College Savings Plans Network releases RFP

LEXINGTON, KY: The College Savings Plans Network has released an RFP as it seeks to ensure "Section 529" qualified tuition plans remain an effective vehicle for families to save on college costs.

LEXINGTON, KY: The College Savings Plans Network has released an RFP as it seeks to ensure “Section 529” qualified tuition plans remain an effective vehicle for families to save on college costs.

A Section 529 plan is an education cost-savings plan operated by state or educational institutions. They are named after Section 529 of the Internal Revenue Code.

The network currently has a contact with Fahlgren Mortine that runs through June. The agency “has provided good services to CSPN,” said Chris Hunter, associate director at the network.

The winning firm must increase awareness and understanding of 529 plans by the public and federal and state decision-makers, according to the solicitation. The agency's three major responsibilities will be media relations, reputation management, and widening the organization's web presence.

The media-relations work will include implementing a national media strategy and developing universal messaging by each state 529 plan. The agency will also be required to draft news releases, advisories, and background packages to promote Section 529 plans and proactively identify opportunities for media coverage nationally and in some states.

As part of the reputation and branding initiative, the firm must establish and maintain the network's management as industry thought leaders. The work may also include developing and using a tagline to identify 529 plans as part of the network, according to the RFP.

To enhance its web presence, the winning firm will be required to develop an opt-in email-marketing program featuring a quarterly e-newsletter with consumer-focused tips, updates, and a guest column.

The winning firm will also be tasked with creating a strategy to increase followers on social media sites such as Facebook and Twitter.

The budget for the project changes each year, but it has been as high as $100,000 for PR services, according to the RFP. The contact is for two years, with the potential for a two-year extension. Responses to the solicitation are due March 2, and the network expects to make a decision by May 25.

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