Request for Proposals: MEL Consultant

About Vera

The Vera Institute of Justice is powered by hundreds of advocates, researchers, and activists working to transform the criminal legal and immigration systems until they’re fair for all. Founded in 1961 to advocate for alternatives to money bail in New York City, Vera is now a national organization that partners with impacted communities and government leaders for change. We develop just, antiracist solutions so that money doesn’t determine freedom; fewer people are in jails, prisons, and immigration detention; and everyone is treated with dignity. Vera’s headquarters is in Brooklyn, New York, with offices in Washington, DC, New Orleans, and Los Angeles.

About the Impact Pipeline & MEL

The Impact Pipeline team supports each of our initiatives that work to combat issues within our criminal legal and immigration systems and create change to develop strategies, measure and reflect on progress, and improve their impact. At its core, the impact pipeline is designed to develop, test, and learn from new and innovative approaches to solving entrenched problems requiring multi-faceted solutions. As Vera researchers, advocates, policy experts, and communication strategists’ partner with government and community members, they test theories, encounter challenges, develop new approaches, and learn how to navigate complex issues.

The Monitoring, Evaluation, and Learning (MEL) team, a sub-team of the broader Impact Pipeline team, is responsible for defining and tracking indicators to ensure that all initiatives are on track to meet their national impact goal and supporting the initiatives in doing so. The MEL team aims to create a culture of collective learning and collaboration within Vera to proactively adapt to changing circumstances and achieve sustainable success, in addition to supporting national impact goals.

Purpose of Request for Qualifications

To date, Vera has not had a consistent way of documenting where we succeed and struggle to have impact, as well as other valuable lessons that we learn through our work across our projects and initiatives. Vera is seeking a qualified consultant to work with the MEL team to develop a “knowledge pool” (KP) platform to address this deficit by creating a resource that can flexibly pull lessons from across initiatives to create new insights and build on lessons learned to avoid repeating mistakes or recreating the wheel. Our goal is to create a comprehensive knowledge pool that can serve as a valuable resource for everyone involved in strategic development and evolution of various projects.

By sharing information and insights within the organization, we hope to leverage our collective knowledge to make informed strategic decisions, develop innovative ideas, and successfully navigate newer projects. The knowledge pool will continuously accumulate our understanding of various domains relevant to the work done in our organization. The goal of this shared learning repository is to help Verans identify new opportunities, anticipate potential challenges, and create more effective strategies for achieving our goals. This includes using the collective insights throughout our teams to generate new ideas and strengthen approaches that can help us navigate the unique challenges of each project. By incorporating this knowledge pool into how we support projects and initiatives at each stage of the pipeline, we will support decision-making that aligns with the strategies and objectives of the initiatives, the MEL team, and Vera overall.

The KP platform will be accessible to all Verans and will house various documents such as case studies, reports, evaluations, and other documents using multiple formats, including text, video, and research materials. This will require a tool that can house wide-ranging insights from Vera staff, our partners working in the field, and the people we serve. The tool should be intuitive and accessible to users with different learning preferences.

Anticipated Scope of Work

The consultant will support building a KP tool Vera can use to document, organize, and share initiative and institutional lessons, successes, challenges, resources, etc. In addition to leading the development of the tool, the consultant will advise on functionality and design while working closely with the MEL team to ensure that these practices and tools are aligned with Vera’s culture, are effective in promoting knowledge creation, sharing, and use, and support initiatives’ work and programmatic learning.

  • Assessing development needs: The consultant will evaluate the needs of the organization, identify opportunities and potential platforms, and make recommendations for the development of guidance for its use. The consultant will collaborate with Verans to understand users’ needs and design interfaces that align with those needs.

  • Identification of platform: The consultant will research and identify platforms that align with our needs and explore tools and approaches utilized by other organizations to effectively documenting, organizing, and sharing their institutional lessons, successes, challenges, and resources. By utilizing these insights, we can build a more robust platform or identify a suitable program for Vera that enhances our knowledge management and organizational learning capabilities.

  • Support the development of norms for the KP tool: the consultant will develop a comprehensive knowledge management strategy and guidance that aligns with the organization’s goals and objectives. The strategy will outline the key activities, tools, and resources required to effectively manage knowledge within the organization.

