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Request for Proposals: Learning & Impact Consultant

Luminate’s Partner Support function is seeking a consultant to accompany us on our learning journey, to help us to make evidence-informed decisions and design more impactful partner support programming. Submissions are due midnight PST, August 31, 2022.

Scope of work

Luminate’s Partner Support team seeks to enhance our monitoring, evaluation, and learning (MEL) initiatives in order to reflect on and improve our programming. The consultant will accompany us on this learning journey, by helping us devise and implement a MEL plan. 

Below are some of our big-picture learning questions. We share these to provide the consultant with more context, but we are not expecting that the consultant will be able to fully answer all of these: 

  1. How effective, efficient, and equitable is our programming? 
  2. Which components of Luminate’s current non-monetary support (stipends, advising, training, gatherings) are the most valuable and why?
  3. Which components of support we should dial up, dial down, start, or stop?
  4. How can Luminate build stronger, trust-based, impactful partnerships with our grantee partners?
  5. How can Luminate’s Partner Support Function better serve Luminate’s programmatic leads / funding leads to provide / offer Partner Support? 

Using examples from specific programmes, here are some of details we want to better understand: 

  1. For our stipend programmesWhat are some of the results (and unintended consequences) of providing small, themed, “protected” grants to select organisations? 
  2. For our exitsWhat was the experience of our partners during the exits from our domestic portfolios in the USA and Europe and from our global Financial Transparency, and Data & Digital Rights work? What did Luminate do to minimise harm and maximise impact during the exiting process? How well did that work? 
  3. For our In-House Advising Programme: For our partners who have been matched with our in-house advisors, or received advising by their Funding Lead, how has this affected their work? What are some of the most compelling reasons for and against matching our partners with Luminate on-staff advisors? 
  4. For our Security work: What do we need to know to improve our preventative (as opposed to reactive) security trainings for partners? 
  5. For our internal work: What should the Partner Support function learn, in terms of supporting our Funding Leads to provide partner support? 

To better understand the answers to (and perhaps to reframe) the questions above, the Learning Consultant(s) will accompany Luminate’s Partner Support Team on a learning journey. This will entail a close collaboration, marked by scaffolding milestones: 

  1. Discovery – a “get-to-know-Partner-Support” phase in which the consultant learns all about Luminate’s partner support projects, programmes, and initiatives, and assesses our MEL needs 
  2. Definition – the consultant and Partner Support team define the parameters of this engagement, including: 1) desired outcomes for the project, 2) which programmes will/should be studied in detail 
  3. Design – the consultant produces and submits a research plan for the PS team’s short-term (2022-2023) MEL needs, including methodology, scripts, surveys, stakeholders, deliverables, etc. After consultation and collaboration, a final research plan is agreed upon 
  4. Doing – the consultant executes on the above research plan, in close consultation with the PS team 
  5. Deliverables – the consultant shares deliverables (reports, slides, presentations) as they are ready 
  6. Destination – the consultant proposes a learning / research plan (high-level overview for consideration; 1-3 pages, not a lengthy, highly-detailed report) for a longer-term PS MEL initiative 

We also anticipate engaging the consultant in ad-hoc advising opportunities throughout this collaboration. For instance, Luminate’s partner support and L&I functions will roll out the Grantee Perception Survey in 2023, and would like to incorporate the selected consultant’s views on custom questions and methodology. 

Outputs

For each respective assessment, the consultant will produce at least the following: 

  • Proposed research design 
  • Scripts / surveys 
  • Summary reports and slides 

Duration

This work will commence in late September 2022 and conclude by the end of November 2023.

Roles and responsibilities

This piece of work is led by Luminate’s Partner Support (PS) team, in collaboration with Luminate’s Learning & Impact (L&I) team. The consultant will have frequent check-ins with the PS lead (Laura Bacon), ad hoc meetings with Luminate’s L&I team, and will likely conduct multiple interviews with other Luminate staff and grantee partners. 

