Request for Proposals: Evaluation and impact assessment of conversation-based programs

Proposal Deadline: July 20, 2018

Oregon Humanities reaches tens of thousands of Oregonians each year with a combination of face-to-face facilitated programs and media. Over the past few years, our conversation-based programs have steadily and significantly increased in number and attendance. We are currently in the early stages of a three-year plan that emphasizes, among other things, understanding the impact of our face-to-face work and ensuring that we are able to effectively evaluate its impact going forward. We are especially interested in learning about this work’s impact on individual participants, program leaders, host and partner organizations, and communities across the state.

Goals of Project
We hope that this evaluation project will accomplish the following:

  1. Significantly strengthen our internal understanding of how current face-to-face program formats align with organizational goals identified in our strategic plan and our diversity, equity, and inclusion framework.
  2. Assist us in demonstrating the impact of our work to external partners, stakeholders, and supporters.
  3. Help us determine outcome measurements and methods and understand challenges to measuring the impact of our programs in order to create an effective and practicable evaluation strategy.

Organization Overview
The Oregon Humanities team is a small group of idealistic, collaborative, creative people who are committed to bringing Oregonians together across differences, beliefs, and backgrounds. Each year, we offer hundreds of public conversations and programs across the state, train dozens of discussion leaders, and award tens of thousands of dollars in grants to organizations that, like us, believe in the power of people in rooms listening, learning, and struggling together. In our magazine and on our website, we publish essays, photographs, films, and audio recordings that explore the thoughts, perspectives, and experiences of Oregonians, especially those who have been ignored, generalized, or oppressed.

Founded in 1971, Oregon Humanities is an independent, nonprofit affiliate of the National Endowment for the Humanities and one of five statewide partners of the Oregon Cultural Trust.  OH is a statewide organization based in Portland, Oregon with an annual budget of $1.7 million. We have a growing staff of twelve employees and up to four interns at any one time. We partner with 150+ organizations each year to reach over sixty thousand people through our programs, media, and grantmaking. 

We have been gathering feedback from program participants, partners, and leaders for many years, regularly refining our surveys, and doing what we can to update participant contact data.

Provisional Anticipated Deliverables

  1. Development of evaluation plan, program surveys, and other evaluation tools to implement going forward
  2. Impact report to share with current partners, funders, and stakeholders
  3. Recommendations for continued evaluation efforts

Timeline and Budget
We anticipate that this project will run 9 to 12 months in duration, beginning as soon as circumstances allow.

The anticipated budget range is between $30,000 and $50,000.

Scope of Request
Please be sure your proposal includes the following:

  • A summary of your interest in the project and qualifications
  • Estimated cost and timeline
  • Your earliest availability to begin the project

If there is information missing from this proposal that would dramatically affect your estimates, please point it out in your proposal. Please direct questions—if needed—to Adam Davis, executive director, at

Please send proposals by email to Adam Davis at Proposals are due by 5:00 p.m. July 20, 2018.


Oregon Humanities Programming
Oregon Humanities has three main arms of programming: face-to-face programs, media projects, and capacity-building (including training and grants). The programs we are most interested in evaluating through this project are our face-to-face programs, including the following:

Conversation Project (CP) brings Oregonians together to talk about important issues and ideas. A local nonprofit, community group, or business applies to host a Conversation Project event on a topic relevant to their community. An Oregon Humanities facilitator comes to that community to lead the conversation. Each year we have a catalog of about sixty topics to choose from, each led by an independent facilitator.

Bridging Oregon convenes regional cohorts of approximately twenty-five participants for series of four half-day conversations to explore how our real and perceived differences inform our experiences and affect our communities. Participants also build skills in facilitating challenging conversations in their personal and professional networks. These conversations take place in multiple regions of the state during different times of the year.

Facilitation Trainings open to the public and to organizations help participants strengthen skills in planning and leading conversations about the big questions that drive their work in the world. During these trainings, people participate in reflective discussions in large and small groups and deepen knowledge of techniques to lead them. All participants have the opportunity to plan a conversation and receive feedback from trainers and other participants.

Humanity in Perspective (HIP) is a free college humanities course for adults who do not have a college degree and who face financial barriers to continuing their education. Each year OH supports a group of students with twice weekly classes from September through April. 

We also offer a range of responsive, ad hoc face-to-face programs in communities and workplaces, developed in partnership with local organizations.