Consultant RFP: Philanthropy for Voter Engagement Initiative
About Nonprofit VOTE
Founded in 2005, Nonprofit VOTE equips our nation’s nonprofits with nonpartisan tools and resources to help the communities they serve participate in voting and democracy. Our work is divided into four major program areas, including building the capacity of nonprofits to do voter engagement through our trainings and resources, engaging the philanthropic sector and other strategic partners, building state capacity through a multi-state field program, and management of the collaborative efforts of National Voter Registration Day. More info here.
About this Role:
Nonprofit VOTE is seeking an experienced consultant to act as the coordinator and facilitator for the Philanthropy for Voter Engagement Initiative. This Initiative seeks to mobilize foundations to support voter engagement among their grantees and within their communities, both directly through grantmaking and indirectly through their actions. This Initiative is not about fundraising for any particular organization, but rather resourcing and supporting critical voter engagement work at nonprofits across the nation.
Funding within the voter engagement space is often cyclical and narrowly focused on groups that do voter engagement work almost exclusively. Such a strategy fails to provide needed consistency and underutilizes the vast nonprofit infrastructure already in place in communities around the nation, including food pantries, housing clinics, family service agencies, community-based organizations, advocacy groups, and other nonprofits that have long-standing, year-around relations with the communities they serve.
The long-term goal of the Initiative is to foster a philanthropic system that consistently supports and resources voter engagement among their grantees and the broader community. The immediate objective is to build upon the work that Nonprofit VOTE conducted in partnership with various philanthropy-serving organizations (PSOs) to produce the Voter Engagement Toolkit for Foundations (both private and community foundation editions) in 2018. The toolkit to be updated identifies common strategies from direct funding of voter engagement work to hosting trainings and revising overly-restrictive grant language.
As the toolkits make clear, a foundation need not be a civic engagement funder to support voter engagement. There are roles for health funders, housing funders, environmental funders and most other types of funders to support voter engagement in a way that enables them and their grantees to more effectively deliver on their missions and strengthen the
communities they serve. The Initiative consultant will work in close partnership with Nonprofit VOTE’s executive director and other key staff.
- Build an array of case studies, best practices, and toolkits that highlight successful foundation strategies for funding and supporting nonprofits doing voter engagement work. Use the toolkit to leverage speaking opportunities and communications that engage the broader philanthropic community ahead of the 2024 election cycle.
- Explore the idea of foundation pledges to fund nonprofits doing voter engagement work, especially direct client-serving community nonprofits in under-voting communities.
- Explore potential partnerships for longer-term work beyond the toolkits that can bring the Initiative to scale. Such a longer-term initiative may involve shared funding, administration, branding, and a unifying campaign like the foundation pledge above.
Key Responsibilities of Consultant:
- Identify potential stakeholders and clearly articulate the objectives of the Philanthropy for Voter Engagement Initiative, exploring options for scaling the work long-term in collaboration with others. Engage civic-focused philanthropy networks in the process. Recommended partnerships to scale can be presented and explored at any time during the initiative, but the goal would be to have options ready by early 2024.
- Identify, develop, and support a working group of foundation and PSO leaders (including some from our own Leadership Council) who will:
- Serve as champions of the work among the broader philanthropic community
- Help think through strategies, provide input into publicity campaigns, and open doors for additional workshops and presentations.
- Help fund the overall work by leveraging support from foundations (Nonprofit VOTE will provide front-end investments on year 1-2, but hope this could ultimately be self-funded initiative, or a jointly managed initiative with other funding partners)
- Collect updated profiles and strategies from 15-20 foundations that support voter engagement within their respective grantee cohorts and networks as a model for others and a vehicle for identifying best practices.
- Outreach to funders, schedule meetings, and collect stories:
- Reconnect with previously profiled foundations to update case studies as needed.
- ID new funders not previously profiled to get their stories. Working group can be used to help us ID new foundations not previously profiled.
- Generate a first draft of case studies (interview notes mostly), and work with Nonprofit VOTE’s development and comms staff to prepare case studies for public use.
- Update strategies and best practices based on case studies.
- Work with Nonprofit VOTE’s comms staff to produce an updated toolkit and case studies by December 2023 or sooner, which may be either a micro-website and/ or updated front-to-back PDF with printed counterparts.
- Work with our comms staff to develop and implement a publicity campaign extending into early 2024 to get the toolkits out via PSO email list serves, virtual and in-person speaking engagements (see below), and more. We may also trickle case studies out as ready through communications strategies
- Outreach to funders, schedule meetings, and collect stories:
- Secure and prepare for 3-5 additional speaking engagements at various funder convenings and meetings of philanthropy-serving organizations on an ongoing basis, but amplified following the release of toolkits. Outreach targets include networks such as the Council on Foundations, United Philanthropy Forum, The Funder Network, PACE, FCCP, and others to make case for funder support of voter engagement.
- The updated toolkit above can be used to help leverage new speaking opportunities (like the one we are doing at TFN)
- May include presenting or co-presenting with philanthropy champions and/or Nonprofit VOTE staff.
- Explore and develop national campaign strategies, in partnership with the working group, that can be run to engage a broader swath of foundations and/or deepen the commitment level of those already doing voter engagement work. This could include a campaign akin to the “Just Add 5” initiative used for advancing the Census GOTC work.
Timeline and Budget: Anticipate 60-70 hours per month from April 2023 – April 2024. We have budgeted $100,000 for the part-time contract work, plus additional in-house resources and support.
Desired skills and qualifications
- Strategic thinker, ability to visualize broader goals and strategy to advance work.
- Ability to identify potential partners, and amplify impact.
- Strong interpersonal skills, established relationships, and ability to work within the funder community.
- Strong interviewing skills and ability to draw out powerful stories, effective strategies, common themes, and best practices.
- Organizational writing skills, including the ability to effectively convey key elements and common themes.
- Strategic thinker and ability to position initiative effectively within the philanthropic community.
- Group facilitation skills, including the ability to convene and move the philanthropy working group
Submissions should include resumes, a narrative of relevant experience, fee structure, and two to three references. Please submit your credentials electronically to firstname.lastname@example.org by EOD on March 15, 2023, to be considered.
Nonprofit VOTE is committed to values of diversity, equity, and inclusion. These values are reflected in our external work to engage marginalized communities in voting and elections. Internally, we seek to build and empower a diverse staff and leadership team. People of color, people with disabilities, women, and LGBTQ+ candidates are strongly encouraged to apply. Nonprofit VOTE is an Equal Opportunity Employer.