FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS
Who is NewSchools, and what is their role in the DEI Expert Hub?
NewSchools is an early stage seed fund that supports capacity building organizations, and invests in entrepreneurs that have bold ideas in education and leadership. A priority is their Diverse Leaders initiative: working to close the racial and ethnic demographic gap between education leadership and students through direct investment in entrepreneurs, catalyzing donors and partners, and internal commitment to these goals across NewSchools. They have made the case for DEI-focused work in schools through the research and publishing of Unrealized Impact, an expansive study of the state and effect DEI in school, organizational, and individual performance in 210 schools and education organizations. This work has spurred organizations to take DEI on as priority, but often folks don’t know where to start. NewSchools wanted to gain a deeper understanding of who is out there doing DEI work, and take a thoughtful approach toward an efficient way to make these connections. They have tapped Catalyst:Ed to build the Expert Hub, in effort to map the landscape of DEI providers nationally and facilitate the best possible matches of experts and partners.
When is the launch date for the DEI Expert Hub?
What are the key components of the DEI Expert Hub?
The DEI Expert Hub will be a user-friendly platform that connect schools, nonprofit organizations, and foundations with experienced DEI experts. Other elements of the platform include (1) an organizing structure that provides leaders who want to infuse DEI in their organization with a sense of the kinds of actions that they can take, (2) information and tools to help leaders and experts make more informed choices and support continuous improvement, and (3) opportunities for knowledge capture and sharing so leaders and experts can access and build on prior work and avoid re-inventing the wheel.
How long will applications be accepted?
We will accept applications from November 6 through December 15, 2017. All application materials must be submitted directly through the website no later than by midnight, Pacific Time on December 15, 2017.
How long should I spend on my application?
Applicants report that they spend 15-30 minutes on their submissions. We see your application as a beginning of a conversation that helps guide your interview, so we can get to know you and the work you’ve been doing. This process is not about filtering through experts, but understanding the range and breadth of DEI providers in the education sector.
When will I be notified regarding an interview?
You will receive an email by December 22, 2017 notifying you of advancement to the next phase. We will ask you to submit three references as well as select a date and time for a video interview. Interviews and reference checks will be conducted in January 2018.
How should I determine whether to apply as an individual or on behalf of an organization?
We welcome applications from all experts doing work in this field. The "individual application" is right for you if you: (1) work as an independent consultant or (2) have a sole proprietorship or LLC where you are the only consultant or (3) do consulting on the side. The "firm-level application" is right for you if you work for a larger organization with multiple experts.
What will you do with any information I share?
Any materials and information you share as part of the intake process will be treated as confidential and will not be shared externally without your explicit permission.
Will my information be publicly accessible?
No. We take your privacy very seriously. Your profile will not be available to anyone unless you apply for a project or you explicitly give us permission to profile you in our list of "Featured Experts". If you do apply for a project, we will share your profile information with the organization that posted the project.
What kind of organizations do you work with?
We work with all kinds of organizations serving students and youth. Our clients include schools, school districts, charter school applicants, non-profits, community groups, ed-tech companies, and foundations. We also work with education startups, startup accelerators and associations.
How do you come to know of projects?
Many of the projects currently listed on our website are the result of direct outreach by us. We invest significant effort into building relationships with education organizations around the country. We also get referrals from foundations, state agencies and associations. Finally, some of the projects have come to us via our network, with experts in our network reaching out to us when they hear of work that they are unable to take on.
What do you do when a project is listed on your website?
We’ve learned from experience that organizations often appreciate our help with scoping projects. When a project is listed we reach out to the organization to schedule time for a needs assessment. Based on the needs assessment, we develop a detailed project scope. Once the scope is approved by the client, we share it with network members whose skills and expertise are aligned to the project requirements.
How will I be notified of projects?
If a project is aligned with your areas of expertise, you will get an email via our technology platform.
How does Catalyst:Ed decide whom to notify for a given project?
Catalyst:Ed notifies all experts whose domain of expertise and experience fits the needs of the project.
Do I have to respond if I’m tapped for a project?
No - it is entirely up to you whether to apply or not. We recognize that you may not have capacity or may not be interested. If you’re not sure about the timing or the fit, you are always welcome to ask. There is no penalty for not applying to projects.
How do I apply for a project if I’m interested?
The notification email will link to a more detailed scope. If you’re interested, you can submit your proposal using the form embedded in the scope. The proposal typically consists of 1-5 pages (depending on the project scope and size) and consists of your proposed approach and workplan, your relevant experience and your budget.
Can I coordinate with another consultant (in or out of the Catalyst:Ed network) to go in on a project together?
Absolutely. We recognize some projects may be best served through a team-based approach. As long as one of of the consultants is in the Catalyst:Ed network, you may work with another consultant in- or out-of-network. However, the in-network consultant must serve as the lead on the project. We do encourage all team members to apply to become part of our network as it will help us build and strengthen our community of educational professionals. We have also introduced network members to each other and encouraged them to jointly apply for projects that require a mix of skills.
What happens after I apply for a project?
The client reviews all proposals and decides who they want to interview and then, who they want to work with. The interviews are a great opportunity for you and the client to learn more about each other and gauge “fit.”
How will I know if I am selected for a project?
Once an organization has made its decision, Catalyst:Ed will communicate the decision via email to all experts who bid on the project.
What happens once I’m matched on a project?
We will guide you through the paperwork and set up an account on our project management platform so you and the client can easily track and manage deliverables, invoices and payments.
How does invoicing and payment work?
You submit your invoice directly to the client.
