Request for Proposals: Fundraising Coaching for Early Stage Organizations

The Opportunity 

Beespace aims to strengthen the fundraising efforts of its 2016-17 cohort of four “Incubees” by offering them the support of a coach. We are seeking a New York-based fundraising professional who has a client list that includes startups or very early stage nonprofit organizations, and has particular expertise in foundation and corporate fundraising, family foundations, Board giving, and building early stage individual giving programs. [Note: If needed, Beespace will support the Incubees’ online low dollar fundraising efforts (if any) separately.]

This coaching service is envisioned as an “office hours” arrangement at key moments during the Incubees’ second year of organizational development at the Beespace incubator. We currently project those office hours at approximately 50 hours/month, from January – March 2017, and again for a month in June. The office hours would be re-instituted in the final quarter of the year, estimated at approximately 25 hours/month from October – December 2017. 

Expected results from this consulting assignment are:

Each Incubee has produced a revenue plan that reflects their organizational realities and sound prospect research, and that includes both conservative and aspirational revenue scenarios.

  • Each Incubee has experimented with best fundraising practices for early stage nonprofit organizations, within the security of a strong, candid, and empowering coaching relationship.
  • Each Incubee has been supported at key decision points relating to revenue, building their muscles for taking good decisions about fundraising that are true to their purpose, that are courageous and creative, and that help point them towards sustainability. 

Background on Beespace

The cohort at Beespace comprises four Incubee organizations, each with two founding team members and one part-time Fellow (more details at Their organizations are all very early-stage -- one at the idea stage, two at the prototyping stage, and one that has a pilot. The Incubee organizations are all working in different verticals, and deploy different social change strategies. 

Beespace graduated its first cohort in the Fall of 2015, and launched its second cohort in February 2016, when the four new Incubees moved into our co-working space (the Hive). Their term of incubation is two years, eighteen months of which is spent on-site in the Beespace learning community. During their first year in the Hive, the Incubees have been exposed to a table-setting series of programs and support services related to Beespace’s three core practices: 1) Design and Experimentation, 2) Full Sustainability, and 3) Social and Emotional Learning. 

Our incubation hypothesis is that these three practices all reinforce one another in important ways that will make the start-up process more innovative, and that ultimately will contribute to greater organizational impact. 

The Assignment 

PHASE 1: Discovery and Prospect Research (Mid-January – February 2017) 


  • Beespace will provide the Consultant with a verbal “briefing” to incubation, the incubation programs that the Incubees have participated in to date, and verbal thumbnails of each Incubee organization. Beespace will also provide written documentation on each Incubee’s 2017 plans and reports on 2016 achievements, if they exist, including any current funder proposals or reports.

  • As background, Beespace will share the results from a Summer 2016 fundraising needs survey conducted with all Incubees, as well as “pitch decks” that some of the Incubees have developed to introduce themselves to donors.

  • The Consultant will meet with each Incubee organization to learn more about their organizational story and assess their fundraising knowledge, assets, and general fundraising goals.

  • The Consultant and each Incubee will develop a set of objectives and calendar for their work together, including broad calendar markers for the research, planning, and outreach phases of the consultancy. 

Prospect Research

  • The Consultant will work with each Incubee to develop a research strategy for identifying prospective foundation and corporate donors, and will coach them on best practices for targeting, creating donor profiles, etc. as they pursue that research. [Note: Beespace holds a membership at the Foundation Center, which can be accessed remotely by any Incubee, but most Incubees will require some coaching about how to best maximize that access.]
  • The Consultant will work with each Incubee to develop a research strategy for identifying prospective major donors, including engaging Incubee Board members in the research process. The Consultant will coach the Incubees on best practices for targeting, creating donor profiles, etc. as they pursue this second research track.         

Phase 2: Planning and Outreach (February – March 2017) 


  • With their prospect research in hand, the consultant will work with each Incubee to prioritize a list of top institutional and individual prospects for outreach, and will coach them on the development of a plan that outlines customized outreach strategies for each prospect. That plan will include:
    • Outreach calendar for each segment of the prospect list, noting application deadlines or program-related timing imperatives for raising funds.
    • Broad communications strategies for each segment of the prospect list. o Any intelligence on average contribution for each target that has been gleaned from the initial research. 


