
_________ employees)

• Content management
o Keep the content fresh
o Prune and cull old or out-of-date content
o Coordinate, kick start and prime discussions
o Edit, review, upload and ‘censor’ materials and discussions, as

Confidential • Company Name -- Page 8

__________Community RFP – September 2008

• Content Moderation
o We do not know if we need moderation services at this time, but please
provide an overview of your moderation services (if any) and the
various pricing options

2.5 Technology Requirements

The key technology requirements include:

Provide us with information that cover these technical details:

• Uptime and availability

• Backups
• Bandwidth
• Support access
• Privacy of members and data

2.6 Other Requirements

Are the any requirements that we missed? Please include ideas / topics / suggestions
that we may have missed that you believe would greatly enhance a community
experience and/or be an area where you could provide significant value to the
members of the community and/or _________ as the community sponsor.

2.7 Cost Requirements

The initial proposal should outline a price quote and all pricing options available to
support the requirements identified in the RFP. The price quote should address a plan
for developing a community and launching before the end of _____.
The price quote should include the amount and timing of the following:
• Upfront costs
o How much?
o What is included in the upfront costs?
o How many hours/days are covered in the upfront costs?
o What is the final deliverable?
o What flexibility is available in pricing?
• Annual costs
o What are the annual costs?
o What is included in the annual costs?
o How many hours/days per week are covered by this pricing?
o What flexibility is available in pricing?
o What ROI metrics can we expect?
• Payment options
o Monthly, quarterly, etc.

Confidential • Company Name -- Page 9

__________Community RFP – September 2008
2.8 Other
Vendors should provide pricing data for any services not included as part of the
software or support purchase. These may include training, implementation support,
moderation, ongoing consultation, etc. This should include detailed rates for the
different levels and experience of consultants that may be needed on this
Vendors should also be prepared to provide us with a list of reference-able customers
with similar background as our community. You may include information about
reference-able customers in your response or include them in your presentation

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