How involved is Catalyst:Ed with the project after the match is made?
We check in with you and the client at regular intervals to ensure things are on track. Once the project is done, we send out surveys to both organizations and consultants to gather feedback and lessons.
How does the rating process work?
Once a project is completed, we ask both parties to review their experiences on the project. The ratings and reviews are shared with each party. Experts who bid on projects have the option of sharing their past reviews and ratings with prospective clients, although we do not require them to do so. We also ask both parties to review their experiences with Catalyst:Ed, so we can get better at serving our users.
Are projects typically fixed price (based on deliverables) or variable priced (based on hours)?
We list both kinds of projects. Typically, if the project deliverables are well-defined, organizations prefer fixed price contracts. If the work requirement is more ambiguous, they might be structured as hourly contracts.
Who sets the budget?
You propose your own price. The organization reviews options and decides who they want to work with. While the budget is definitely a consideration, we have never seen a client make a decision based solely on price.
Do you provide guidance on the budget?
We share a project range (e.g., $5k-$10k, $25k-$50k) with the project scope, provided we have the client’s permission to do so.
What is the typical hourly rate charged by experts?
The hourly rate charged by experts varies widely depending on skill areas, nature and years of experience, and interest in a project. Every project is different, and you should determine a rate that’s right for you given your needs. Email us at email@example.com if you need additional guidance.
Can I vary my rate based on the project or am I locked into one rate?
Yes, you may vary your rate.
Is there a fee for me to join the DEI Expert Hub network?
There is no fee to join the network, receive and review project scopes or submit proposals. We charge consultants 10% of the final accepted project bid for each matched project up to a maximum fee of $3,000. As a nonprofit organization, this fee helps us cover a small part of our operational costs including the cost of recruiting and vetting talent, conducting outreach to organizations, scoping and matching projects, and managing the technology and process. Experts pay us the service fee as they get paid (no advance payment).
How should I respond if an organization asks me to contract with them without informing Catalyst:Ed?
As a mission-driven, nonprofit organization, we are committed to offering our services at a highly subsidized to the organizations and experts that need our help the most. We rely on our users adhering to our terms to continue offering our services at an affordable cost. Working on a project that you heard about through Catalyst:Ed and not informing us to avoid paying the service fee would be a breach of the trust we place on our users.
Webinar Participant Questions
“How many experts do you all expect to keep in the hub?”
There is no set number we are capping the DEI Expert Hub at. It is more about the depth and range of expertise. We want to raise the tent and ensure we have a wide diversity of skills, experiences and backgrounds. Thus, the purpose of our intake process is not to actively screen people out, but to make sure that we are expanding the sector’s understanding of who is doing this work, what the range of strengths and skillsets are, what projects and environments they do their best work in, etc.
“What would you consider to be the minimum bar of expertise for admittance into the hub?”
Given the range of organizational needs, contexts and resources, we are looking for a diverse set of experts and don’t want to pre-define a minimum bar. The most important thing for us is to understand what people bring to the table: What supports can they offer? What contexts do they thrive in? And, in turn, what supports can we offer them?
“Are there any restrictions on the organizations that can use the hub? For example, will non-NewSchools clients/partners be allowed to use it?”
Absolutely. This resource is not limited to certain organization types or to NewSchools partners and grantees. This is a resource for the field, and anyone who is thinking hard about taking DEI on is eligible to use the Hub.
“Will buyers be allowed to identify and select one vendor in the hub that meets their needs and begin working with them, or will buyers be required to go through the mini-RFP process?”
As of now, we would like for people to go through our scoping process since this allows us to get an understanding of what exactly they are looking for, kick the tires on their scope (if they have developed it themselves), and ensure that they are set up to benefit from the project.
“Will matches be location-specific? From where are you selecting experts?”
The Expert Hub is national in focus. A location preference or requirement will be clarified in project scopes. The majority of projects we have matched experts to have been remote.
“As a part of this hub, are there opportunities for collaboration between independent consultants and firms on projects?”
Yes! Right now, we we introduce experts in our network to each other. They typically reach out to us when they need someone with a specific skill set to round off a team or need some additional capacity.
Additionally, collaboration can emerge during the project itself. Projects sometimes take on additional dimensions while they are in progress that require additional skill sets, or you may come across specific challenges that they would like to hash out with a peer. The Catalyst:Ed team is always happy to answer questions you might have, or to put you in touch with other senior experts who have actionable insights to offer you based on their personal experience.
“What happens if the client is satisfied and wants to pursue other projects with the expert - or wants to recommend the expert to other orgs - to what extent do experts interface with Catalyst:Ed and The DEI Expert Hub in that process?”
Catalyst:Ed’s only expectation is that we are kept informed about continuing relationships. We want to know so we can better understand and report to others about the impact the DEI providers in our network are having on the field.
“Can you be a part of the hub and request not to be matched to avoid paying the fee?”
To clarify, experts pay no fee to be a part of The Expert Hub, to receive scopes or submit proposals. If you are matched with a specific project, we ask you to pay us 10% of the project value up to a maximum of $3,000. We also don’t expect you to pay us upfront - we trust people to pay us as and when they get paid.
“This is an extremely busy time for most DEI education professionals. Considering some of the most impactful experts will be the most busy right now, what flexibility do you have on the Dec 15 deadline? Will there be acceptance on a rolling basis?”
We unfortunately have a hard deadline for December 15th given our launch date of March 2018. We do appreciate that prospective experts are busy, and so we are not expecting them to spend more than 15-30 minutes on the application. We encourage experts to see the application as the start of a conversation rather than a major proposal.