  • With the Incubees’ outreach plans in hand, the Consultant will serve as a reviewer of any outreach materials that each Incubee might develop for institutional and individual prospects, and/or serve as a feedback loop for testing donor relationship-building conversations and pitches.

  • The Consultant will also offer coaching support to Incubees who are navigating setting up new Board fundraising policies and practices.

  • If the Consultant has relationships with institutions or individuals on any of the Incubees’ prospect lists, personal introductions will be welcome. 

Phase 3: Progress Check-In (June 2017)

• At the mid-point in the year, the Consultant will meet with each Incubee and check in otheir progress against their outreach plans, and offer any customized coaching to help troubleshoot, make adjustments to their plans, or navigate decisions about potentially significant changes in strategy. • This progress check-in will also coincide with the Incubees’ drafting of their business plans, and thus offers an opportunity for the Consultant to reality-check Incubees’ assumptions about future revenue and growth against their research and fundraising progress to date. 

Phase 4: Year-End and Evaluation (October – December 2017)

  • This phase represents the final push for Incubees to solidify donor relationships and line up fundraising asks before their Beespace incubation terms ends. The Consultant will work with each Incubee to review their progress against their original plans, help them prioritize a final year-end push, and set their horizons for 2018.

  • This phase, in the final quarter of 2017, also represents an opportunity for the Consultant to help Incubees compare their fundraising projections against actual funds raised and relationships developed during the term of their incubation at Beespace, and to revisit their assumptions about various targets and outreach strategies with a critical lens. 

Project Management Assumptions

  • While the Consultant will work directly with Incubees, Beespace will be the Consultant’s “client.” It will not be Beespace’s role to approve fundraising products or be a decision- maker on each Incubee’s fundraising content or strategies; that authority will lie with the Incubees. 
  • Beespace will hold the contract with the Consultant, and therefore:
    • Beespace will approve the work calendars that are agreed between the Consultant and each Incubee.
    • The Consultant will notify the Beespace team if the workflow with any particular Incubee team is falling off track of the agreed work calendar, so that Beespace can take appropriate course-correcting action. 
    • Beespace and the Consultant will have 30-minute check-in calls twice monthly to discuss Incubee progress.
    • Beespace will have two opportunities (at the beginning and the end of the drafting processes) to review and offer input on each Incubee’s proposed prospect research strategies and each Incubee’s outreach plan.
  • At the mid-point and at the end of the consultancy, the Consultant will participate in assessment discussions with other Beespace consulting partners, sharing insights on the content of the support offered to the Incubees in 2017, and the Incubees’ experience in internalizing and capitalizing on that support.

  • At the end of the consultancy, the Consultant will prepare a short email memo debriefing on the assignment and making any recommendations for future efforts in this area -- both from a project management standpoint, and in terms of more global insights that s/he has gleaned from the process. 

Your Proposal 

Consultants are asked to submit a one- to three-page proposal by Monday, January 9th at noon to Jenna Schornack, Program Officer, at [email protected] We ask that you highlight lessons learned from your experience working with early stage organizations, and any thoughts on the unique context of building fundraising programs with start-ups. Please also propose a fee for working with four Incubee organizations. Please note any scheduling conflicts with the proposed timeline.

Any questions? Please contact Jenna at 319-400-7215. Thank you your interest in Beespace!

Beespace is committed to fostering a culture and practices of purposeful inclusion, and are seeking consultants that represent diversity across age, race, sex, ethnicity and national origin, range of abilities, sexual orientation, gender identity, financial means, education, and political perspective. 

Apply to be a 2016 Beespace Fellow!

Want an immersive experience working with startups in the social good sector?

Beespace, New York City’s premier nonprofit incubator, has an opening for a new Fellow to work with Heat Seek, one of the start-up organizations currently in incubation at our north Chelsea loft. Heat Seek works at the intersection of innovative technology and tenant advocacy to provide new tools in the fight to maintain affordable housing in New York City. Heat Seek’s work is grounded in a deep respect for community organizers and on-the-ground advocates (

The term for this round of Beespace Fellows is December 2016- December 2017, 20 hours per week, with a monthly paycheck of $2,100 plus a health stipend.