  • Handoff instructions and train current MEL and Vera Tech staff on future maintenance.

  • Develop user personas, user scenarios, and user flows to inform design decisions.

  • Conduct user testing and iterate on designs based on feedback.

Minimum Qualifications

Interested and qualified vendors that meet the following minimum qualifications are invited to submit a response to this RFP:

  • Experience supporting and setting up organizational knowledge management tools

  • Ability to identify patterns and trends related to strategic development and develop insights that can help improve knowledge management development and practices

  • Strong problem-solving skills and able to develop creative solutions to complex problems and think outside the box.

  • Knowledgeable about different knowledge management tools, including content management systems, knowledge bases, and collaboration software. They should be able to evaluate different tools and recommend the most suitable one for the organization.

  • Possesses an understanding of organizational learning culture and how it impacts and is impacted by knowledge management.

  • We would be particularly interested in hearing from consultants with experience using design thinking, behavioral economics, or other approaches for developing organizational learning and knowledge management tools.

Selection Criteria

During the review process, we will focus primarily on the following criteria to evaluate responses from vendors that meet the Minimum Qualifications:

  • qualifications and experience;

  • familiarity with the criminal legal system and Vera’s work;

  • alignment with Vera’s values, including a commitment to diversity, equity, and inclusion;

  • adequacy, clarity, and completeness of response;

  • review of one example of past work; and

  • references.


Below is the currently projected timeline for the recruitment and engagement of the consultant but is subject to change based on need.

  1. Submission deadline: April 28, 2023

  2. Submission review: May 1 – May 5, 2023

  3. Interviews with selected candidates: May 8 – 18

  4. Applicants Notified: May 19, 2023

  5. Terms of engagement: May 29 – August 28, 2023

  • Reviewing tool requirements and proposing options: May 29 – June 30

  • Setting up platform with currently available internal content: July 3 – July 28

  • Hand-off training and instructions for future maintenance: July 31 – August 28

Terms of RFP/RFQ

Vera has the right to amend or cancel this RFP/RFQ at any time. Vera reserves the right, at the time of evaluation of any Response, to request any additional information that it deems necessary. Vera further reserves the right to reject any or all Responses after evaluation, and to be the sole judge of the merits of those received. Vera will not be responsible for late or incomplete responses. Any Response which does not comply with this RFP/RFQ may not be considered. Vera will not return any materials it receives and will not reimburse applicants for any costs incurred in developing a Response.

Contact Information

If you have any questions, including accessibility questions, or need assistance completing this application, please contact:

Lilly Dukich, Impact Strategy & MEL Coordinator

Submission Process

All application forms must be completed and submitted online at: Vera.

Application Form Questions

Contact Info

First Name & Last Name

Email Address

Phone Number

Name of Organization/Company/Entity

Organization/Company/Entity Website

Organization/Company/Entity Address

Would you like to be contacted for future opportunities to provide services to Vera?

Minimum Qualifications

Please introduce yourself and/or your company and provide a description of how you meet or exceed the Minimum Qualifications, including your relevant background, experience, and expertise. (Max 400 words)

Please list and describe two comparable projects completed by you or your company or currently in progress, including your role. For each project, include the contact information for a reference including contact name, title, address, telephone number, and email address. (Max 400 words)

What connects you to Vera’s mission? (Max 250 words)

What values guide your work? What are some examples of how they will be applied in the development of our knowledge pool? (Max 250 words)

What have you learned from similar projects? How will you apply those lessons to the development of Vera’s knowledge pool? (Max 250 words)

We plan for this work to take place over about three months. Please propose an approximate budget for this project (a range is acceptable). If you have any concerns about the timeline, please share them with us as well.

Please upload only one relevant sample of work.

Please upload resumes for all staff who would work on this project. If there are multiple people working on this project, please also upload a document indicating the roles, responsibilities, and email addresses for each person.

Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion

Please share the diversity statement or otherwise describe the commitment to diversity of you or your organization. (Max 400 words)

Review the diversity programs below and check the box for any certifications for which you qualify.

The selection of this question may result in additional questions of verification and qualification surrounding your certification.

Please upload any certifications you may have in support of your application.


“By signing, I attest that all information I have provided in this form is true and accurate to the best of my knowledge.”