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Solutions Blog

Responses to Questions about Garden Tour Coordinator contract position

Below you will find responses to all questions submitted by the deadline stated in the Request for Proposals.  The full RFP is posted below these responses.  If you are interested in submitting a proposal, please do so by 5:00 pm on Monday, October 13, 2014.  


Questions and Answers from the Garden Tour Coordinator Request for Proposals

1.  Is this a volunteer position or is there a salary?  This is a paid contract position.

2.  Is this a part time position?  Yes, it is a part time contract.

3.  Is it a seasonal position?  Past experience shows that the bulk of the work for the event takes place from January through June.

 4.  Is this the first year that TCC has contracted out the event?  This event has been contracted out for the past six years with the same contractor.

 5.  What kind of compensation is allocated for the Garden Tour Coordinator?  The position has been handled for the past six years by the same contractor who moved into the role after doing many parts of the job as a volunteer for several years. She was the first person to be paid as a contractor for the position. The purpose of this RFP process is to get proposals that will help us establish a realistic, competitive level of compensation for this position.

 6.  RFP says annual tour grosses $15k annually. Can you provide a rough breakdown on how much is generated from ticket sales, from the silent auction and from sponsors?  The event has averaged about $16,000 over the past four years (with a high of $17,800 and low of $13,800). In 2014 the general breakdown of income for the event was as follows:  Ticket Sales 45%; Silent Auction 25%; Sponsorships 14%; After Party Donations 8%; Lead Gifts (individuals) 5%; Grants 3%.

7.  Is there someone on staff who has worked the event before and can provide technical assistance to the contracting team?  The Director of Development is available on an ongoing basis to provide general oversight, support and guidance to the contractor. She has been involved with the event since its inception. Another staff person provides support for all social media communications for the event. All other staff plus members of the Fund Development Committee participate in varying ways as supportive resources for the event. The previous contractor has indicated availability and willingness to provide assistance as her schedule permits.

8.  Is there any information available on event expense trends?  Yes, in addition to the amounts paid to the contractor, expenses for the event have grown from $1,000 in 2011 to $1,600 in 2014 (with the average being $1300). Primary expenses include printing, mailing costs and promotional costs (e.g., yard signs and very limited paid advertising).

9.  On average, how many volunteers donate their time each year? Also, are there a significant number of repeat volunteers each year?  We have a core planning committee of about 6-8 volunteers and another 80 – 100 that volunteer the day of the event including garden hosts. Many are repeat volunteers and some are new each year.

10.  Would you want the contract team to provide training to volunteers?  Yes, minimal training is required for day-of volunteers and is generally provided prior to their shifts on the day-of the event.

 11.  Has the Conflict Center held any volunteer trainings in the past? If not, would this be helpful?  Yes, event volunteers are always trained briefly when they come in for their day of event duties.

 12.  Has TCC held volunteer appreciation events in the past? If so, what have those looked like?  Yes, we always do volunteer appreciation through a variety of avenues, including meals and happy hours at neighborhood venues and small gifts and incentives.

13.  Are any of the project expenses part of TCC’s budget or should proposals be all inclusive when it comes to anticipated and unanticipated expenses?  The proposal should focus on the event organizing and coordinating functions only. Other costs are already factored into the budget. We would expect that new event planners will have ideas for growing the event that may necessitate new expenses.

14.  Will the winning contractor have access to past planning processes?  Useful information would include documentation, sponsor information, contacts, garden tour hosts etc.  Yes, there are 14 years of event records as well as the institutional memory of the Director of Development who has been around for all the years of the event.

 15.  What is the budget for this contract? It would be helpful to know the approximate number of hours required by past contractors to deliver an excellent Garden Tour.  The past contractor based their bid on an average of one day per week year round with some months requiring little to no time and other months requiring intensive time. A key strategy to getting it all done is to activate and motivate a strong volunteer base and match them with tasks that work for them. Many times the Coordinator picks up those pieces that are not a good fit or are not getting done by the volunteers.

 16.  What would The Conflict Center like to see improved from past Tours?  We would like to see the event continue to grow especially in terms of sponsorships. In order to attract sponsors we know there needs to be growth in numbers of attendees and in event visibility. Asking for sponsorships always seems to be the most difficult and least desirable volunteer job. We would like to work with someone who brings strong experience and creative approaches to this task. We also want to continue to attract volunteers to assist with the event as we have successfully done in the past. This requires that volunteers—like the people who buy tickets to the event—have a positive experience. This event is also a primary avenue for adding new names to our lists of potential organizational donors and we want to continue this effort.

17.  What has worked well on the Garden Tour that The Conflict Center would like to see continued?  We have amazing volunteer involvement and an event that has a faithful following of participants. We have been very successful with soliciting auction items and participation from the smaller neighborhood businesses. We continue to receive very positive feedback from our volunteers, hosts and attendees that they love the event and look forward to it each year.

 18.  What are the specific skill sets necessary for success?  A successful candidate should bring strong abilities to package and solicit sponsorships at multiple levels. A strong candidate will have event and/or community organizing experience that ideally involved successfully motivating and utilizing volunteers. Key attributes include: strong people skills, good organizational abilities and solid verbal and written communication skills. Ability to engage the general local media and/or to creatively utilize social media is a plus. A dedication to peacemaking and nonviolence and some familiarity or previous involvement with The Conflict Center is preferred but not required.

