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.