Funding Opportunities



REQUEST FOR PROPOSALS
2020 LOS ANGELES COUNTY WIC SURVEY
Due By: 6 p.m. PST on March 31, 2020

PHFE, a California nonprofit corporation, is seeking to contract with a survey research firm to conduct the 2020 Los Angeles County WIC Survey. The contractor will conduct a telephone survey of 6,000 recipients of the Special Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infants and Children (WIC) in Los Angeles County.
The following is a summary of the specifications and survey procedures to be followed by the selected contractor:

  • Survey 6,000 WIC recipients in Los Angeles County. The survey will be conducted by telephone in English and Spanish by professionally trained and monitored telephone interviewers working from a central location call center.
  • The survey will include a countywide random sample of 4,750 WIC recipients and augmented samples of WIC recipients within selected sub-regions of the county. The augmented samples will include approximately 250 interviews among a random sample of WIC recipients in the county’s Antelope Valley Service Planning Area, and approximately 1,000 additional interviews among random samples of WIC recipients in First5 LA’s fourteen Best Start communities. The exact allocation of interviews across the fourteen Best Start communities will be determined in consultation with the contractor, with the goal of obtaining minimum sample sizes within each community based on interviews from the countywide cross section sample and from the augmented samples.
  • Eligible respondents will include the mothers or primary caregivers of children age 0-5 who receive WIC benefits or mothers who are currently pregnant and only qualify for WIC benefits as a result of their pregnancy.
  • Random samples of eligible respondents will be drawn by PHFE WIC program staff from its internal list of WIC recipients within each jurisdiction, and will be provided to the contractor at no cost. The file will include the recipient’s telephone number, the recipient’s first name, and his/her preferred language, along with the appropriate target population from which it was drawn.
  • PHFE WIC staff will mail out a pre-approach letter to each WIC recipient selected for the survey prior to telephone survey administration. This will not only serve to alert the respondent that an interviewer calling on WIC’s behalf will be contacting them in the near future, it will also help to identify and update listings that may be incorrect or out-of-date, thereby reducing the number of unusable listings called. These mailings and re-mailings will be closely coordinated with the contractor to maximize survey response.
  • PHFE WIC staff will also be responsible for mailing out a thank you note, including a $10 gift card gratuity, to each survey participant shortly after completion of their interview. The timing of the post-survey mailings will be coordinated with the contractor, so that they are mailed out within two weeks of survey administration.
  • PHFE WIC staff will have primary responsibility for the development of the survey instruments. Two slightly different questionnaires will be developed. The main questionnaire will be administered to parents or primary caregivers with one or more children under age 5 who currently receive WIC services. A second, somewhat shorter, questionnaire will be administered to women who are currently pregnant and only qualify for WIC benefits as a result of their pregnancy. The contractor may assume that over 95% of all interviews will be completed with respondents using the main questionnaire. (Copies of the main questionnaire from prior LA County WIC Surveys are available at www.lawicdata.org).
  • The average interview length of the main questionnaire will not exceed 25 minutes in English (or 30 minutes in Spanish), and all questions will be closed-ended. The contractor may assume that about half of the interviews will be conducted in English and about half in Spanish. The survey instruments will be based largely on those developed for the last LA County WIC Survey in 2017, but up to 25% of the questions may be new or revised versions of previous questions. The contractor will be expected to offer professional advice and assistance to PHFE WIC staff throughout the questionnaire development process.
  • Once the survey instruments have been finalized, PHFE WIC staff will be responsible for translating them into Spanish, and for securing all necessary IRB approvals applicable to the study.
  • The contractor must specify whether they will use CATI programming to administer the survey and, if not, what survey technology they would be using.
  • Prior to the start of full-scale data collection, the contractor will conduct a pre-test of the survey instruments with eligible respondents in English and Spanish.
  • Since many of the telephone listings provided to the contractor will be cell phones, and these will not be identifiable in advance, all telephone numbers must be hand dialed and may not be placed using auto-dialers.
  • Access to the sample list files containing subjects’ telephone numbers will be limited only to essential staff who require such access. The contractor must take measures to insure that all data collection, including pre-testing, be conducted so that the telephone numbers being dialed are blind to the interviewers placing the call. In the past this has been done by having the call management system scramble the telephone numbers shown to the interviewer. After the scrambled number is dialed, the call management system unscrambles the number before placing the call.
  • Up to sixteen attempts should be made to attempt to reach and interview each eligible subject. Calls should be attempted throughout the day and early evening hours on weekdays and on weekends.
  • Results of a 2019 survey conducted with WIC families from across California demonstrated a reduction in response rates compared to the 2017 Los Angeles County WIC Survey, particularly among English-speaking participants. The contractor is invited to propose additional strategies (i.e. hybrid methods for collecting data such as online + phone surveys) for reaching families who may not readily answer a phone survey. However, it is essential that the methodology applied to the 2020 survey allow for comparisons to be drawn to data collected in the previous administrations of the LA County WIC Survey (conducted triennially since 2005).
  • After the completion of interviewing, the contractor will be responsible for checking the data file to make sure the data are internally consistent and free of error. The contractor will also provide recommendations and assistance in developing post-stratification statistical weights, as appropriate, and include them in the data file.
  • Upon completion of data processing, the contractor will provide PHFE WIC staff with a SAS data file, along with a detailed data codebook. The contractor will also prepare a written description of the survey methods used to implement the survey, including a disposition of all interview attempts, at the conclusion of the project. The contractor will not be responsible for preparing any survey tabulations or written analyses of the data.

