Crossroads Fund is looking for a consultant to help us implement a tool to measure our social change impact. See the RFP below for more information:
Consultant to refine and implement evaluation tool – Request for Proposal
Crossroads Fund supports community organizations working for racial, social and economic justice in the Chicago metro region. As a community foundation, our grantmaking decisions are guided by community activists. Supporting new, emerging groups is what Crossroads Fund is all about. Since 1981, we’ve funded hundreds of organizations using innovative strategies to address the most topical issues of the day. Our grantees work to change systems and policies in an effort to make Chicago more just and equitable for all. To learn more on our approach and work please visit our website at www.crossroadsfund.org.
Background to the evaluation tool
The first mention of an evaluation tool came out of the strategic planning work completed in 2004 and a discussion around the form of organizing Crossroads supports. The most common form of organizing in Chicago is the Alinsky model which has some limitations in terms of; not working over the long haul with communities to develop authentic leadership, limited gender and race analysis, not acknowledging different communities requiring different organizing strategies, etc. Crossroads Fund grantees incorporate some elements of the Alinsky model while also incorporating additional strategies that address community specific requirements. As the discussion progressed it presented another question on how best to articulate why Crossroads Fund selects the groups that it funds and what the groups were accomplishing toward social change more specifically. The idea of developing an evaluation tool to measure this came up.
Evaluation tool working group
A working group was formed to provide input as the evaluation tool was created and to provide suggestions on its implementation thereafter. The working group is composed of Crossroads Fund Board members, grantees, researchers, evaluation practitioners and organization development consultants. In addition to the working group members, there is an advisory team mainly of academicians that acts as a sounding board to the working group.
At the moment the working group has produced a draft tool that looks at indicators of social change impact related to four types of social transformation (cultural transformation, community transformation, institutional transformation and sustainable transformation), and links these “domains” of transformation with five areas of capacity (communications capacity, leadership capacity, strategic capacity, research capacity and infrastructure capacity) we believe are required to achieve them.
Part of what excites us about the current version of the tool is that it can be used in multiple applications – as a planning document, or as a way to gauge work that has already been accomplished, by individual organizations, or by Crossroads Fund as a whole. It is not a “one size fits all” approach, but allows grantees to articulate their own goals, needs and assets, in consultation with Crossroads Fund, or in peer exchange conversations with one another. It values some of the specific forms of organizing and social change goals that make Crossroads Fund grantees unique – like prioritizing the leadership development of those most directly affected by issues of racial, economic and social injustice -- as an end and not just a means. It also makes an attempt to achieve the Crossroads Fund theory of change by situating our own and our grantees’ work within a framework of broader movements and movement-building.
We are looking for a consultant to help us bring the tool to the next stage by piloting it with a small group of our grantees
Consultant Job Description
The consultant will work closely with the evaluation tool working group, grantees, staff and other stakeholders to refine the evaluation tool, oversee implementation of the tool for both Crossroads Fund grantees and Crossroads Fund, document the process and make recommendations as the process moves along. Responsibilities associated with this include but are not limited to:
- Provide input on the existing evaluation tool based on best practices and knowledge of evaluating social change work.
- Facilitate evaluation tool grantee pilot group to ensure; deep understanding of the tool, incorporation of grantee feedback to the tool and ensure there is enough buy in to use the tool to evaluate social change work.
- Work with grantees individually to ensure clarity in the use and purpose of the tool.
- Work with Crossroads Fund Board and staff on using the evaluation tool to examine our own grantmaking and programs and their contribution to movement-building.
- Help Crossroads Fund develop mechanisms for understanding in a more direct and specific way the role our grants play in assisting grantees achieve their social change outcomes.
- The consultant will analyze and synthesize the results from the grantee pilot group as well as the efficacy of the implementation process.
- Analysis of data and recommendations in the form of a formal written report.
- Help Crossroads Fund develop ongoing mechanisms and report formats to synthesize and analyze data collected through our evaluation tool for presenting our own impact to the general public.
- Help Crossroads Fund design mechanisms to convert qualitative findings into quantitative findings that can be shared with the general public.
Qualifications (consultant’s knowledge, skills and abilities)
- Experience and knowledge of evaluating social change work.
- Ability to work with community based social justice grassroots organizations that are; small in budget size, working on various social justice issues, volunteer run organizations, at various stages of organizational growth and organizations using nontraditional organizing models.
- Experience working with people of all backgrounds and experiences.
- Excellent writing and interpersonal skills, attention to details, team player and ability to manage multiple constituents and stakeholders.
- Willingness to share knowledge and skills with participants of the evaluation tool process to empower them with the same.
- Commitment to social change and progressive politics.
- Sense of humor.
- October- November 2011: Interview evaluation tool consultants, hire consultant. Bring consultant up to speed on existing documents.
- November-December 2011: Consultant meets individually with pilot grantees to facilitate understanding of the tool, provide a safe space for critical feedback of the tool, facilitate implementation and communication of findings from the evaluation tool.
- November 2011-January 2012: Consultant conducts research to begin structuring their foundation (Crossroads Fund) -level analysis.
- December 2011: Work with Communications/Fundraising staff to identify designer to structure the text that accompanies the tool, in order to maximize its accessibility.
- Early January 2012: Staff/consultant meets with pilot group for check-in.
- January 2012: Determine next steps, timeline for consultant’s report.
- January – July 2012: Consultative role in monitoring feedback and progress of the evaluation tool pilot.
The project will be supervised and directed by the Program Director in consultation with the Executive Director. The Evaluation Tool working group will act as an advisory body. The consultant will work most closely with program staff, including the Program Director and Program Associate, but will have some contact with fundraising and communications staff and Crossroads Fund board members in helping them apply the tool to their own work within the organization.
- Technical experience and knowledge in evaluating social change work
- Ability to work with grassroots social justice organizations.
- Ability to complete the task successfully and in a timely manner
- Good record of past performance
- Solid execution plan
Interested consultants should submit the following, no later than 5:00pm on October 21st 2011, to Jane Kimondo at Jane@crossroadsfund.org or mail/ deliver to Crossroads Fund 3411 West Diversey, Suite 20, Chicago, IL 60647.
- A proposal describing your qualification in evaluating social change work.
- Description of how you would approach this assignment.
- Tools that you would use i.e. type of data analysis, specific software, feedback mechanism during the course of the project etc.
- Sample/s of similar work completed successfully.
- Names, phone numbers and contact people at three nonprofit organizations that you have provided evaluation services in the last 18 months, whom we can call as references.
- A firm itemized estimate of fees and related costs associated with the project. Costs should take into consideration that Crossroads Fund is a relatively small foundation.
Interview with finalists will be held soon after the October 21st, 2011 deadline.
Crossroads Fund reserves the right to select the consultant determined to closely match the experience, knowledge and skills set that fit the project and to negotiate all fees associated. Any material generated from the project is the sole property of Crossroads Fund.