REQUEST FOR PROPOSALS
CONSULTANT FOR RESEARCH & EVALUATION
Updated on 3.6.23 to include responses to questions submitted by the 3.2.23 deadline. Responses can be found at the bottom of this webpage.
Step Up is releasing this Request for Proposals (RFP) for a comprehensive evaluation of our inaugural flash mentoring program, Power Talks, which provides short, targeted, skills-based mentoring opportunities for our young adult mentees (ages 18-29) focused on career exploration, decision-making and advancement through live, virtual programming, in-person programming, and via a digital platform. It is expected that the evaluation includes a detailed plan with strategies for collecting, tracking and analyzing qualitative and quantitative methods for each of the program objectives outlined in this RFP, a final report with executive summary that describes evaluation findings for Step Up staff, and a summary handout describing the findings in plain language for non-technical audiences.
Your complete response to this RFP must be emailed to email@example.com by 5:00p.m. ET on March 15, 2023.
2.22.23: RFP posted to Step Up website
2.22.23 – 3.2.23: Questions collected via firstname.lastname@example.org
3.6.23: Responses to questions posted on Step Up website
3.15.23: All proposals due to email@example.com by 5:00p.m. ET
3.15.23 – 3.17.23: Proposal review and selection of finalists
3.20.23 – 3.24.23: Finalists interviews + reference checks
3.28.23: Contractor selection
3.29.23: Contract discussion
4.1.23: Contract approval and execution; Contract begins; Contractor awarded announced via email to all contractors that submitted a proposal
At Step Up, we believe girls deserve to define and pursue success on their terms. By bringing girls together in inspired space, we spark exploration and discussion of what’s possible. With structured support and access to a strong community, we guide girls towards their unique goals: first, by identifying those goals and then, in building the roadmap to get there.
With free programs beginning in high school and continuing throughout young adulthood, Step Up provides the developmental experiences and relationships needed to overcome gender and racial inequities, close the opportunity gap, create meaningful change in their lives, and ultimately succeed in the 21st century.
Step Up’s social emotional skill-building and mentorship programs offer a unique opportunity for the philanthropic community to invest in a workforce development program that aligns with the social enterprise of the 21st century; while simultaneously ensuring communities of young women facing systemic or economic barriers have the resources, support, and network to graduate high school, navigate their academic post-secondary pursuits, and successfully enter the workforce.
Step Up is seeking a consultant that has successful experience in helping similar organizations with their evaluation work, in order to be able tobuild the plan for and carry out a comprehensive evaluation of its new flash mentoring program, Power Talks, which provides short, targeted, skills-based mentoring opportunities for our young adult (ages 18-29) mentees focused on career exploration, decision-making and advancement through live, virtual programming, in-person programming, and via a digital platform. Power Talks overall program objectives are that mentees will: 1) develop action plans + strategies to create a roadmap to achieve their short- and long-term goals, and 2) have increased confidence in their ability to pitch themselves, form meaningful relationships and advance in their careers.
Wednesday, February 22, 2023: Issue RFP
Wednesday, February 22, 2023–Thursday, March 1, 2023: Questions Collected via firstname.lastname@example.org
Monday, March 6, 2023: Responses to questions posted on Step Up website
Wednesday, March 15, 2023: Proposals Due
March 15-17, 2023: Proposal Review and Selection of Finalists
March 20-24, 2023: Finalists Interviews + Reference Checks
March 28, 2023: Contractor Selection
March 29, 2023: Contract Discussion
April 1, 2023: Contract Approval and Execution
SCOPE OF WORK
Step Up seeks the assistance of a consultant with expertise in research and evaluation. The awarded contractor will provide Step Up with technical assistance and expertise to create a detailed evaluation plan and implement this plan for their young adult program, Power Talks, a career exploration, development and advancement flash mentoring program. Also provided by the contractor will be a final report with an executive summary that describes evaluation findings for Step Up staff, and a summary handout describing the findings in plain language for non-technical audiences.
Contractor will set clear methods and expectations for short- and long-term data collection based on their professional experience, knowledge of requirements of data collection, storing and managing data with consideration of involvement of students, minors and sensitive stakeholders.
- Contractor will purchase their own supplies and manage the expenses requested in the budget agreed upon with Step Up.
