Request for Proposals (RFP) for a Federal Consulting and Advocacy Firm to Represent US Ignite, Inc.

Issue Date: February 1, 2019

PART ONE:  Background

US Ignite Overview

US Ignite is a national nonprofit, a 501(c)(3), that is accelerating the smart city movement – and creating value for an entire ecosystem – by guiding communities into the connected future, creating a path for private sector growth, and advancing technology research that’s at the heart of smart city development. Why is this important? Because local governments need to improve quality of life and ensure economic development in their communities, particularly during a time of rapid technological change. Businesses recognize the importance of the emerging market around smart communities and need to find commercial strategies that are repeatable, scalable, and sustainable. And foundations and federal agencies need to channel their institutional aims into efforts ranging from cutting-edge research to practical economic development initiatives that deliver measurable benefits. As a trusted partner, we bring this entire smart city ecosystem together, successfully pairing financial investment with technical and organizational expertise. Through the public-private partnership (P3) programs we run, US Ignite is a catalyst for communications network advancement, and for innovation in smart city services that are powered by a new generation of technologies.

US Ignite Programs include:

Smart Gigabit Communities

The US Ignite Smart Gigabit Communities (SGC) project is a network of more than two dozen communities developing a catalog of applications to address smart city and internet of things (IoT) challenges. With the benefit of high‐capacity and low‐latency networking technologies, these communities are solving modern‐day dilemmas and developing their own innovation ecosystems focused on improving quality of life and boosting local economic development.

Platforms for Advanced Wireless Research

Platforms for Advanced Wireless Research (PAWR) will enable experimental exploration of robust new wireless devices that will revolutionize the nation’s wireless ecosystem while sustaining US leadership and economic competitiveness for decades to come. PAWR is funded by National Science Foundation (NSF) and the PAWR Industry Consortium representing 28 of the nation’s leading companies and associations in wireless.

US Ignite Forum

The US Ignite Forum is a structured series of workshops that brings together municipal leaders to discuss strategies for tackling smart city challenges. Each workshop focuses on one pre-defined topic, with speakers presenting their own experiences and then contributing in interactive conversation with the group. Events are deliberately kept small, roughly 50 people, with attendees including additional municipal representatives, members of the academic community, and our corporate partners. The program includes six workshops per year, spread around the country, and has so far covered topics that include small cells, smart lighting, public safety, and big data.


US Ignite seeks proposals from full service consulting and advocacy firms with experience assisting nonprofits and universities to build strong partnerships and create new research opportunities with the federal government. The primary goal of this contract is to create new research opportunities, federal agency partnerships and collaborations, and build the reputation of US Ignite with the federal government. The firm will work closely with the organization’s federal relations and research officers to initiate, implement, and sustain strategic connections with the federal government.

US Ignite is requesting proposals from interested firms to help US Ignite achieve its following key goals:

  1. Tell the US Ignite story, that advanced networking infrastructure is the foundation for a smart city, and credit US Ignite for developing and pushing that mission.
  2. Inspire potential private funders, including foundations, corporations, and individuals to consider joining our programs, providing financial support (cash and in-kind) to US Ignite, or spearhead new research opportunities and partnerships.
  3. Bolster US Ignite’s standing in the smart city community and federal government and help US Ignite’s real, tangible mission and results stand out from the “smart cities” noise.
  4. Expand the general awareness of US Ignite and promote US Ignite as the leading national organization in the “smart cities” space, especially within the federal government.

No contractual obligation on behalf of US Ignite whatsoever shall arise from the RFP process. Additionally, this RFP does not commit the US Ignite to pay any cost incurred in the preparation or submission of any response to the RFP.

Specific services sought include:


  1. Closely coordinate and assist US Ignite in preparing and submitting programmatic, authorization, and appropriations requests to Congressional delegation offices.
  1. Develop and draft authorizing legislation on behalf of US Ignite.
  1. Establish and maintain relationships with Congressional delegation and staff to assist US Ignite in advancing its federal research and policy priorities.
  1. Work with US Ignite federal relations staff to advocate to federal legislative appropriations and authorizing committee members and staff as needed.
  1. Impart knowledge and connections to expand the reputation and stature of US Ignite with Congressional committees, caucuses and Members of Congress beyond our current Congressional support.
  1. Assist with the preparation of Congressional testimony, if needed.
  1. Arrange and coordinate meetings between US Ignite designated individuals and Congressional and federal agency leaders.


