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The Open Technology Fund (OTF) is soliciting proposals from writing, editing, and graphic/visual design professionals/agencies to aid OTF-supported projects and their fellows tell the stories of their projects and the results they produce.

The Open Technology Fund (OTF) is soliciting proposals from individuals and organizations interested to provide services to OTF’s Learning Lab. OTF’s Learning Lab is designed to help OTF-supported projects and their fellows tell the stories of their projects and the results they produce. The Learning Lab helps present projects’ successes, challenges, and lessons learned.

OTF is an independent 501(c) non--profit corporation registered in the District of Columbia. OTF is fully funded by the U.S. Government.

OTF supports technology-centric projects and research which empower world citizens to have access to modern communication channels free of restrictions, and allow them to communicate without fear of repressive censorship or surveillance.

Learning Lab Background

Stemming out of OTF’s efforts to be both more open in our funding operations and share more of the knowledge we receive through our work with the Internet freedom community, OTF created the Learning Lab. Transparent in its process and impactful in its result, the Learning Lab is a way for OTF and the broader Internet freedom community to better understand the impact of our funding in a way that emphasizes collective learning and knowledge sharing.

The Learning Lab helps OTF projects and fellows share what they have learned and accomplished in the form of post-project or post-fellowship reports, blog-style write-ups, infographics, press releases, and more. This helps to ensure that projects’ associated outputs are presented in a visually appealing, professional format through graphic design, copywriting, and content writing consultation services.

Post-project reports and write ups: These are informed by the stated project goals (as established during the project’s initial application with OTF) and the impact-monitoring efforts projects have conducted over the course of their work. Writers contracted through the Learning Lab will have some access to project proposals, monthly progress reports, and will, in most cases, be able to interview project teams in order to help compose project write-ups.

Visual and graphic design: Design professionals contracted through the Learning Lab work with projects and fellows to transform project outputs into polished products that are visually appealing, readable, and appropriate for key audiences.

OTF goes to great lengths to make our funding as accessible as possible to those with good solutions to the kind of difficult problems we are most concerned with. This means that many of those who receive OTF funding may, for example, be non-native English speakers or are otherwise brilliant technologists who may not be accustomed to explaining their work to a non-technical audience. We recognize that it is vital for the Internet freedom community to have access to the knowledge generated by these projects. OTF seeks to establish an online home where we can share the outcomes of projects and highlight their research and impact to help inform future Internet freedom projects.

Scope of Services Requested

Service providers awarded contracts under the Learning Lab will provide internet freedom projects and fellows with writing, editing, and graphic/visual design consulting services based on the scope of services below. OTF intends to award more than one contract based on speciality or focus (i.e. a contract for a graphic designer, contract for a writer/editor, etc.). The maximum ceiling for an awarded IDIQ agreement will be $100,000 with the option to extend for additional years.

OTF seeks individuals or organizations (i.e. service providers) capable of providing one or more of the following services for OTF’s supported projects and fellows, working on Internet freedom-related efforts:

Overall Production Coordination: Coordinate the production of post-project write-ups. Work closely with OTF team members to identify deliverables of a project’s write-up and content. Ensure the quality of finished write-ups, including editorial and stylistic consistency.

Editing Services: Assist in the editing process for a post-project report (project reports range from 1,500 words to ~20,000 words). Review project proposals, documentation, interviews, and findings for editorial and stylistic consistency. Assist editing for an English audience, such as assisting those with a non-English arterial language to ensure consistency for an English-speaking audience. Ability to edit for conciseness and the ability to edit technical content for a non-technical audience is highly desirable.

Writing (General): Produce post-project write-ups of approximately 1,500 words through a review of project report, project interviews, proposals, and other documentation. Write-ups will vary in content, and could include, but are not limited to, blog posts, articles, press releases, short descriptions, and more.

Graphic Design and Visualization Assistance: Assist in improving the readability, appearance, and overall presentation of research papers, project reports, and related copy. Assistance in website elements, promotional tools, and/or branding elements like logos or campaign materials, as needed.

In addition to the services above, a service provider should be expected to engage with the OTF project or fellow to get a general understanding of the project, the deliverables, and the deadlines.