Beespace was created to launch organizations through a new practice of innovation. The Beespace innovation practice equips start-up founders to make better decisions at the toughest points in their journey from idea to launch to impact — decisions that are better for themselves, better for their organizations, better for their sector, and better for the people whose lives they are driven to help change.

Now midway through its second cohort, Beespace has enshrined patient capital, rigorous experimentation, emotional intelligence, and true sustainability at the center of its incubation model. We offer a two-year developmental curriculum aimed at helping founders build their own compasses for navigating the inevitable detours, distractions, and shortcuts that mark so many start-up journeys.

Beespace Fellows work side-by-side with the start-up founders in residence at Beespace, for 20 hours each week. Each Fellow is matched with one founding team upon hiring, and contributes to all aspects of developing their start-up organization for the duration  of their incubation term -- from program design, to prototyping, to piloting and organizational development.  

Beespace Fellows also are key collaborators with the Beespace management team, embedding the Beespace DNA of experimentation and peer learning into their start-up team’s daily experience, and building community as part of their daily practice.  

Beespace is committed to building community inside and outside of our incubator experience. We work to foster a culture and practices of purposeful inclusion, and are seeking Fellows candidates that represent diversity across age, race, sex, ethnicity and national origin, range of abilities, sexual orientation, gender identity, financial means, education, and political perspective.

 As a Beespace Fellow, you will:

  • Collaborate with a team of start-up founders on every aspect of the mundane and heroic task of getting a dynamic new organization off the ground
  • Engage in Beespace’s core practices and the curriculum that reflects those practices: Design and Experimentation, Full Sustainability, and Emotional Intelligence
  • Gain a wide range of professional skills essential to building enduring organizations, including program design and development, operations, and evaluation
  • Step into close relationships with organizational leaders looking for permanent team members

Beespace Fellows have: 

  • A Bachelor’s degree, or two years of college plus two years of professional experience
  • A minimum of two, long-term volunteer or staff experiences in the social good sector (nonprofits, social enterprises, civic tech)
  • Ability to commit 20 hours a week from September 2016 - December 2017
  • A passionate curiosity about the world, eyes and ears wide open
  • A truly proactive approach to learning and doing whatever is thrown your way, a comfort with uncomfortableness, and a willingness to make things up as you go along
  • Eagerness to be a part of a collaborative, learning community
  • General awesomeness

To Apply

Send us your resume, a short video, and the responses to the below questions to [email protected] by November 6th with the subject line "2016 Beespace Fellow."

Short-Answer Questions (Please limit your response to this section to 1-3 paragraphs in length. Thanks!)

  1. What does innovation mean to you? Share an example of something you consider innovative.
  2. Is there an organization in the nonprofit or social enterprise sector that you especially admire? What about them is special, in your view?
  3. What do you hope to gain from becoming a Beespace Fellow? What do you hope to give?

Start-Up Scenarios (Please limit your response to this section to 2 pages total in answering the questions. Thanks!)

  1. Your organization is launching six new partnerships with six different community-based organizations. Your team will be delivering the same program to each organization, but the timing and requirements for each of the six partnerships are slightly different. You’ve been asked to be a lead project manager in coordinating program delivery with these six partners. What do you see as the most valuable ingredients in managing those six relationships, both in terms of good project management and in terms of good human management? Have you ever done any similar work in another context? If so, we’re love to hear what you did and how that went.
  2. At the beginning of your term as Fellow, you and the Founder of your organization agree to a 30-minute check-in meeting every day that you’re at the office. The first few weeks that you put this into practice, the check-ins are extremely helpful, both in helping you get clear direction and feedback on your work and ideas, and in keeping up-to-speed on what’s happening in the organization when you’re not there. But now those check-ins have faltered, and you can see your Founder being pulled into putting out organizational fires or jumping into unexpected opportunities that take precedence over your check-ins. You’re feeling bottlenecked and less in touch with the team. What would you do? Have you ever been in a similar situation, either with a teacher or a colleague or another peer? If so, we’d love to hear what you did and how that went.