 19.  How are the gardens on the tour selected?  We have had a key volunteer take on this task for the last few years, finding clusters of gardens in various NW neighborhoods that offer a variety of beautiful and interesting garden features. Sometimes neighborhood gardeners contact us with interest in being hosts. Then we ask them to help recruit others in their vicinity to form a cluster. Most hosts represent amateur gardeners rather than professional landscape architects.   We have received feedback from participants that they like this about the tour.

 20.  How have new garden hosts and sponsors been found in the past?  The volunteer event coordinating committee has worked with the overall event Coordinator to approach potential hosts and sponsors for participation in the event at various levels. Past sponsors are invited back each year and new prospects continue to be identified and approached.

21.  Are there any high value hosts or sponsors The Conflict Center would like to invite or include in the planning of the Tour?  We have been less successful with securing monetary donations from larger businesses and corporate sponsors. There are a number of larger businesses in the community that we would love to have as sponsors but have had limited success with securing these. Gaining enough visibility for sponsors seems to be an issue, so we are looking for creative approaches to sponsor recognition and visibility.

 22.  How did sustainability play a role in previous Tours?  We are always striving to make the event sustainable by offering a fun event that brings people back year after year, while reaching out to new residents and businesses in our evolving and growing NW community. We also continue to educate those participating, as hosts, volunteers, sponsors and guests, about the mission of The Conflict Center to help build loyalty and sustainability for our work.


Final Request for Proposals (please note pertinent deadlines)

Request for Proposal
Event Planning and Organizing Consultant
Enchanted Gardens of Northwest Denver Tour
Distributed:  September 23, 2014
Deadline for Questions:  October 3, 2014 (by email)
Responses to questions sent:  October 9, 2014
Submittal Deadline:  October 13, 2014, by 5:00 pm
Interviews:  Week of October 20, 2014
Award announcement:  October 30, 2014
Ronnie Weiss, Director of Development
The Conflict Center
4140 Tejon Street
Denver, CO 80211
Project Description:  The Conflict Center is requesting qualifications and pricing proposals from event planners and organizers for an annual Garden Tour that has a 14-year track record, grossing approximately $15,000 annually. The Garden Tour is The Conflict Center’s most long-term fundraising and community outreach event that provides critical funds, volunteer engagement, donor development and community visibility for the organization. The event is scheduled for early June each year with organizing occurring year-round, but primarily January through June. Major tasks include:

  • Recruit, motivate, manage and recognize a volunteer event committee, retaining current members and recruiting new members to assist with all event tasks.
  • Coordinate all logistics and tasks for the event, maintaining timelines and event files.
  • Activate current volunteer and donor base, while reaching out to new volunteers and donors.
  • Oversee all event fundraising including grant writing, ticket sales, auction and sponsorships.
  • Generate all event materials and promotions through hard copy and on-line avenues.
  • Ensure accountability, reporting, wrap-up and appreciation to event volunteers, sponsors and donors.
  • Responsible for promoting event through social media, earned media and marketing efforts
  • Carry out communication and evaluation activities with event volunteers, garden hosts, sponsors and attendees.

Request for Proposal: Please submit your proposal including the following information:

  • Contact Information – include name, telephone number, email and website, if applicable.
  • Documentation of experience – discuss qualifications and attach resume(s) of individual(s) who will be assigned to the project outlining relevant experience.
  • Examples of past projects – outline similar event experience and provide list of references.
  • Event Sustainability – discuss your experience, ideas and strategies for creating event growth and sustainability.
  • Estimated project costs – outline number of hours, hourly fee and estimate of total costs anticipated for the project.  Also outline coverage for workers compensation insurance.

All questions and proposals should be submitted to Ronnie Weiss, Director of Development by mail or email at the contact information listed above, according to the schedule outlined above.
Award:  Award of the project will be based on written responses and results of references and interviews.  Decision announcement by October 30, 2014. Thank you for your time and interest.


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Silent Auction: Ready, set, shop!

This year’s massive silent auction is almost here, so we wanted to give you a preview of what will be up for bid.  We have over 100 items in this year’s auction, so there really is something for every budget and taste!  If you are pressed for time or may not make it back to The Conflict Center to check on your bids, we will offer special “buy it now” pricing on certain items.  Click here to visit The Garden Tour’s Facebook Page to see a preview of this year’s silent auction items!  (And while you’re there, “like” their page to stay up to date on garden tour happenings.)

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Intern Farewells

Each year The Conflict Center hosts several interns from a variety of undergraduate and graduate programs.  Over the course of their year-long placements with us, these interns become part of the Conflict Center family, so at the end of each school year we have the bittersweet experience of bidding farewell to these wonderful peacemakers.  Please join us in recognizing and appreciating this year’s interns for their amazing contributions to our peacemaking efforts, and in wishing them all the best in their next steps and new careers!

2013-2014 interns

Pictured above, from left: Jessica Cabral (International Disaster Psychology, University of Denver); Sera Trestone-Pastore (Social Work, University of Denver); Sarah Male (Human Services, Community College of Denver); Audrey Williams (Social Work, Metropolitan State University Denver); Jill Schmidt (Social Work, University of Denver).  Not pictured: Maritza Torres (Social Work, University of Denver); Jessica Martinez (Social Work, Metropolitan State University Denver)


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