All About Using Consultants

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:

  1. What are the symptoms and causes of the problem(s)?
  2. What are the needs of the organization?
  3. What outcome is expected?
  4. 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.

If you missed the February 23 @4  So You Want to Hire a Consultant? program  download the powerpoint by clicking on the image: 

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 ConsultantsOur 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.”

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