Consulting Services for Identifying Options for Evolving Organizational Structure and Governance

Closing date
05 Jul 2022


Sustainable Energy for All (SEforALL) is an international organization working with leaders in government, the private sector and civil society to drive further, faster action toward achievement of Sustainable Development Goal 7 (SDG7), which calls for universal access to sustainable energy by 2030, and the Paris Agreement, which calls for reducing greenhouse gas emissions to limit climate warming to below 2° Celsius.

Achieving these goals will require a radical rethink of the way we produce, distribute, and consume energy. SEforALL is at the heart of this foundational shift to ensure no one is left behind. Drawing on data and evidence, we identify a critical path to success in achieving SDG7.

Former UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon launched Sustainable Energy for All as a UN initiative in 2011. The initiative was instrumental in ensuring energy was at the heart of the 17 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) that were adopted by UN members in 2015.

The ambitions of SDG7 are extraordinary. Aiming to achieve them in the context of the Paris Agreement on climate change involves transformation at a scale never undertaken before. Swift action must be taken by leaders in governments, private sector companies, institutions, financiers, development banks, unions, communities, entrepreneurs, and civil society. As we enter the final decade to achieve SDG7, SEforALL has strategically chosen to strengthen global agenda-setting while expanding its activities to an engagement model that prioritizes data-driven decision-making, partnerships with high-impact countries and implementation on the ground. The current SEforALL three-year business plan outlines “results offers” that scope out our planned interventions and demonstrate to our funding partners the impact of their support.

Current governance

In 2016, SEforALL was established as a Quasi-International Organization (QIO) under Austrian law and headquartered in Vienna with a satellite office in Washington, DC, United States. It works closely with the United Nations Office of Project Services (UNOPS) on management of some funding and contracting, and with the United Nations Foundation as a ‘fiscal sponsor’ in the United States and provider of office space in Washington DC.

SEforALL currently employs approximately 60+ full-time professionals and now operates out of its headquarters in Vienna and offices in New York City and Washington DC USA and in Abuja, Nigeria. Additional team members are based in Freetown, Sierra Leone and Nairobi, Kenya with an expectation of more country-based assignments to occur in the future. SEforALL’s governance structure consists of an Administrative Board and a Funders’ Council, and is defined by its bylaws and statutes:

  • The Administrative Board is the principal governing body. Its Chair and members provide guidance on strategic direction and handle all policymaking decisions, including appointing the CEO and approving the annual work plan.
  • SEforALL relies on donor contributions to fund its operations. SEforALL’s Funders’ Council is a consultative group that comprises representatives from selected major donors, and that provides advice and recommendations to the CEO and the Administrative Board. The Chair of the Council holds an ex officio Administrative Board position.

Further, SEforALL has a Leadership Council composed of distinguished global leaders with a shared mission to accelerate action on Sustainable Development Goal 7 (SDG7) and the Paris Agreement.  Members of the Leadership Council act in an honorary capacity and do not presently assume governance responsibilities.

Relationship with the United Nations

As an independent organization, SEforALL maintains close links with the UN, including through a ten-year relationship agreement with the Executive Office of the Secretary-General, partnerships with several UN agencies and through its CEO’s appointment as the UN Secretary-General's Special Representative (SRSG) for Sustainable Energy for All and as Co-Chair of UN-Energy. The SRSG role includes advising the UN Secretary-General and his staff on issues relating to sustainable energy and the implementation of SDG7 and supporting the coordination of sustainable energy issues in the United Nations system.

Scope of Work and Objective

SEforALL is seeking the services of a Consultancy which can help evolve its governance model and  organizational structure in a strategic and pragmatic manner that also delivers the best approach to achieve  SEforALL’s mandates and goals. The Consultancy is expected to identify and detail out opportunities and options to reconfigure SEforALL’s internal administrative, legal, and operational structure; with or without its current partners.

SEforALL is currently exploring answers to some of the following questions:

  • How can SEforALL optimize its governance structure for:
    • Fulfilling its role and mission;
    • Meeting its fund raising aspirations in terms of quantum and diversity of revenue;
    • Meeting its obligations to its current and prospective donors;
    • Maintaining its competitiveness in attracting and retaining talented global staff and building an international presence through multiple office locations; and
    • Enhancing its ongoing strategic relationship with the United Nations
  • How does SEforALL’s current structural and operating model compare with other non-profit organizations (e.g. international organizations, intergovernmental organizations, non-governmental organizations) of similar size, scale and mandate?
  • Is SEforALL’s current set up in Austria (as a Quasi-International Organization) optimal, or are more effective models available both within and outside of Austria?
  • What operating partnerships (e.g. fiscal sponsorships, operating hosts, administrative functions) are needed and how could these be optimized?

In this context, the services of a consultancy firm are requested for the following:

  • Conduct a review of the governance structure, operational model and legal status of SEforALL
  • Identify a limited set of analogous organizations that could serve as useful benchmarks for SEforALL’s legal, governance and operating models.
  • Provide advice and generate options for SEforALL’s management in the evolution of its operating and governance model, identifying both pros and cons to those options as related to the current and prospective benefits and support enjoyed by the organization.
  • Assess SEforALL’s current registration in Austria and provide recommendations on whether it is fit for purpose given the organization’s growth trajectory and strategic ambition.
  • Provide advice on operating model and organizational governance redesign options for SEforALL
  • Provide guidance on the financial, human resource, legal and other implications of any recommended changes, and provide an overview of key financial and legal implications (e.g. taxation, visas, social security, etc) that should be considered.
  • Provide advice and recommendations on any interim arrangements that might be warranted in evolving SEforALL’s governance.

