Most of our capacity building grants involve working with a consultant. There’s considerable value from such collaborations including gaining a fresh perspective or specific expertise. It can be especially helpful when previous efforts have stalled or stakeholders have wildly differing points of view.
But there are an equal number of headaches as well — from the resistance of staff or board members who shun interference from outsiders to the considerable added time it takes to bring the consultant up to speed about your organization.
Is it worth it?
Yes… IF you’ve thought it through, planned ahead, allotted enough time, gotten all your stakeholders on board and, most importantly, found the consultant who “gets” your organization and has the temperament to shepherd the project and your agency’s varied personalities through the process.
That’s a lot of “ifs” – and it does make your head spin — but it’s also a realistic view of what you should be thinking about before you jump in and hire a consultant.
One thing is for sure, the consultant doesn’t do all the work. In fact, most times you and your colleagues are the ones doing the deep thinking and heavy lifting. The truth is you’re the ones with the answers. You just don’t know it yet. Consultants facilitate the process and keep you moving forward. They steer you in the right direction and make sure no one is left behind. They help you get to the heart of what you need to do and to recognize how you’re going to get there.
When the stars align, the results of working with a consultant can be quite remarkable.
There’s much more to think about and read about here:
- Working with Consultants from the Montana Nonprofit Association
- Working with Consultants, (Different Resource, Same Title) from Strengthening Nonprofits
- Nonprofit Consultants-How to Choose Them and Work with Them! from Greater New Orleans Foundation
- Guidelines on How to Screen, Hire and Manage Consultants from Southern New England Nonprofit Consultant Directory
- Don’t Need a Consultant? 5 Good Reasons You Might be Wrong by Kris Putnam-Walkerly
Posted on December 21, 2016