Click here to download a copy of the 2016 Hawai‘i Nonprofit Consulting and Training Needs Survey, a collaborative effort of Hawai‘i Community Benefit Consultants, Aloha United Way, the Hawai‘i Alliance of Nonprofit Organizations, and the Hawai‘i Community Foundation. The purpose of this survey is to identify training and consulting needs in the local nonprofit community.
For Nonprofits and Funders
Below are helpful websites, guides, toolkits, and advice to help you select and engage a consultant:
ImpactRising.org seeks to improve social sector consulting by increasing transparency and accountability, and ultimately by “raising the bar” on the level of consulting quality in the social sector. Their website helps you assess whether you are ready to work with a consultant, provides a “Bill of Rights” for consulting engagements, and hosts tools and resources for engaging and working with consultants.
Principles and Practices for Nonprofit Excellence: Working with Consultants: This five-page guide from the Montana Nonprofit Association offers a quick overview of questions to consider when hiring a consultant, the process to anticipate, and tips for working together successfully.
The Insider’s Guide to Outside Advice: A Toolkit: This handy toolkit prepared by the Grand Victoria Foundation includes project planning and contract guidance; a sample Request for Proposals (RFP); screening, reference checking, interviewing, and evaluation tools; and a sample letter of agreement.
The Nonprofit Leader’s Guide to Hiring and Engaging Consultants: Produced by the Association of Consultants to Nonprofits, this booklet walks through the process of assessing readiness for a consultant, identifying prospective consultants, picking a consulting partner, and documenting an agreement. Note: The booklet is available for download once a name, organization name, and email address are provided.
Working with Consultants: This free, 40-page downloadable guide from Strengthening Nonprofits provides guidance on preparing for, selecting, hiring, and managing a consultant, as well as for “life after a consultant.”
Working with a Consultant or Technical Assistance Provider: A Resource List: This list from the Foundation Center curates articles geared to nonprofits on topics such as how to select and work with consultants, how to assess credentials, and how to structure fees. Several of the articles are available as downloadable full-text documents.
What To Do When Hiring a Consultant: This post by two columnists from Philanthropy News Digest provides guidance on deciding whether you need to use a consultant, suggestions for locating and assessing potential consultants, and tips on fees and working together.
Lessons Learned: Hiring Consultants: This post from Philanthropy New Digest summarizes findings of a study by the Meyer Foundation regarding management assistance grants, highlights common criticisms of consultants engaged by nonprofits, and suggests lessons to learn from the Foundation’s consultant evaluations.
Studies on the Use of Consultants in the Social Sector
A First Map: Exploring the Market for Consulting Services to Nonprofit Organizations in the San Francisco Bay Area: While focused on a specific geographic area, this report provides insights on the prevalence of consultant engagement among nonprofits, the overall levels of satisfaction with consultants, and challenges that nonprofits may face in working with consultants.
Philanthropy Consulting: This issue of Foundation Review focuses exclusively on philanthropy consulting, and includes survey results on the use of consultants by US foundations, as well as case studies, tools, and advice on effective consulting partnerships in philanthropy.
Outsourcing Back-Office Services in Small Nonprofits: Pitfalls and Possibilities: Commissioned by the Eugene and Agnes E. Meyer Foundation, this study considers the specific outsourcing needs of small nonprofits, and offers suggestions to guide nonprofits’ and supporting funders’ decision making in this area.
ImpactRising.org seeks to improve social sector consulting by increasing transparency and accountability, and ultimately by “raising the bar” on the level of consulting quality in the social sector. In addition to the wealth of information and resources they provide to nonprofits (as described above), their website offer consultants tools such as a consultant/coaching self-assessment, and tips for engaging clients in transformation change.
7 Questions to Ask Yourself Before Going Freelance: This post via Harvard Business Review helps you weigh your readiness for taking the plunge into consulting.
Working with a Consultant or Technical Assistance Provider: A Resource List: If you are interested in becoming a consultant, the “For Consultants” section of this list from the Foundation Center provides insights for planning and establishing your consulting practice.