At some point in the life of a nonprofit organization there may well be a need to hire the services of a consultant. Before signing a contract it’s a good idea to ask and answer several questions:
- What are the symptoms and causes of the problem(s)?
- What are the needs of the organization?
- What outcome is expected?
- How much can be budgeted?
Consultants may be useful when your organization needs an expert; the board and staff cannot agree; an outside perspective is needed; previous fix failed and of course, if it is recommended by a funder.
Don’t miss these resources:
The Southern New England Nonprofit Consultant Directory provides a thorough overview of the hiring process from identifying the problem; developing the RFP; screening and interviewing of candidates.
For guidance in working with consultants look to the Standford Social Innovation Review and the article How to Choose and Work with a Consultant by Peter Brinckerhoff for the Minnesota Council of Nonprofits.
Online Resources for Hiring Consultants – Our in-class handout
Request for Proposal (RFP) Example: From Carter McNamara’s Free Management Help Library, “(Sample!) Request for Proposal”
Contract Example: From Carter McNamara’s Free Management Help Library, “(Sample Contract!) Agreement on Consulting Services.”
Questions to Ask: From Nonprofit Management Solutions, “Guidelines for Choosing the Right Consultant.”
From TechSoup, “Choosing the Right [Technical] Consultant.”
From the Vermont Community Foundation, “Consultant Resources: Guidelines on How to Screen, Hire and Manage Consultants.”
Consultant Ethics: From The Association of Fundraising Professionals, “The Ethics of Consulting Fees.”
Managing: From the Vermont Community Foundation, “How to Manage a Consultant.”