Annual Conference Planner – RFP

Download Request for Proposal

All RFP’s must be submitted by August 18, 2017.  See RFP for full submission instructions.

Click to Download the RFP


California Mental Health Advocates for Children & Youth (CMHACY) is a not-for-profit advocacy organization, headquartered in Sacramento and run by a volunteer Board of Directors.

The signature activity of CMHACY is the annual conference which has been held at the Asilomar Conference Grounds in Pacific Grove California since 1980.  Unique in the country and attended by as many as 600 stakeholders – parents, youth, providers, school representatives, County agency leaders, state department officials, and legislative staff – the conference has provided a forum for policy development, spawned collaboration and partnerships among counties and providers, incubated state-wide parent and youth organizations, hosted nationally recognized speakers, and showcased cutting-edge clinical advances in work with youth and families.  It is the “go to” conference in California for all those interested in behavioral health services for children, youth, and their families.

Meeting monthly to plan the conference and develop policy and advocacy positions, the Board of Directors of 12 members is reflective of conference attendees who comprise the membership of CMHACY.  Since 1994 The Coordinators – Ronald & SandraLee Jones – have handled conference logistics and provided support to the Board for conference planning and execution.  The Jones’ are retiring in 2018.

Scope of Work

Project Description

CMHACY is seeking a conference event planner/coordinator to “run” our Annual Conference beginning in May 2019.  The successful bidder will be required to “shadow” the current conference coordinators during the 2018 conference cycle beginning in October of 2017.  Shadowing activities are negotiable depending on the experience of the successful bidder, though attendance at the 2018 conference is required.

Scope of Consulting/Contracted Services

The intended role of contracted services will include but are not limited to:

  • online and print marketing materials and event day program
  • creative marketing strategies
  • registration services – online and on-site
  • working with Asilomar Conference Grounds for scheduling workshop rooms, lodging, and meals
  • arranging lodging for guest speakers when necessary
  • providing on-site technical and logistical support during the conference
  • concluding work with all vendors
  • preparing a post-conference report for the Board.


Submitted Questions about the RFP

Is CMHACY a 501(c)3?
CMHACY is a 501(c)4.  We are in the process of converting to a 501(c)3.

Do you have a current relationship with a registration company or use registration software?
YES.  Managed by our webmaster.

Do you use a graphic designer?
YES, current conference planners use a graphic designer.  During the “shadowing year” you will be able to review current design firm and suggest alternatives.  Same with printing, mailing, and other vendors.  You may, however, include in your proposal names of vendors that you use and why.

Outside of conference theme, is there a specific brand message that needs to be woven throughout marketing materials?
YES, the conference is our signature event.   And the conference is unique in providing the opportunity for all attendees to interact informally and personally with the various county and state leaders, parents, family members, youth, and community-based providers in a very special and historic setting – Asilomar Conference Grounds.  We are interested in raising our profile in Sacramento and throughout California and will be eager to discuss marketing ideas during the “shadowing year.”

Is everything sent digitally or do still print a registration brochure and send?
We do both.

What is the size of the mailing list and what needs to be edited?
The mailing list is about 2,500.  Editing and design is for the “call for papers” which includes the conference theme, instructions for submitting a proposal, and priority topics of interest.

How many “call for papers” do you typically receive?
Around 60.

Can you make available last year’s P&L for the conference?
But, outside the planner fee the biggest expense is Asilomar Conference Center (approximately $80,000 – including deposits for future years).  All other non-planner costs are around $35,000.

What is the conference net revenue?
Over the last several years the conference has netted between $75,000 and $100,000.  This is our primary revenue source and funds all expenses of the association for the balance of the year.

Does the anticipated budget of $40,000 to $60,000 include all travel expenses and out-of-pocket expenses?
The RFP seeks the conference planner fee only.  Reasonable travel and out-of-pocket expenses will be reimbursed and will be negotiated/detailed in the contract between CMHACY and the successful bidder.

Are the direct vendor fees paid by CMHACY exclusive of the overall budget?
Vendor fees will be part of the overall budget and paid by CMHACY.   This RFP is focused on (a) how the successful bidder will effectively manage the conference scope of work, (b) the qualifications and experience of the successful bidder, and (c) the successful bidder’s fee.

What are the sponsorship goals?
Sponsorships have been minimal – under $10,000 annually.  There has not been an aggressive strategy to generate more sponsorship revenue though this is an area we want to grow.

Do attendees pay to attend the conference?  Would conference planners manage the funds?
YES.  Attendee registration is CMHACY’s primary source of revenue.  The current conference planners do manage the registration funds.  However, how funds are managed by the new conference planner will be negotiated during the “shadowing year.”

Do attendees complete a post program survey?
YES, workshop and plenary sessions are evaluated by attendees in real time during the conference.  This is done on the conference app that we use – Guidebook.  However, it allows for only minimal text.  YES, the conference planners provide a post conference analysis based on the responses.  Please suggest a different evaluation process, if you have one.

How many types of CEUs do you provide?
For the last several conferences CEUs have been handled by Casa Pacifica.  CEUs are available for psychologists, social workers, LMFTs, nurses, group home administrators, etc.  The conference planners are not involved in handling CEUs.

During the “shadowing year” how involved will the current conference planners be?
Ronald & Sandralee Jones, current Conference Planners, will be as responsive and helpful as the successful bidder wants them to be.  They will be available by phone and email and in person to the extent the successful bidder desires face-to-face time.

Will the successful bidder have any responsibility for any aspects of the 2018 conference?

Is the shadowing time paid and exclusive of the overall budget?
The shadowing year should be included in your bid.  The payment schedule indicates that the successful bidder will receive 10% of their proposed/accepted fee upon selection and signing of a contract and 10% within a month after the 2018 conference.

Is the successful bidder required to be at the Board retreat October 5 & 6, 2017?

Is the successful bidder expected to be at the February Board meeting when workshops are selected?

What are the dates of the 2018 conference?
Tuesday, May 15 through Friday, May 18, 2018

What is the “post-event and wrap-up meeting”?
The conference ends at 11:30 am on Friday.   Board members and all those who helped with the conference are invited to lunch at the Asilomar dining hall to debrief the conference and provide early impressions and feedback.  Approximately 20 people attend.

As part of the proposal are you interested in receiving creative recommendations to expand or enhance your current event – i.e., proven event strategies that may not have been employed yet for your event?
YES, bear in mind, however, that this conference has its own unique history, personality, and culture and not all “proven” event strategies would be successful.

We did not find the “Conference at a Glance” mentioned in the RFP.  Can this be provided?
On our Website go to Conference Info drop-down menu.  Click on 2017 Conference, scroll down and you will find a “radio button” labeled “Conference at a Glance”

Must the mailed proposal be received by the due date?
Postmarked.  But, an electronic copy of the proposal must be received by the due date.


Comments or Questions?

Please email Steven Elson at

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