Theory of Change and Strategic Planning Consultant

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Jobs at SOWA

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Theory of Change and Strategic Planning Consultant
Deadline for Submission:  June 23, 2022

School’s Out Washington (SOWA) is seeking a consultant to design and facilitate a process to clarify an organizational theory of change and develop and write a three-year strategic plan for SOWA.

Organizational Overview
SOWA works to advance equitable outcomes for youth through a well-supported, equitable, and high-quality expanded learning ecosystem. SOWA is dedicated to building community systems to support quality afterschool, youth development and summer programs for Washington’s children and youth ages 5 through young adult, and especially for BIPOC youth and youth in poverty.  We support these programs through: (1) Quality and Training; (2) Policy and Advocacy; (3) Grants to Programs; and (4) Systems Leadership. A commitment to racial equity and social justice underlies all our work.


Theory of Change
SOWA envisions a process to clarify our organizational theory of change, braiding input from staff, board, research, and community stakeholders. Underpinned by a racial equity framework, the Theory of Change (TOC) process should:

  • Work with SOWA leadership and Board-Staff task force to develop the TOC.
  • Engage input and review from community stakeholders, staff, and board (input can also contribute to strategic plan, if feasible)
  • Draft a theory of change that articulates why our activities will contribute to an equitable expanded learning ecosystem in Washington state, including which inputs, activities, and outputs are best aligned to achieving this outcome.

Strategic Plan
SOWA envisions a thorough strategic planning process that builds community and provides shared direction for our organization under a renewed vision and in alignment to our theory of change.  Underpinned by a racial equity framework, the Strategic Planning process should:

  • Engage input and review from community stakeholders, staff and board (some can be gathered along with theory of change input)
  • Undertake a re-articulation of the Mission/Vision
  • Develop directions and strategies for Key Issue Areas
  • Promote organization-wide collaboration for greater impact
  • Articulate approaches that would lead to more focused and high impact programs
  • Identify organizational management and governance structures that will enable implementation of the plan
  • Develop a plan for monitoring progress and adjusting based on changing conditions
  • Check in and evaluate progress on the project with SOWA leadership at multiple points throughout the process and at process completion

The Strategic Plan itself should remain at a strategic level. That is, it will provide clarity on general program directions and internal goals, while avoiding engagement with detailed work plans, which will be the work of staff and board during the implementation phase.

High-Level Timeline: June 2022 to January 2023

*Specific tasks and timelines can change based on the expertise and recommendations of our consultant

June-July 2022Work in collaboration with SOWA leadership to develop the timeline and process for strategic planning. Convene a board-staff task force that will partner with the consultant to advise the process, consider the input, and co-create the recommended TOC and Strategic Plan for board approval
August-September 2022Theory of Change development Community stakeholder input
October – November 2022Strategic planning sessions with all staff, board, and task force
December 2022Draft Strategic Plan for staff review
January 2023Finalize Strategic Plan


  • Work plan, including a schedule and question framework for process with various stakeholders
  • Draft theory of change; Ideally 2 versions—one that can communicate the big ideas externally, and another that is more detailed for internal use
  • Redraft of the Mission and Vision
  • Draft directions and strategies for key issue areas
  • An accompanying analysis of implementation issues raised during the Strategic Planning Process and suggestions for models or best practices related to organizational management, governance, and monitoring of strategic plan progress
  • Two versions of the Strategic Plan with 5-6 high level goals:  1) a detailed version for internal use, and 2) a version for external use


  • Strong group facilitation skills
  • Experience and expertise in strategy and theory of change development
  • Experience and expertise integrating and consensus building among diverse community stakeholders while assuring full participation
  • Strong understanding of structural and institutional racism and awareness of power dynamics
  • Highly skilled at translating and summarizing the discussion outcomes into potential strategies
  • Extensive knowledge of community dynamics and processes
  • Excellent project and time management skills
  • Strong oral and written communication skills

Total cost for the project will not exceed $40,000.

Interested individuals should provide a written response in no more than 3 pages which includes:

  1. Organization/Lead Consultant Background
    Describe the general nature of the organization and/or lead consultant’s work.  Provide information on the education, skills, and experiences that uniquely qualify the lead consultant and/or team for this work.  Provide examples of related work completed with contact information for the organizations served.
  1. Statement of Proposed Work
    Describe the methodologies proposed to complete the theory of change and strategic planning process, including: the approach to partnership and team building, methods for data gathering and information dissemination, and ways to ensure feedback loops between the various stakeholders.  Describe the work plan, including key milestones, and timetables for completion of specific tasks.
  1. Budget, Timeline, and Deliverables
    Provide a detailed budget as well as a description of the specific deliverables that will be submitted, the timeline (with dates for completion of individual planning stages) and expected schedule of compensation.

Email response to Elizabeth Whitford no later than Thursday, June 23, 2022 at 5:00 pm.