Strategic Planning Consultant

Classified Categories: Announcements, RFPs

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Strategic Planning Consultant

Budget: $70,000
Deadline to Express Intent: Monday, March 25, 2024
Deadline to Submit: Monday, April 8, 2024

Contact Rebecca Zahn, Board of Directors — Vice Chair, Sled Island Arts Fellowship, by email at or call 403.630.3101.

For more information visit

RFP Issued: March 13, 2024
Deadline to Express Intent to Submit: Monday, March 25, 2024, at 5pm MT
Deadline for Questions or Clarifications: Wednesday, March 27, 2024, at 5pm MT
Submission Deadline: Monday, April 8, 2024, at 5pm MT
Evaluation & Interviews: Tuesday, April 9 – Monday, April 15, 2024
Contract Start Date: Thursday, April 25, 2024

Overview / Background


Sled Island Arts Fellowship presents a thoughtfully curated and discovery-focused annual multi-venue festival plus additional year-round programming that strengthens Calgary’s arts community, elevating under-represented and independent music and artists while ensuring accessible, barrier-free cultural experiences for our audiences.


Sled Island is a window into the best of what Calgary could be. We are recognized as a catalyst in the Calgary arts community, providing a platform for artists to reach audiences they otherwise would not and providing audiences with unforgettable experiences. Sled Island fills a critical gap in the community, embedding anti-racism, diversity, and equity principles into our work. We enable artists and audiences to be accepted for who they are.

Since 2007, Sled Island’s thoughtful, eclectic programming and independent spirit have produced a one-of-a-kind festival experience. Each June, the five-day music and arts festival offers a curated selection of 200+ bands, comedy acts, film, and art, as well as panels and workshops geared towards the professional development of emerging musicians. The festival gathers over 30,000 attendees across 15+ venues, earning rave reviews from a dedicated fanbase, artists, and media across the globe. Unique to Sled Island is the guest curator model, which offers a festival headliner the opportunity to perform and hand-select some of the acts. Sled Island is a non-profit, charitable organization; in addition to the main June festival, the organization operates year-round, hosting a number of smaller events in the winter months with 4 full-time employees and seasonal hires for the festival.

Sled Island’s mandate is to expose the public to music and art that is not disseminated by the mass media and to expand appreciation for various artistic expressions. The notion of discovery is intrinsic to our artistic vision and a pillar around which we articulate our programming. Sled Island provides an essential platform for Calgary audiences to access cutting-edge, socially conscious music and arts while exposing local artists to inspiring and daring creators from across the globe. Our artistic vision aims to fight cultural homogenization through thoughtful programming that celebrates plurality and encourages discovery.

Sled Island’s current strategy is cemented in the organization’s mission and vision and has been formalized through numerous public commitments to values of anti-racism, inclusion, and accessibility. This EDIA-focused work, which began in 2020 and was implemented in the 2022-2025 Strategy, has had a highly positive impact internally and in the wider community, allowing us to adopt new ways of thinking and doing to make the festival more inclusive and reflective of all communities.

With 2024 festival plans well underway, we must look ahead to future festival seasons – and year-round opportunities – and consider how our organization’s mission and model can evolve to become more financially sustainable. With that, Sled Island seeks a consultant or consulting firm to help us measure where we are today, explore what trends and best practices are leading the live entertainment/arts industry, and analyze Sled Island’s readiness to implement new strategies that are meaningful to our audience and beneficial to our community.

About the Role

Sled Island seeks to evaluate our current festival model and explore organizational transformation. The Strategic Planning Consultant (“Consultant”) will help Sled Island answer key questions: how can we test the relevance of our mission, explore new programming opportunities, and discover new ways to engage our audience and community with the ultimate goal of increasing long-term financial sustainability?

Leveraging their successful experience in the arts and live entertainment sector and in organizational change implementation, the Consultant will deliver an analysis of current programming and engagement activities, reflect on key elements to retain, create a market analysis and trends report on live entertainment/festivals, and ideate new revenue strategies while considering next steps that will support us on our journey to greater financial sustainability and longevity.

The Consultant will work closely with Sled Island’s Board of Directors’ Strategic Planning Committee and Executive Director, engaging the wider Board at key milestones. In the later stages of the Strategic work, the Consultant will provide ad-hoc support to staff and the Board as required and agreed upon by the Consultant.

Continuing existing organizational strategies, the Consultant will consider how reconciliation, equity, diversity, inclusion, and accessibility (EDIA) can be integrated into new programming and models.

General RFP Rules How to Submit

If you intend to submit an RFP for consideration, please inform Sled Island by email at by Monday, March 25, 2024, at 5:00 pm MDT.

If questions arise from potential Consultants, Sled Island commits to sharing those questions and responses with all individuals who have expressed intent to submit. The deadline to submit questions or request clarifications is March 27, 2024, at 5:00 pm MDT. Questions must be submitted to

Proposals must be emailed to Rebecca Zahn at by 5:00 pm MDT on Monday, April 8, 2024.

Please submit proposals in PDF format via email.

Items to be Addressed in the Submission:

  • Project Outline – provide a detailed outline of what approach and processes you will utilize to achieve the project objectives.
  • Tell us about your consulting experience in live entertainment, arts & non-profit sectors
  • Tell us about your expertise in providing consulting for organizational transformation
  • Tell us about your approach to considerations of equity, diversity, inclusion, and accessibility.
  • Provide a breakdown of costs associated with your proposal.
  • Submit a copy of your CV or client portfolio and/or staff biographies
  • Testimonials referencing past work
Evaluation Criteria & Requirements

The Consultant should have the following attributes:

  • Five years of experience in live entertainment, arts, and/or non-profit events strategy,
  • Five years of experience in organizational change at the non-profit level,
  • Understanding of the Canadian municipal, provincial, and federal grant system;
  • Ability to incorporate EDIA principles in program design;
  • Competent, creative and experienced personnel to provide the requested services;

Sled Island will review each submission in detail, and each consultant may be invited to present their services in greater detail remotely or in person.

Sled Island reserves the right to select whichever Consultant it deems appropriate for its requirements without having to justify its decision, which remains fully discretionary at all times. The decision of Sled Island with respect to the evaluations is final.

Consultants will be notified by email of the decision whether as an acceptance of the proposal or otherwise.

Sled Island reserves the right to interrupt or cancel, in part or in whole, this RFP as it sees fit.

Any contract awarded will be subject to additional terms and conditions, including terms governing the use and confidentiality of information obtained in the course of the work, procedures for any disputes between the parties in the course of the work, and any other terms Sled Island deems necessary for the work to be carried out.

A sample contract can be found at this link

Budget & Payment Terms

The not-to-exceed budget for the Consultant is $70,000 for the 8-month term of engagement under Phase 1, Phase 2 and Phase 3. It is exclusive of GST. Any additional expenses or costs, such as travel or materials, will be at the expense of the Consultant.

The compensation structure and payment terms for the selected proposal are subject to negotiation and will be based on deliverables being met at the end of each Phase at the reasonable satisfaction of Sled Island. We recognize the importance of aligning these elements with the unique requirements and timeline considerations of the awarded project.

Upon selecting the successful proposal, we anticipate engaging in collaborative discussions to mutually agree upon a compensation framework and payment schedule that reflects the scope and intricacies of the project.

Please review the attached PDF for full details.

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