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Working with Consultants

Working with Consultants

Maximizing Value from External Expertise and Services

There are almost as many reasons to hire a consultant as there are consultants. Organizations look to outside providers to supply needed knowledge, analyze and make recommendations on significant issues, facilitate group decision-making, and much more.

Aligning an effective consultant with an organization’s needs can generate significant benefits for all involved. But no single consultant can do everything, client organizations often have a lot at stake when they engage an outside service provider, and the inherent power dynamic between consultant and client needs to be managed well to develop a productive partnership.

The resources below can help funders and nonprofits work with consultants successfully.

Steps for Success: Engaging a ConsultantSteps for Success: Engaging a Consultant

This guide can help nonprofits and grantmakers take the necessary steps to find, hire, and partner with a consultant who delivers what you need through a process that makes good use of your resources. It features nine steps that can help frame your approach and was updated in 2020 through an equity lens.

Frequently Asked QuestionsFrequently Asked Questions

Nonprofits and grantmakers engage consultants for a variety of needs. These responses to commonly asked questions can help you, and your consultant, get the most from each interaction.

Hiring a Strategic Planning ConsultantHiring a Strategic Planning Consultant

Looking across your organization and its work to find and describe the most effective path forward can be exhilarating. This guide can help you identify the strategy approach most suited to your needs, and the qualities to look for when engaging a strategy consultant.

Hiring a Communications ConsultantHiring a Communications Consultant

Communication involves the purposeful delivery of information to create awareness, understanding, or action. It’s a big topic, with application to virtually everything an organization does, inside and out. This brief tutorial can help people working in foundations and nonprofits effectively engage with communication consultants.

Hiring an External EvaluatorHiring an External Evaluator

Nonprofits and grantmakers who commit to continuous learning and improvement can have greater impact. But some organizations are reluctant to engage evaluation consultants. This guide can help demystify the process of hiring and partnering with an evaluator – so you can get the insights you need to advance your mission.

Understanding Fundraising FundamentalsUnderstanding Fundraising Fundamentals

Fundraising encompasses the range of activities involved in identifying, cultivating, soliciting, and stewarding relationships with donors who can provide money or other resources to enable a nonprofit to pursue its mission. This brief can help you understand the fundamentals involved with fundraising, and inform your use of fundraising consultants.

Equity in the CenterSo You Want to Hire an Equity Consultant

Demand for equity consultants is surging, but the process of hiring and partnering with one can be fraught with false starts and missteps. This resource from Equity in the Center offers guiding principles and tools for engaging a consultant to help build a race equity culture within your organization.

Guide to Writing RFQsWriting a Request for Qualifications (RFQ)

Realizing the full value of consulting services requires a careful approach to identifying potential partners. In some cases, you may benefit from a relational process and avoid requesting written submissions from multiple candidates. In other cases, it may be appropriate to issue an RFQ (a more equitable alternative to an RFP, or Request for Proposals). This guide to writing a strong RFQ can assist in your search.