Approach, Timeline, and Deliverables

Approach: Additional information may be provided upon execution of a Non-Disclosure Agreement. The Consultant will propose solutions for the Scope of Work above in close coordination and continuous exchange with the SEforAll team. This will be ensured by organising weekly or biweekly meetings with the Consultant. The selected consultant will maintain close contact with a designated SEforALL contact throughout the assignment who will facilitate access to documentation, relevant SEforALL staff and other partners as needed.

The consultant must make a concerted effort to mainstream gender considerations throughout this assignment. If possible, the firm is also expected to implement a 40:60 female to male ratio in their team and to submit a copy of any gender policies they follow.

Timeline: The scope of this task should be completed within twelve (12) weeks, preferably earlier, from the date of contract signing.

Deliverables: The deliverables and indicative timeline for this project are as follows (Based on contract signing by 15 July 2022:

By 29 July 2022: Selected consultant will submit a project plan that includes planning of activities, needs in terms of resources and time, approach to progress tracking and reporting as well as a project road map. Such approach and methodology will be reviewed and agreed with SEforALL’s Leadership Team.

By 12 August 2022: Selected consultant will submit the review of SEforALL’s current governance structure, operational model and legal status, identifying the current benefits and drawbacks in the areas of financial, human resource, legal and other implications. The review will also include the identification of a limited set of analogous organizations that could serve as useful benchmarks for SEforALL’s legal, governance and operating models. The submission will be reviewed by the Leadership Team. Their feedback and inputs would be incorporated in the review document.

By 9 September 2022: Selected consultant will submit a draft report identifying options for the evolution of SEforALL ’s operating and governance model, identifying both pros and cons to those options as related to the current and prospective benefits. The draft report will be presented to and discussed with the Leadership Team, with feedback and input incorporated and clarifying questions responded to.

By 7 October 2022: Selected consultant will submit a final report identifying options and recommendations for SEforALL’s operating and governance model, clearly identifying the financial, human resource,  legal and other implications of any recommended changes, (e.g. administrative services, fees, taxation, visas, social security, etc.)

Summary of Deliverables and Timeline

Deliverable Due Date
1.   Inception report Within two weeks of contract execution
2.   Review of SEforALL’s current governance, operational and legal setup Within 4 weeks of contract execution
3.   Draft report presented and reviewed Within 8 weeks of contract execution
4.   Final Report presented Within 12 weeks of contract execution



The selected consultant/organization shall report to the SEforALL’s Senior Director and Chief of Staff for this assignment, with additional input and consultations with the SEforALL CEO and Leadership Team


There is no expectation of travel, but prospective bidders are welcome to include travel estimates as part of the proposal.

  • Qualification and Expertise
  • Organizations wishing to submit a proposal should have:
  • A minimum of seven years’ experience in working with analogous organizations (and particularly with non-profits/INGOs) in the areas of operational effectiveness, administrative services, governance structures, fund raising strategy, tax and legal frameworks, change management, and similar.
  • A good understanding of the United Nations sustainable development goals and the energy access sector.
  • Direct, demonstratable experience of doing similar work with analogous organisations in the non-profit sector or inter-governmental sector is a must, including organizations headquartered and/or operating in the United States and Europe (a portfolio of similar work is requested). Knowledge of major not-for-profit organizations headquartered or operating in the United States, Denmark, France, Switzerland, United Kingdom, Netherlands and Austria is particularly advantageous.
  • Personnel proposed must have education qualifications of at least a Master’s degree level in the areas of human resources, business, finance, law, public administration, public policy, or a related discipline.
  • Personnel proposed must include individual(s) with a law degree and be a practicing attorney able to review and advise on legal implications.
  • Proposed personnel should also have at least 3-5 years of work experience in organizational consultancy or similar.
  • The organisation must legally be able to provide business services within the European Union and can operate within at least a 6 hour window (09:00 – 15:00) of Central European Summer Time zone (CEST), Monday-Friday. The organisation is expected to work closely with the teams and thus same time zone is preferred.
  • All personnel must have a high-level command of the English language.

The bidder may propose more than one lead consultant, if necessary, to carry out this assignment.

Bidding Process

Proposals can be submitted using your own format; however, the proposal must include the following:

  • Technical Proposal:
    • Cover page, including the organisation’s name, address, and contact information.
    • Your organisation’s understanding of the assignment, including any proposed changes to the Key Action Plan of work, timeline, and management approach
    • Brief background about your organisation, the year it was founded, and details of relevant experiences, including examples of similar projects completed.
    • Portfolio of similar projects and works (Relevant skills, and experience of the team that match those set out above)
    • Three (3) organizational references from the last three years
    • Key personnel CVs of a gender balanced team, with CVs preferably no more than two pages each.
    • Gender Policy
  • A Financial Proposal, outlining the costs associated with carrying out the scope of work, including:
    • Labour costs (personnel, daily rates, number of days)
    • Other costs
    • All costs must be in USD

Please submit your proposal by Tuesday 5 July 2022,17:00 Central European Summer Time (CEST) to

Any questions, should be submitted in written format directly to