Consulting Services for Strategic Planning Process


Contract Duration: October 2019 through December 2020

Proposal Deadline: June 28, 2019 at 5 p.m. Pacific


Organizational Background

Based in the Pacific Northwest and Mountain States, Western States Center (WSC) works nationwide to strengthen inclusive democracy. For 30 years, our work has advanced gender, racial, and economic justice by convening, developing, organizing, and supporting the communities most affected by inequities. We are one of the nation’s leading organizations working to combat white nationalism and authoritarianism and assist civil society to effectively respond to social movements that exploit bigotry and intolerance. In 2018, in response to the current climate of heightened threats to inclusive democracy, we refocused our work into four pillars: Movement Building, Leadership Development, Shifting Culture, and Defending Democracy.

Our last strategic planning process was in 2013, and the resulting three-year plan outlined program priorities that have been largely achieved. Since then, we’ve had an executive director transition, developed robust new programs, seen evolutions in other historic programs, and increased operations capacity and overall staffing. While the 2013 strategic plan provides an important touchstone for orienting our ongoing vision and strategies, we’re ready for a new forward-thinking plan that can bridge the spirit of past frameworks to current opportunities. Thanks to a capacity building grant from Meyer Memorial Trust, we are able to conduct strategic planning in 2019 and 2020. Through a collaborative board and staff process, we’re eager to coalesce around an overarching strategy, clarify a number of high-level organizational development needs, as well as shape a current and inspiring vision for our work ahead. To accomplish this, we are seeking a consultant or team of consultants to lead us in a process to develop a new multi-year strategic plan.


Scope of Work and Responsibilities

Western States Center will contract with a consultant or team of consultants to facilitate, advise, and guide the organization in establishing and implementing a process that will result in a new multi-year strategic plan. This process will involve outreach to and participation from board, staff and key stakeholders across the region and nationally. We envision our new strategic plan will be a flexible road map to advance our mission, guide our growth, attract additional resources, and implement priority external programs and operational goals. The plan will also outline our vision, values and core strategies.

The consultant(s) will be expected to implement a scope of work and specific deliverables set forth in a signed contract, to be completed by December 31, 2020. The consultant(s) will also meet regularly with executive staff and designees of the board by phone and in-person when possible to discuss focus, priorities, and process. Staff will provide past strategic planning process documentation as well as context-setting notes from recent board and staff conversations to align strategic direction and brainstorm goals for the upcoming process and new plan.

While we are open to the recommendations of our consultant(s), we anticipate a 15-month scope of work to include:

  • Work with WSC executive staff to develop a project timeline and scope that incorporates an effective framework and outreach strategy to manage and implement the process.

  • In collaboration with executive staff and the board strategic direction committee, establish a working group to support the process.

  • Guide planning and facilitation of stakeholder feedback to engage at least 30 influencers, with a stakeholder engagement plan finalized by December 31, 2019, even though outreach will occur in 2020.

  • Develop web surveys and interview guidelines as needed to solicit stakeholder feedback.

  • Support staff to build a framework for an assessment of current program partners and operational relationships using a DEI lens.

  • Facilitate and/or attend relevant meetings with staff and board to surface collective thinking and clarify goals to inform both final plan content and foundational pieces like shared values and theory of change.

  • After an approved outline, provide draft strategic plan for review and comment, and prepare final plan.


Consultant Qualifications

In addition to relevant organizational development experience and expertise in strategic planning processes, the ideal consultant(s) will have:

  • Experience working with communities of color and LGBTQ communities;

  • Strong understanding of racial justice and anti-oppression principles;

  • Deep knowledge of how organizations can shift internal culture;

  • Excellent communication skills including written, interpersonal and facilitation;

  • Strong understanding of group dynamics and ability to play a collaborative role and create a cooperative process;

  • Ability to ask provocative questions and offer grounded feedback and insightful reflections to participants;

  • Ability to facilitate a generative process that allows for divergent perspectives to be present, for seeking and strengthening shared ground, and for courageous participation in tackling challenging questions;

  • Proactive, independent approach and ability to manage multiple tasks and meet deadlines;

  • Program evaluation experience; and,

  • An ability to operationalize an equity lens in organizational plans.



The consultant(s) will be paid as a contractor and we anticipate a total project fee in the range of $20,000-$25,000.


Proposal Guidelines

Proposals should include the following:

  • Resume;

  • Narrative explaining why you feel you are the right person or team for this contract, citing examples of past leadership in strategic planning processes and how your experience can be applied to WSC;

  • List of current and former clients and projects; and,

  • A proposed work plan and timeline for the project, and your fee information.


What’s Next

Interested consultants are encouraged to contact Amy Herzfeld-Copple, Deputy Director of Programs and Strategic Initiatives, at to schedule informational calls or request background materials. Proposals will be accepted until 5 p.m. Pacific on Friday, June 28, 2019. A joint board and staff team will conduct interviews in late-July.