Video Response. Please submit a video that answers the following question:

Tell us about an experience that shifted a perspective you took for granted. What insights about yourself did you have afterward?

Production Instructions:

  • Include a link to the video in your cover letter with the password (if required).
  • Your video can run between 2 to 3 minutes.
  • You can shoot it on a smartphone, tablet, or laptop — don't sweat the production value!
  • Be spontaneous. Don't overscript your response or read from a prepared statement. Just talk to us like we're sitting next to each other at a party.
  •  We want to hear what you've got to say! Before submitting the video, give it a listen and make sure we'll be able to hear you. Watch for ambient noise and avoid background music. Keep it simple and have your voice be the only audio. 

We’re accepting applications on a rolling basis until November 6th. Want more information? Feel free to contact Fia Green at [email protected]

Calling All Interns!

Beespace is a non-profit incubator helping to identify and launch the next generation of high impact nonprofits. Utilizing the tech incubator model, we invest in genuine and bold organizations, providing them with a comprehensive set of innovative resources completely free of charge, to profit the world.

Beespace’s Incubees focus on a wide range of issues and programming approaches, and all are committed to bold new models of how to practice charity. They are always looking for fantastic interns to join their teams. To apply (or for more information), please email [email protected]. Include your resume, let us know which organization(s) you’re interested in working with, and tell us what you think you can add to the team.

Our Incubees:

The Adventure Project creates job opportunities with community impact in the developing world, disrupting the cycle of poverty by enabling donors to fund job creation programs that have a social impact.

The Malala Fund, the official organization of Malala Yousafzai, is focused on helping girls go to school and raise their voices for the right to education.

Organize is applying new technologies and ideas to the organ donation space, seeking to decrease the organ shortage by applying smarter technologies and more creative partnerships, and advocating for data-driven policies.

Practice Makes Perfect works to narrow the achievement gap in low-income U.S. neighborhoods by pairing academically struggling middle school students with high achieving high school students from the same inner-city neighborhoods for an academic intensive summer program.

Yoga Foster brings free yoga to kids in schools and community centers, creating a new model to keep kids fit, inspired, and more creative.

Inspiration from Ben Franklin, Paul Farmer and Charity:Water to Kickoff Your Week | December 23


The holiday’s are in full swing (fa la la la la). Here’s some inspirational reads as you to kickback in front of the yule log. Good luck and keep pushing!

From the Beespace Blog
We’re a far cry from the Sally Struthers PSAs of the 1980s. Here’s our list of 10 of the most inspiring nonprofit ads, videos, campaigns and websites of 2013 via Beespace.

63% of 20-somethings want to start their own business via Inc, We’re betting a big chunk of these will focusing on profiting the world!

Ben Franklin’s daily routine ended with asking “What good have I done today.” What a slacker.

How big data is changing the face of philanthropy via Wall Street Journal. But are we measuring the right things?

Do more than “Like.” Facebook adds a donation button via Mashable.

A big misunderstanding? Here’s a good breakdown of the year’s most overused term via TNW

Are your donors safe? 40 million credit card details are stolen from Target via Wired.

How Charity:Water Won Over the Tech World via Forbes

What emotions trigger shares? This research analyzed a data set of 355 billion videos to find the answer via Contently.

Behind the design. How Apartment One created the Beespace brand via Apartment One.

How Paul Farmer would fix foreign aid. Spoiler alert, it looks a lot like the Adventure Project via Skoll World Forum



Great Charity Campaigns of 2013

We’re a far cry from the days of the Sally Struthers PSA. Here’s a list of some of our favorite nonprofit ads, videos and campaigns from the year. No methodology, no science, just some truly inspiring work.

World Humanitarian Day
United Nations

Girl Rising

What I Love
Climate Reality Project

Immortal Fans
Sport Club Recife

Chime for Change

Anar: Only for Children
Anar Foundation

Women Shouldn’t
UN Women

Should Your Birthplace Determine Your Future
Ubuntu Education Fund

Into the Arctic


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