- Contractor will commit to a regular cadence of communication via email, in-person and virtual meetings throughout the duration of the project timeline.
- Contractor will share all data collected in relation to this evaluation with Step Up on a regular cadence agreed upon in the project timeline.
Areas of research expertise may include:
- Survey research, including sample design, data collection, analysis, and development of needs assessment
- Statistical analyses of performance data including changes in performance outcomes
- Program evaluation, including design, analysis, and report preparation
- Qualitative and mixed methods analysis
- Subject matter expertise in women’s career counseling and development, career assessment, emerging adulthood research, and/or mentoring research
This consultancy would begin in April 2023 and be completed no later than the end of December 2024.
Prepare responses to address the proposal requirements found below. Proposals should be no more than five pages and must contain the following:
- Executive Summary includes a cover letter describing the organization or person applying, their qualifications and capabilities, experience and expertise, and a brief description of mission alignment with this RFP and services that will be provided. Must include a primary contact person, address, e-mail and telephone number.
- Description of Activities for carrying out the Scope of Services. This section of the proposal should describe the way the organization or person applying will provide the scope of services requested in this RFP. Visuals may be included as necessary.
- Schedule - Proposed schedule/durations of activities required for scope completion to be selected from the various schedules proposed.
- Proposed Budget for the scope of work utilizing the categories of allowable expenses detailed in this RFP.
Not included in five-page limit:
- Examples of Projects from the past three years to include problem or research question, approach, and solution or product.
- Two References relevant to the vendor’s expertise is also required.
Proposals may be amended by email (send amendments to email@example.com) if received prior to the submission deadline. It is the sole responsibility of the proposer to deliver the amendment.
Awardee may request a budget up to the amount of $30,000 over a two-year period ($15,000 per year) to execute their proposed evaluation plan. This amount will be paid out in agreed upon installments over the course of the two years and may include the following:
- Staffing - staffing required to provide activities at fair wage
- Supplies (for continued use)- Any supplies that will be used to provide or carry out an evaluation activity and used for the duration of the contract
- Incentives - Monetary or other suggested incentives for participation in focus groups, surveys or otherwise
- Data Collection Tools - Software, equipment or other needs for collecting and storing data
- Travel and Meals - To be provided for staff when travel and meals are required to achieve data collection as a part of the evaluation plan
- Other / Misc. Costs - Additional costs requested by awardee to accomplish the evaluation plan
AWARD OF THE CONTRACT
Selection Process. Step Up will evaluate all submissions for completeness and compliance with the terms and conditions of the RFP. A Selection Committee, consisting of representatives from the Step Up community, along with other individuals deemed necessary, will review qualifications of submittals and evaluate the respondents, based on the following criteria:
- Be submitted on or before the time specified in the Request for Proposals
- Past performance on similar projects
- Qualifications and experience to execute proposed activities
- Alignment with Step Up’s mission and the Power Talks program’s objectives
- Reasonable and fair budget to execute activities to fullest potential
- Proposed Budget for the scope of work – utilizing the categories of allowable expenses detailed in this RFP
- Follow the format published in the RFP
- Include all information requested
- Demonstrate the experience and capacity to perform the services required in the scope of work
- Step Up reserves the right to waive any technicality or informality in the proposal process which is not of substantial nature
All proposals which are determined to be responsive will be moved to the evaluation of written proposal stage. All whose proposals were not found to be responsive will be notified.
Evaluation of Written Proposals. The selection committee will review and score proposals based on the following evaluation criteria:
- Experience – 30%
- Projects of similar scope of work
- Key consultant(s) experienced in similar scope of work
- Working with different groups within the organization– staff and contractors
- Project – 50%
- Focus on outcomes and process as identified in the scope of work
- Methodology to accomplish the outcomes
- Achieving buy‐in from all identified groups
- Total Cost – 20%
Based on the overall score, proposals within the competitive range will be identified. All whose proposals were not found to be in the competitive range will be notified.
Structured Interviews. Contractors with proposal scores in the competitive range will be interviewed by some of the Selection Committee members. Questions to be answered and the method of scoring interviews will be determined and announced at the time companies are invited to the structured interviews. The interview provides the opportunity for the contractor to address questions and to more fully describe how the approach to this project satisfies the evaluation criteria. Contractor representatives at the interview must include those individuals who will be key points of contact and have major responsibility for contract execution. Interview scores will be ranked and the top‐ranking contractor from the interview process will be considered for contract award.