  1. Provide knowledge and build relationships to expand connections and advocate for US Ignite capabilities and initiatives with federal agencies. Preference will be given to the firm who has established relationships and contacts with:
    1. Department of Defense including DARPA and service labs
    2. Department of Homeland Security
    3. Department of Energy
    4. Department of Agriculture
    5. National Institutes of Health
  1. Identify emerging trends in budget priorities and research funding by targeted federal agencies and advise US Ignite of potential opportunities and challenges.
  1. Identify and assist with submitting applications for US Ignite personnel to serve on federal agency advisory committees.
  2. Attend agency hearings, rulemaking proceedings and administrative agency meetings, as needed, to advocate on matters affecting US Ignite.


  1. Conduct frequent teleconferences with US Ignite staff about federal activities and opportunities. On these conference calls, the firm may provide a single lead point of contact or make multiple team members available as needed.
  1. The firm agrees not disclose to any other person, firm, institution, corporation, nor use for personal benefit any technical, business or proprietary information obtained from US Ignite and to resolve potential conflicts of interest with other clients.
  1. Within three months, the firm will provide US Ignite with an initial assessment of need and prepare a strategic agenda or “federal roadmap” that matches organization’s research priorities with current or emerging federal funding opportunities. Within six months a complete assessment will be provided to the US Ignite. The planning process will involve at least one site visit to assist leadership with characterizing, understanding and anticipating federal opportunities. The final written report will include recommendations for research funding priorities.


Please provide a written response to the following questions in your proposal. Proposal Preparation Guidelines are included in Part 4.

  1. Please provide the background and biographies of the lead consultant and members of the team that would be working with US Ignite.
  1. With what federal agencies or programs does your firm specialize or have strong connections?
  1. Please discuss your capabilities to accomplish the goals of US Ignite as outlined in Part Two of this document. What milestones would you establish to measure progress to US Ignite’s goals?
  1. Discuss how your firm will address some of the key specific services sought, outlined in Part 2A-Part 2C above.
  1. Please provide two or three “big win” success stories in building successful partnerships with the federal agencies listed in Part Two “Federal Agency Services” for your clients, focusing especially on clients with similar profiles to that of US Ignite. You may keep your clients’ names anonymous.
  1. What is your experience working with nonprofits like US Ignite and beyond including through coalition-building, regional connections, bridge building and alliances?
  1. What is the capacity of your firm to expand beyond the traditional advocacy strategies to a wider breadth of connections?
  1. Firms must provide anticipated fees and costs in their written proposal including any requested annual fees to be paid on a monthly or quarterly basis. Additionally, firms should propose positions, position qualifications, rates per position, estimate the hours for the work proposed, and total estimated cost per position. US Ignite will pay fees supported by evidence of bona fide services rendered. US Ignite will not enter into a retainer agreement which pays fees in advance to a firm or individual to secure or keep services when required. Should your firm be selected as a partner, your firm must invoice US Ignite by position, rate, and hours.
  1. Please be sure to describe any additional qualifications, experiences, and proposed strategy to represent US Ignite.


Firm Qualifications:

  • Must be a registered federal lobbyist in good standing.
  • Must have experience representing public research universities and/or science/research-focused non-profit organizations.
  • Must have a Washington, DC office and personnel.
  • Must have experience with federal Indefinite Delivery Indefinite Quantity contracts.

Closing Date and Time:

US Ignite must receive proposals by email no later than February 28, 2019 at 5:00 PM eastern

US Ignite Point of Contact:

Meghan Histand, [email protected]

Proposal Preparation Guidelines:

  • All proposals must be submitted in writing as an Adobe PDF document not to exceed 10 standard 8½ x 11 inch pages in 12-point type font. Any pages submitted beyond 10 standard 8½ x 11 inch pages will not be read.
  • All proposals must be emailed to US Ignite point of contact listed, Meghan Histand.
  • Firm may modify or withdraw proposal prior to the submission deadline.
  • Proposals may not be changed after the submission deadline.

Other Considerations:

  • After a contract is signed, US Ignite will pay firm for travel and other costs associated with serving US Ignite as a client. US Ignite will reimburse these costs in accordance with Federal and US Ignite travel policies.
  • US Ignite may reject any or all proposals in whole or in part, waive a technicality in any proposal, make awards in a manner deemed in the best interest of US Ignite and, unless otherwise specified by the firm, accept any item in the proposal. US Ignite reserves the right to award one or more contracts, if necessary.
  • US Ignite anticipates a one-year, renewable contract for professional services with a 30-day notice termination clause.


US Ignite will review all proposals submitted. If firm is invited to make a presentation to US Ignite, the costs for such presentation will be the responsibility of the firm. US Ignite plans to select the firm within 30 business days after the submission deadline and reserves the right not to select any firm if conditions change between the time of the RFP release and completion of the review process.




February 1, 2019




After review of the submissions the US Ignite may request to meet with firms prior to selecting a partner. Please direct any questions to [email protected].