Thursday, March 31, 2011

Are you the professional facilitator we're looking for?

Request for Proposals

Member and Staff Engagement Process

The Request
The Olympia Food Co-Op, a member based, collectively managed, natural food grocer located in Olympia, WA is seeking the services of one or more qualified professionals to co-design and facilitate a process to engage our members and staff in a conversation about values, priorities, challenges and opportunities to increase our presence and impact in the community.

The Olympia Food Co-op has been in business for over 30 years. The organization has grown from one to two stores which now employ over 75 staff and last year sold over $13 million in products. The staff collectively manages the stores using a non-hierarchical consensus based process. The co-op has over 17,000 active members who have paid capital fees and dues to the organization. Many of these members also volunteer for the organization in exchange for discounts on their purchases.

As a member based business it is important to ensure that the business operates in ways that are consistent with our member’s values and priorities. The co-op has a clear values based mission statement that was developed with member input in the mid 1990’s.

As we look to the future we are seeking clarity about where to put the organization’s energy and focus. With this in mind, the time has come to convene a conversation with our members, staff and community that can set the stage for the success of the business for the next generation.

Engaging staff and members in this conversation is one of the top priorities identified by the Board of Directors for 2011.

The Process
While the specific process used to structure the conversation will be co-designed between the successful applicant and the board’s Member Relations Committee, we would expect the process to include at least the following components:

1) General meetings using open space technology or World Café type formats. The meetings are intended to bring together a broad cross section of the co-op community to generate ideas and build a shared vision for the co-op.
2) Structured focus groups or small work groups that would build from the ideas generated at the general meetings and begin to shape proposals and recommendations.
3) A final report to the board summarizing the process, information gathered and recommendations. The report will be used by the board to develop a positioning statement for the organization.

The successful applicant will work closely with the co-op’s Member Relations Committee to design an inclusive approach that ensures a wide cross-section of the co-op community participates in the engagement process.

The project will be completed by November 15, 2011.

Proposal Timeline and Selection Process

The deadline for proposals is April 30, 2011 at 5:00 pm. Applicants may be contacted for a follow-up interview. The successful applicant will be notified by May 15, 2011.

Interested applicants should submit their proposal via e-mail to or

For additional information or questions, contact Jayne at 360-357-1106, extension.11.