Final Selection. Final reference checks will be conducted with the apparent awardee prior to making the final selection. An award will be made to the selected contractor pending approval.
Submit your proposal to: firstname.lastname@example.org by Wednesday, March 15, 2023, 5:00 pm ET.
Subject: Research and Evaluation Consultant
RESPONSES TO RFP QUESTIONS
Below are the questions directed to Step Up about the Request for Proposal by the deadline of 3.2.23 along with Step Up’s responses. Thank you to those who submitted questions.
Question: What is the size/scale of the program? How many youth (15, 100, 5000) or locations etc.?
Answer: The Power Talks program is set to serve 500 unique young adults ages 18-29 in 2023 and will be serving an estimated 750 unique young adults in 2024. The program will be open to young adults from across the United States with potential for expanding into other countries. There are three different delivery methods for Power Talks. In 2023 the plan is for the following:
- Live, virtual group sessions via zoom (monthly, between 8-10 sessions)
- In person group sessions (one session each in Dallas, NYC, and Nashville)
- Live, virtual 1:1 sessions (launching in July, unlimited # of sessions)
Question: How do youth participate in the program? It isn't clear if all youth participate through a hybrid program (they are engaged in both in person and virtual for instance) or if some are exclusively in person or if all have at least some virtual touch points.
Answer: The program will be open to young adults from across the United States with potential for expanding into other countries. There are three different delivery methods for Power Talks. In 2023 the plan is for the following:
- Live, virtual group sessions via zoom (monthly, between 8-10 sessions throughout 2023)
- In person group sessions (one session each in Dallas (April), NYC (June), and Nashville (fall 2023))
- Live, virtual 1:1 sessions facilitated through digital platform/app(launching in July 2023, unlimited # of sessions)
Once a young adult has enrolled and participated in at least one Power Talks, regardless of the delivery method, they are considered to have participated in the Power Talks program. This means that participants can experience Power Talks in varied ways – some may exclusively experience it in one of the three delivery methods, while others may have a hybrid experience of the program.
Question: How long is the anticipated Flash Mentoring relationship? (i.e., are mentees able to contact a mentor more than once, or is it limited to a one-time meeting?) And, how long are the mentees going to have access to the Power Talks program? (i.e., is this time-limited over the course of a week or month, or are mentees enrolled in the program without a proposed end date and can reach out as needed?)
Answer: The flash mentoring connection between mentee and mentor is 60 minutes; however, repeated connections are delivery method dependent.
- Live, virtual group sessions via zoom – Step Up facilitates a one-time flash mentoring connection
- In person group sessions – Step Up facilitates a one-time flash mentoring connection
- Live, virtual 1:1 sessions facilitated through a digital platform/app– Step Up facilitates potential for unlimited number of new + repeated flash mentoring connections
Mentees are enrolled in the program without a proposed end date. They can participate and reach out as needed until they age out of Step Up’s Young Adult programs which happens at the age of 30.
Question: How many mentees do you anticipate including in the evaluation? Are you enrolling them for the evaluation or would our team be in charge of recruiting them?
Answer: Step Up will be conducting the outreach and recruitment of the mentees for the program.
Question: Same for the mentors- are you all planning on recruiting them? How many are you anticipating would participate?
Answer: Step Up will be recruiting the mentors for the program. We anticipate 400-500 unique mentors will participate in both 2023 and 2024.
Question: Is your preference to have a randomized controlled trial (RCT) where mentees are randomly enrolled into Power Talks vs. no mentoring for a period of time? Or, is your preference to have one group and evaluate the program pre-post?
Answer: We’d prefer one group that has a pre-post evaluation.
Question: Do you have anticipated outcomes that you would like for us to measure? Or, is your preference for the contractor to select outcomes to measure based on the research literature?
Answer: We have established our outcomes domains as connected, confident, and career ready, knowing that the long-term impact of achieving these include higher rates of well-being, having increased power, and having more personal and community freedom. We would be open to the contractor collaborating with us on the indicators that we would like to measure and the specific assessment tools and items (questions) to use which will tell us if our Power Talks participants are in fact becoming more connected, confident, and career-ready.