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RFP for Facilitating Skills Workshop with NEFA Staff


The New England Foundation for the Arts (NEFA) seeks proposals from organizations or consultants to conduct a one-day facilitation skills training workshop for NEFA staff.



NEFA invests in artists and communities and fosters equitable access to the arts, enriching the cultural landscape in New England and the nation. NEFA is one of six regional arts organizations established with funding from the National Endowment for the Arts to strengthen the national arts infrastructure by cultivating the arts on a regional level. Today, NEFA’s programs are regional, national, and international in scope, and support artists and communities through grants and other opportunities in dance, music, theater, and public art.

In 2018, NEFA published its new 3-year strategic plan, which included a new mission, vision, and values for organization. Goal 5 of the strategic plan focuses on “Organizational Culture & Capacity”, charging the organization to “operate with efficiency and transparency, cultivating a responsive organizational culture that values organizational success, teamwork, and personal development.” The objectives under this goal outline pathways to deepen the organization’s investment in the engagement, development, and learning of all staff.


As part of this work, NEFA has conducted several staff-wide workshops to identify issues or barriers that preclude staff from taking advantage of learning or professional development opportunities and areas where the organization can focus on investing in staff learning and engagement. One of the products of that work was the establishment of a Staff Development and Training line item in the NEFA budget and a Working Group with a mission to plan and deliver knowledge and skillbuilding training sessions for all NEFA staff.


Chief among the areas of inquiry for staff was a need for deeper meeting facilitation skills. Most, if not all, staff are asked at some point to plan, lead, and facilitate sessions with different external audiences and communities including convenings, conference sessions, grantmaking panels, board and committee meetings, and professional development workshops, as well as internal sessions focusing on issues related to organizational culture and development, including equity, diversity, inclusion, accessibility, professional development, performance assessment, and strategic planning.

Staff desire more knowledge and understanding of how to design and run efficient and productive meetings with care and compassion including positive and effective communication, guiding conversation, consensus building, managing challenging conversation, conflict or disagreement, and how and when to acknowledge external societal factors and pressures that may be brought into the room by participants.


Project Scope and Deliverables:

NEFA seeks an experienced trainer to conduct a one-day workshop on meeting facilitation skills for approximately 25 staff members in February of 2019.


This workshop is designed as a professional development and learning opportunity for staff many of whom are responsible for the planning and facilitating external and internal sessions around culturally sensitive topics and situations with a high degree of pressure around consensus building and decision making.


The facilitator will work with the members of the Staff Development and Training (SDT) Working Group to plan the training. NEFA staff will coordinate meeting logistics.



  • Provide overall guidance for planning the facilitation training
  • Participate in planning meetings with SDT Working Group
  • Prepare training agenda, curriculum, materials, and resource guides
  • Conduct a one-day training for approximately 25 participants
  • Conduct a debrief session and report following the training with SDT Working Group



Request for Proposals Open

November 26, 2018

Proposal Deadline

December 14, 2018

Planning Start Date

January 7, 2019

Workshop Date

February 2019 (Date TBD)


Desired Skills and Expertise of Consultant:

  • Deep understanding of equity, diversity, inclusion, and accessibility
  • Excellent communication, active listening, and facilitation skills
  • Demonstrated training experience in diverse teams and experience with various organizations and senior leadership
  • Effectively facilitates power dynamics and difficult conversations in group settings
  • Knowledge or understanding of grantmaking panels and other consensus building processes
  • People of color, members of the LGBTQ community, individuals with disabilities, and women are strongly encouraged to apply


Proposal Requirements:

  1. A letter of interest describing your experience and approach to facilitating groups, and any relevant experience working with arts organizations
  2. A proposed workplan that includes the deliverables described in the RFP
  3. A budget based on the deliverables and proposed workplan
  4. Available dates for scheduling in February 2019
  5. 2 references



Please direct questions and submit complete proposals to NEFA’s Staff Development & Training Working Group. Steven Fenton, Senior Manager, Human Resources & Executive Affairs, is the primary point of contact for this project, in partnership with the members of the SDT Working Group.


Terms and Conditions

By no means does the RFP process imply any agreement or contractual obligation. The RFP only serves to gauge interest for the project by respective firms. Costs involved in preliminary activities will not be reimbursed by NEFA.


About NEFA

The New England Foundation for the Arts (NEFA) invests in artists and communities and fosters equitable access to the arts, enriching the cultural landscape in New England and the nation. NEFA serves as a regional partner for the National Endowment for the Arts, New England’s state arts agencies, and private foundations. Learn more about NEFA’s vision, values, and funding.


Post date: Nov 26 2018 - 3:42pm
Deadline: Dec 14 2018
Program Interest: Arts & culture

133 Federal Street, Suite 802 | Boston, MA 02110
Phone: 617.426.2606
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