Operational Planning Consultant

RFP Release Date:
December 12, 2022
Deadline to Apply: January 17, 2023 
Role: Operational Plan Consultant
Compensation: $40,000 - $50,000
Length of Engagement: 6 months 

Youth Speaks is seeking a dynamic, culturally-responsive and results-oriented consultant or team of consultants to assist its Executive Director, Board of Directors and Leadership Team in the development of a clear 18-month Operational Plan as we expand our strategies, internal infrastructure and business model during a moment of growth. Committed towards the future of a narrative field powered by youth voices, the Operational Plan Consultant will: 1) work with staff and Board of Directors to create a plan to help operationalize innovative programs that positions youth poets and storytellers as core influencers of narrative and cultural change; 2) develop the capacities to measure that impact; 3) scenario plan for the next wave of staffing needs; 3) work with staff and Board of Directors to assess and/or adjust our current revenue strategies to support the above.


Operational plans are extremely specific, detail-oriented plans that clearly define how a department and/or team(s) across departments can contribute to reaching specific strategic goals. While a strategic plan provides the vision, direction and goals for an organization, an operational plan translates the vision, direction and goals into everyday workflow for an organization informed by those strategic priorities. The right operational planning consultant for Youth Speaks will be someone who can help teams across departments understand exactly what to do each day and for how long so that the organizational ecosystem works together to achieve goals successfully. By the end of the project, the consultant/firm will have powerfully guided the organization in answering the following questions:

  • Where are we now?
  • Where do we want to be?
  • How do we get there?
  • How do we measure our progress?

Consultant will be provided a copy of Youth Speaks’ current strategic plan, FY22 and FY23 organizational budgets, programmatic priorities and organization chart.


Through the intersection of arts education and youth development practices, civic engagement strategies, and high-quality artistic presentation, Youth Speaks creates safe spaces that challenge young people to find, develop, publicly present, and apply their voices as creators of societal change.


For the last 26 years, Youth Speaks has built a brand and global online reach within the field of youth voice, spoken word, and youth development to catalyze large-scale social change centering the identity, power and imaginations of young people.

Moving forward we are continuing to celebrate the power of individual youth voices and more intentionally connecting this to collective narrative power building. Our vision for organizational innovation at Youth Speaks lives inside a question we’ve been asking: What greater impact could Youth Speaks have on today’s generation of youth writers, storytellers and culture activists by advancing the power of youth-led narratives?


We envision a process that lasts 6 months to develop Youth Speaks’ 18-month operational plan, which may look like R&D, planning sessions, leading trainings/retreat, standing meetings and presentations to the leadership team and Board.


  • Conduct a landscape analysis of the Narrative Field that identifies strategic opportunities and connections to position youth voices as influencers of narrative and cultural change
  • Design, coordinate and facilitate 4-5 focus groups with stakeholders to discuss, refine goals and gain alignment, input, support and buy-in on strategic priorities and planned supporting activities. This includes coordinating and facilitating focus groups with the Leadership Team (7 staff), Youth Stakeholder (10 advisory board members), Board of Directors (15 members), and Affiliate Organizations across the country (8-10)
  • Participation at 3-4 Executive and Program/Strategy/Innovation (PSI) Board Committee meetings
  • A clear, written 18-month operational plan with benchmarks, timeline/calendar of events and activities, budget scenarios, and desired outcomes of success to be presented at the conclusion of engagement for youth advisory board, staff and Board of Directors


The leadership team, composed of six department directors and the Executive Director, has outlined a preliminary set of goals for further discussion, refinement and alignment for the operational plan. The consultant/firm will work with us to prioritize and operationalize these. Below is a sense of the activities we are looking for the consultant/firm to engage:

  1. Conduct landscape analysis of the Narrative Field, including strategies to operationalize more connective exchange between international spaces and organizations that leverages narrative power.
  2. Develop metrics to inform decision making across the organization as related to narrative power
    - Create organizational dashboard to inform decision making
    - Align all activities to impact metrics (tied to youth development outcomes, financial performance, and other measures)
    - Create a timeline with scenarios for various programs and benchmarks that trigger specific actions and ensure accountability against the plan and timeline
  3. Design 2-3 potential organizational structures and associated budgets for the organization over the next 24-months, with specific focus on identifying new roles and teams needed to expand our narrative power and field building priorities
  4. Identify revenue strategies related to youth voice, civic engagement, and cultural/narrative strategy 


$40,000- $50,000 depending on experience, and time to prepare, facilitate, number of meetings, and write the plan. 


Proposals are due Tuesday, January 17, 2023 at 5pm PST, with a preferred start date of February 21, 2023.

December 12, 2022: RFP Released 
January 17, 2023: Applications Due 
January 23, 2023: First Review 
January 30, 2023: Interviews 
February 6, 2023: Final firm selected and awarded 
**February 21, 2023: Proposed start date**


A major focus within Youth Speaks over the last three years has been to shift our internal practices towards an anti-oppression, liberatory framework, employing transformative justice in the planning and delivery of our work. We seek a consultant/firm to build on this internal work as we continue to refine, integrate, and ultimately amplify our shift towards a liberatory model in the commission of our work. Given the reach, influence and visibility in the field of youth arts education and creative youth development, we ultimately wish to hold space and promote this approach in our field, as co-designers and co-practitioners with impact in the communities we engage and are grateful to be part of.


We understand that consulting can be isolating work and that consultants often feel disconnected from the organizational ecosystem. Youth Speaks is committed to working with dynamic, human-centered consultants who enjoy deep collaboration, human conversation and an occasional meal with our team. Where there is clear communication and expectations, we believe that being flexible (as a client) and changes to timelines and deliverables can be part of an equitable working process.

Pay transparency is an important practice to us. In 2022, our typical rates for executive consultants ranged from $125 - $200 per hour depending on experience, scope of project and length of engagement.


Interested parties should submit a brief (one page) proposal outlining hours to budget against project deliverables by January 17, 2023 to The project is funded through a grant from the Hewlett Foundation and a contract must be completed with payment no later than September 30, 2023. We thank you for your time and consideration to support our collective work!