Luminate intends to carry out the following: 

  • Provide written documentation and verbal descriptions of all programmes/projects 
  • Participate in regular check-ins 
  • Provide contact information for necessary interviews / focus groups / etc. 
  • Be available to respond to any questions 

The responsibilities of the consultant we commission include: 

  • Designing and carrying out the assessments listed above (see ‘Scope of Work’)
  • Adhering to Luminate’s values 

Skills and experience

Luminate believes that diversity and inclusion make us more successful in our work, and we seek to identify and contract consultants and organisations from as diverse a pool of applicants as possible. We particularly welcome applications from researchers who are Black, Indigenous, and/or People of Color, as well as those from other under-represented groups.

  • Significant experience with monitoring and evaluation in the philanthropic sector 
  • Significant experience working with both foundations and non-profits 
  • Significant experience working globally, in multiple contexts and cultures, and ideally past work in Luminate’s focus countries (Argentina, Brazil, Colombia, Indonesia, Kenya, Malaysia, Mexico, Nigeria, and South Africa) 
  • Significant experience working in partnership with funders to design creative, dynamic, emergent, multi-method assessments of projects and programmes Adherence to Luminate’s core mission and values
  • Fluent written and verbal communication in English is required. Proficiency in other Luminate languages (Bahasa Indonesia, Spanish, Portuguese, Swahili) is a bonus! 

How to respond

If you are interested in being considered for this role, please send a short proposal to the Partner Support team ([email protected]) by August 31, 2022. Your proposal, no more than 3-5 pages, should include the following: 

  • How you and/or your team would approach this work 
  • Proposed timeline and costs (including day rate of each team member); project budgets should not exceed $70K 
  • Description of a similar or related project that you have carried out

Please also include: 

  • CVs for relevant team members (appendix; NOT included in page limit) 
  • Reference details for at least one funder and one non-profit with whom you’ve worked (appendix; NOT included in page limit)

We cannot comment on proposals during the bidding phase, but we will answer clarification questions at the email above. 

Timeline

  1. Request for proposal Issuance – August 1, 2022 
  2. Submission deadline – midnight PST, August 31, 2022
  3. Interviews and negotiation with top applicants – weeks of September 6 and 12, 2022 
  4. Contract award/notification to unsuccessful bidders – September 17, 2022 
  5. We anticipate that the engagement will run from September 27, 2022, until November 30, 2023 

About Luminate’s Partner Support

At Luminate, we strive to go beyond transactional relationships to transformative partnerships. We envision a world in which deeper and stronger partnerships are built between funders and those working at the front lines to achieve shared aspirations for impact.

We know that our grantee partners need to be as effective as possible to achieve their goals.

Beyond our grants, we invest non-monetary resources (time, networks, skills, birds-eye perspective, etc.) in organisations and ecosystems to collaboratively maximise positive impact.

Our objective is to – in a personalised, tailored way – support grantee partners’ efforts to be more resilient, healthy and inclusive, and well-networked. Examples of partner support include convenings, introductions, advising, recommendations for consultants, peer learning opportunities, stipends, and more. We strive to ensure that 100% of our interested and eligible partners benefit from and receive partner support.

We run partner support initiatives – collaborating with internal and external stakeholders – at three levels:

  1. Global / Cross-Luminate (e.g., Global Partner Peer Learning Gatherings, wellness stipends)
  2. Regional or Country-level (e.g., Potencia partner support programme in Latin America, security training in Kenya)
  3. Individualised / Tailored (e.g., Advising by Luminate staff and external consultants)

The Partner Support function (3 full-time employees, 2 short-term consultants) – created in 2020 – exists to advise on, design, envision, systematise, and track Luminate’s partner support programming. That said, it is our programmatic / funding Leads who are the most partner-facing at Luminate, and end up being on the front lines of partner support delivery.

Submissions for the consultant role are due at midnight PST, August 31, 2022.