Proposed Timeline

The following is the proposed timeline for the completion of the survey’s major milestones:

Proposal due                                                                                  March 31, 2020

Questionnaire development                                                           April 30, 2020

Finalize survey instruments and translate into Spanish

Secondary development                                                                May – July, 2020

Obtain IRB approval, develop sample listings, program survey instruments questionnaires, and pre-testing

Data collection                                                                                August–December, 2020

Train interviewers and complete full-scale data collection

Data processing and preparation of deliverables                           January 31, 2021

Data cleaning, weighting, prepare data file, and methods report

Cost Estimate and Scope of Work

Contractors should prepare a single fixed price cost estimate and detailed scope of work that is responsive to the survey specifications and procedures described above. Estimates should not include any of the costs of mailing or re-mailing pre-approach letters or the mailing of post-interview thank you notes, with accompanying $10 gift cards after the completion of survey interviews.

Due Date and Contact Information:

An email containing a cost estimate and scope of work is due by 6pm PST on March 31, 2020 and should be addressed to Catherine Martinez (datamining@phfewic.org). Proposals received after the due date will not be considered.

If you have any questions, feel free to contact us at datamining@phfewic.org.

To learn more about PHFE WIC, visit: www.phfewic.org.

Frequently Asked Questions

  • How much sample would you expect to utilize?  Is sample managed all in one wave or are multiple waves utilized?
    • We download a full sample of 20,000 families and open lists of 1,000 at a time until we reach 6,000 participants.
  • What have been your past survey response rates? 
Year Resp
2011 50%
2014 50%
2017 52%
  • Are you open to some experimentation in the methods to allow for longer term changes/improvements while maintaining ability to trend data?
    • Yes we are open to suggestions.
  • The requirement for telephone numbers being masked to interviewers, this is atypical.  Is this a requirement? 
    • Sorry this is a strict rule, the State of California will only allow PHFE WIC to contract with an outside entity who does not share participants phone numbers with the phone interviewers.
  • You indicate all the numbers need to be hand dialed. What if we are able to identify cell numbers via a scrubbing program prior to dialing?  Could we then use the auto-dialer for cell numbers?
    • We will be able to tell you the type of device associated to the numbers provided (i.e. landline or cellphone).
  • Why are you considering a new partner for this year’s survey, rather than sticking with 2017’s vendor?
    • This is being put out to bid as part of an internal policy.
  • Can you give us a sense of the budget range/ceiling? 
    • We unfortunately cannot provide guidance on the budget as this is meant to be competitive bidding process.
  • Can you provide a Methodology Report or Technical Documentation for the 2017 survey administration?
    • Sorry, this is not available.
  • What CATI software and dialing technology was used in 2017?
    • Survox (formerly CFMC).
  • The proposal says contractors can suggest alternative ways to increase response rates, i.e. on-line surveys. Can PHFE provide email addresses for sampled members? Alternatively, texting a link to an on-line survey can also increase response but requires prior permission from the sample member. Would PHFE be willing and able to obtain permission from sample members for texting a survey link.
    • We will know if phone numbers are cell phones but we do not know if we will be able to text participants. Not all agencies have the capacity to text.
  • Would you be able to provide appended information to each respondent in the sample to allow for the selected vendor to do response propensity modeling (such as age, race, income, number of children, address, etc.)?
    • Due to confidentiality protocols, we can only provide the necessary information to conduct the surveys in order to protect our participants information.
  • Can we propose to vary the promised incentive experimentally (e.g., some get $5, some, $10, some $15) or must each respondent get the same amount (research indicates that different groups respond to differential incentives, which can help reach those who are hardest to reach)?
    • Yes you can propose different models in your submission but please note we only have $10/participant available.
  • How many “break offs” do you typically experience for this survey (respondents who start but do not complete the full interview)?  
    • Unfortunately, we cannot provide this information.
  • In the prior studies, did you do any refusal conversion telephone calls?  If so, what was the protocol and the success rate for converting initial refusals?
    • No, we are required to respect a participant if they refuse to participate in the survey as it is voluntary.
  • In the prior studies, did you allow for call-ins (providing a toll-free number to respondents to make an in-bound call to complete the questionnaire)?  If so, what % of completes were call-ins?
    • Call-ins were used only in a rare scenario during the last survey year for a very small sample of the population.
  • It does not appear that the data were weighted in the past to represent the full population of interest.  Would you be interested in that being a part of the process with your vendor?
    • The sample has been weighted to be more representative of the population in Los Angeles County.
  • Have the sampled recipients consented to be called by you/on your behalf?  What about consented to be texted? If they have then why must numbers be manually dialed?  Also, if they have consented was it explicitly or implicitly?
    • No, they have not consented. We are asking for consent during the screener as required by the IRB.
  • Can you provide a summary of full final sample dispositions from the last study?  (Final status for full sample)
    • Unfortunately, we cannot provide this information.
  • The augmented samples are targeting specific communities.  Will the information for which community/strata the respondent is in be included for each sample record?  Will the client be constructing the oversample plan or will you want to vendor to manage this task?
    • The information will be provided for which communities will need to be oversampled and the records will be flagged by our staff. The management of the numbers required of these communities is performed by the vendor to hit the targets.
  • Do you have emails for respondents; and if so can they be used to contact respondents?
    • Not all respondents have provided emails as a point of contact, we may need to ask for consent to email participants.
  • Can you tell us more about the sub-regions that you are planning (Antelope Valley and the Best Start communities)?  Are there specific characteristics about these communities that would be helpful to know about to effectively design a contact plan?
    • Antelope Valley is oversampled as it is a smaller community and Best Start communities are of interest to our funder.  More information about Best Start Communities can be found on the First 5 LA website.