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Strategic Planning Consultant

Greater Boston Legal Services
Job Title: Strategic Planning Consultant
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Job Search Ends:
July 10th, 2020
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Request for Proposal for Strategic Planning Consultant

Summary of Essential Information

Greater Boston Legal Services, Inc., a private non-profit organization, seeks proposals to assist the organization with developing a five-year strategic plan.

•   Hiring date: July 17, 2020

•   Proposed beginning of work: August 1, 2020

•   Approximate completion date: December 31, 2020

•   Respond to: Jacquelynne J. Bowman Jbowman@gbls.org

Organizational Overview

Greater Boston Legal Services (GBLS) is a non-profit civil legal aid program serving the low-income and elderly residents of greater Boston (the city of Boston plus 31 surrounding towns and cities.). GBLS is the oldest civil legal aid program in New England and the largest in Massachusetts. GBLS’ mission is to work for social and economic justice to improve the lives of low-income people through legal assistance that protects fundamental rights, secures access to basic needs, and challenges policies and practices that harm our clients. GBLS pursues its mission through individual advocacy, legislative and administrative advocacy, community lawyering and outreach, media contact, community legal education, and partnerships with community based organizations and other human service providers. Through our advocacy in more than 10,000 cases each year, many of the state’s most vulnerable residents obtain safe and stable housing; access unemployment, disability and other benefits to stabilize their income; break free from domestic violence; get needed support to stay in school; secure relief from unfair consumer debt practices; and obtain humanitarian-based immigration relief. The vast majority of GBLS’ clients have household incomes that fall below 125% of the federal poverty level.

The basic design of GBLS’ delivery system and governing body has been largely unchanged since 1996 when GBLS gave up federal funding from the Legal Services Corporation due to significant restrictions placed on the use of the funds making it challenging to fully serve our client communities. At that time, GBLS was essentially the only provider of free legal assistance to low income populations in the area.  Today, that landscape has changed with many pro bono projects and other entities providing services in the greater Boston region. These changes come with opportunities and challenges that we would like to address in this strategic planning process. We wish to (1) strengthen and clarify our role in the social justice arena; (2) make strategically focused choices about our advocacy priorities: (3) assess our organizational structure and how we deliver services; (4) evaluate our governance structure and (5) provide a strategic focus for our resource development efforts.

Planning Objectives

We seek a consultant who can help facilitate a Board and staff owned strategic planning effort to: (1) arrive at clearly articulated client-centered goals for our work; (2) examine how our goals are served or impeded by our staffing, management and governance structures, technology systems, fundraising and communications efforts; (3) identify strategies to achieve our goals; and (4) determine how to sustain or develop the capacities and organizational structure we need to continue achieving our goals. The goals must reflect a clear vision of GBLS’ role in the communities that it serves and in the various forums in which it engages.

Process and Project Deliverables

The consultant will work with a steering committee of Board members, GBLS management and staff representatives to develop a five-year strategic plan.

The process of developing the plan should include:

  • Gathering and analyzing quantitative data, including data on GBLS’ inputs, outputs, and outcomes, from GBLS and other sources;
  • A review of GBLS’ operating environment, including document review, surveys, interviews and focus groups – with GBLS staff and board members; clients and members of client communities; service providers and other community partners; justice system stakeholders; competitors; and other external sources.

The final plan should include:

  • clear and prioritized five-year organizational goals, including both organizational development goals, governance and program goals;
  • strategies that GBLS can pursue to achieve its goals and objectives, taking into account GBLS’ projected and actual available resources;
  • an action plan for implementation, with a timetable and benchmarks;
  • a framework for annual monitoring and reevaluation of progress under the plan; and
  • the final plan should be written as an outward-facing document that GBLS can share, in whole or in part, with funders and other stakeholders.

Proposal Format

Please try to be as concise as possible in responding to this RFP. Responses should not exceed 10 single-spaced pages, not counting attachments, and must be delivered via email to Jbowman@gbls.org

1.  Introduction and executive summary of no more than 1 single-spaced page.

2.  Description of your proposed approach to facilitating the strategic planning process.

3.  Proposed project schedule.

4.  Cost proposal, including a breakdown of costs.

5.  Brief profiles of the consultant and other key project personnel, with a focus on relevant experience.

6.  Attachments:

  • Three references.
  • Two examples of completed strategic plans.

Evaluation Process and Timeline

This RFP will be released on June 15, 2020. Proposals are due by 5:00 pm EST on July 10, 2020. Before that date, we will respond via email to any questions about the RFP (Jbowman@gbls.org). We will select a vendor by July 17, 2020. Vendors whose responses have not been selected will be notified via email.

Terms and Conditions

  • Work for Hire: All deliverables will be owned by GBLS, its successors and assigns.
  • Costs of Preparing Responses: GBLS will not pay any vendor costs associated with preparing responses to this RFP.
  • Responses Property of GBLS: Materials submitted in response to this RFP will not be returned.
  • RFP Amendments/Cancellation/Reissue/Reopen: GBLS reserves the right to change the RFP schedule or issue amendments to this RFP at any time. GBLS also reserves the right to cancel or reissue this RFP.
  • No Obligation to Enter a Contract:
    • GBLS shall not be obligated to enter into a contract with any vendor that has responded to this RFP, whether or not the vendor's response has been evaluated and whether or not the vendor has been determined to be qualified.
    • GBLS reserves the right to request an interview with any vendor and/or a demonstration from any vendor prior to entering a contract with that vendor. If a vendor declines the request for an interview or demonstration for any reason, the vendor may be eliminated from further consideration.
  • Multiple Contracts: GBLS reserves the right to enter contracts with more than one vendor as a result of this RFP.
  • Non-Endorsement: The selection of a vendor pursuant to this RFP does not constitute an endorsement of the vendor's services. The vendor agrees to make no reference to GBLS in any literature, promotional material, brochures, sales presentations, or the like without the express written consent of GBLS.


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