As a result of this RFP, OTF expects to partner with at least one service provider capable of for each of the above specializations. Therefore, applicants with expertise in one or more of the above services may apply, but applicants need not have experience with or expertise in all of the services listed above. Collaborative efforts between multiple entities are welcome.

Applicants are welcome to include additional services not listed above, so long as demonstration is provided as to how those additional services will advance the stated goals of OTF’s Learning Lab.


Service providers should be able to demonstrate one or more of the following, as organized by discipline:

Writers and Editors

  • A strong background in writing, with an emphasis on technical writing and the ability to write accessible, short-form pieces for online mediums.
  • Background in qualitative research or monitoring and evaluation practice is desirable, but not required.
  • Interest in helping a diverse set of projects and fellows from across the globe present their successes and results to their peers in an accurate and engaging manner.

Graphic Designers and Visualization Professionals

  • Ability to use multiple tools and software to perform graphic design work.
  • Ability to to create visually appealing documents that are visually appropriate and demonstrate cultural and topical awareness.
  • A track record of performing graphic and visualization design work. An understanding of logo/branding design and assistance is desirable.

Communications Training and Coaching

  • Ability to provide communications coaching and training to OTF-approved internet freedom projects to help improve their ability to write and discuss technical topics to a broader, non-technical audience.
  • Ability to assist coaching and training communications for those where English is not their first language.
  • Provide on-demand or pre-scheduled consultation services with OTF-approved projects.

In addition, we ask for you to please elaborate on your experience in handling sensitive data, and the procedures that you / your organization have in place to protect the privacy and security of the applicants you work with.

Candidates who are currently or have previously contracted as service providers for the Learning Lab or for a different OTF Lab are eligible to apply so long as they can clearly demonstrate the ability to provide the services specific to the Learning Lab.

Proposal Submission

Submit by November 24, 2021 to [email protected]

Information to be submitted in your Proposal must include:

1- An overview of the business enterprise;

2- Specify the category/categories of work you are applying for from “Requirements” above;

3- Vendor’s relevant qualifications, including specific experience with writing technical narratives for a non-technical audience, and any relevant experience working with the activism, human rights, and internet freedom community;

4- Biographical sketches or CVs of the key employee(s) and staff who would be assigned to this project;

5- Other services your vendor provides, if any;

6- Five (5) client references of similar work performed of at least one must be provided from an individual or group working within the Internet Freedom community.

7- Acknowledgement that the vendor accepts the Standard Provisions in Appendix A.


Provide a fully-burdened hourly rate for providing services to Open Technology Fund on a per-work-order basis. If you are providing a discount on your regular commercial rates, please also provide those commercial rates for comparison. OTF will not separately cover materials or incidental costs, so please ensure your hourly rate will cover all costs associated with the services to be provided. All pricing must be submitted in USD.

OTF awards are performance based contracts signed directly with the applicant. Payment is issued upon completion of work on agreed-upon services as outlined in a contract. OTF reserves the right to award less or more than the funds requested as deemed in the best interest of OTF’s priorities.

Individuals have until November 12, 2021 to send questions regarding this RFP to [email protected] The questions will be collected and answers will be published publicly on the OTF website. If it becomes necessary to review any part of this RFP, an Addendum will be published on the OTF website.

Restrictions on the use of data contained within a proposal must be clearly stated. Due to OTF’s evaluation process for RFPs, it cannot sign non-disclosure agreements with any bidder. All material submitted regarding this RFP becomes the property of OTF and will only be returned to the bidder at OTF’s option.

All costs incurred in the preparation of the proposal response to this RFP will be the responsibility of the responding vendors and will not be reimbursed by OTF.

Schedule of Activities & Proposal Submission Information

RFP Announced: October 22, 2021

Deadline for Questions (Questions Due to: [email protected]): November 12, 2021

Proposal Submission Due (Submit to: [email protected]): November 24, 2021

Anticipated Start Date: January 2, 2022

Selection Process

The criteria for selection of a successful proposal will include adequacy and completeness of the proposal, general experience, qualifications, and review of prior work. Although pricing will be an important factor, it will not be the only factor considered.

OTF reserves the right to accept or reject any or all bids, to take exceptions to the RFP specifications, and to waive any requirements stated herein.

OTF reserves the right to make an award based solely on the proposals or to negotiate with one or more vendors. Issuance of this RFP, preparation, submission, and evaluation of bidder responses does not commit OTF to award a contract to any vendor. The award of the IDIQ contract does not guarantee the award of work orders under that contract, which will vary based on need and availability. OTF reserves the right to cancel or modify this solicitation at any time for any reason within its sole discretion without liability.

Other Provisions

OTF, in its sole discretion, will make the final determination as to the acceptability of all work products due hereunder.

In the event any portion of the cost of the services provided hereunder includes travel cost reimbursement, the vendor shall obtain advance approval of OTF and all travel expenditures must conform to the Standard Government Travel Regulations.

The awarded contract will be based on OTF’s standard contract terms, including a termination for convenience provision, and will also include the relevant U.S. Government provisions, which are attached here as Appendix A.


1- Debarment, Suspension, Ineligibility, and Voluntary Exclusion. The Consultant certifies that neither it nor any of its principals is presently debarred, suspended, proposed for debarment, declared ineligible, or voluntarily excluded from participation in this Agreement by any U. S. Government department or agency.

2- USG Funding Agency Non-liability. The USG Funding Agency does not assume liability for any third party claims for damages arising out of this Agreement.

3- Travel. The Consultant agrees to use U.S. flag carriers to the extent possible for all air travel and transportation arrangements funded by the U. S. Government under this Agreement. The Consultant must abide by the requirements set forth in the Fly America Act of 1974, which is incorporated by reference.

4- Rights to Invention. Contracts or agreements for the performance of experimental, developmental, or research work shall provide for the rights of the Federal Government and the recipient in any resulting invention in accordance with 37 CFR part 401, “Rights to Inventions Made by Nonprofit Organizations and Small Business Firms Under Government Grants, Contracts, and Cooperative Agreements,” and any implementing regulations issued by the awarding agency.

5- Equal Employment Opportunity. If the Agreement is to be performed in the U. S. or to be performed with employees recruited in the U. S., the Consultant agrees to comply with Executive Order 11246, entitled "Equal Employment Opportunity," as amended, and as supplemented in Department of Labor Regulations (41 CFR Part 60).

6- Nondiscrimination. To the extent such laws apply to the Consultant; the Consultant agrees to abide by U.S. laws in regards to nondiscrimination of U.S. citizens or legal residents working under the Agreement.

7- Worker’s Compensation. For Agreements that require performance outside the United States, the Consultant agrees to provide Worker’s Compensation Insurance (42 U.S.C. 1651, et seq.). As a general rule, Department of Labor waivers will be obtained for persons employed outside the United States who are not United States citizens or residents provided adequate protection will be given such persons. It is the responsibility of the Consultant to obtain such waivers. The Consultant shall notify OTF of all requests for waivers.

8- Anti-Lobbying.  For Contracts of $100,000 or more, the Contractor certifies that no funds will be used to lobby, influence or attempt to influence any person or organization in connection with obtaining any Federal contract, grant or any other award covered by 31 USC 1352.

9- Prohibition on certain telecommunications and video surveillance services or equipment Where applicable, Contractor certifies that none of the funds payable under this contract will be used to procure or obtain the equipment, services, or systems that uses covered telecommunications equipment or services as a substantial or essential component of any system, or as critical technology as part of any system in compliance with the National Defense Authorization Act. Covered telecommunications equipment and services include the following:

  • Telecommunications equipment produced by Huawei Technologies Company or ZTE Corporation (or any subsidiary or affiliate of such entities).
  • For the purpose of public safety, security of government facilities, physical security surveillance of critical infrastructure, and other national security purposes, video surveillance and telecommunications equipment produced by Hytera Communications Corporation, Hangzhou Hikvision Digital Technology Company, or Dahua Technology Company (or any subsidiary or affiliate of such entities).
  • Telecommunications or video surveillance services provided by such entities or using such equipment.
  • Telecommunications or video surveillance equipment or services produced or provided by an entity that the Secretary of Defense, in consultation with the Director of the National Intelligence or the Director of the Federal Bureau of Investigation, reasonably believes to be an entity owned or controlled by, or otherwise connected to, the government of a covered foreign country.

10 - Prioritization of certain enterprises. Where applicable, subcontracts awarded under this contract, Contractor will take all necessary affirmative steps to assure that minority businesses, women's business enterprises, and labor surplus area firms are used when possible.


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