Why Hire a Consultant?
The following is a synopsis of postings on the consultants' listserv of CharityChannel.com provided as a community service by the Resource Development Network. Consider how a consultant can bring great value to your organization.
Hire a consultant…
- To bring temporary or on-going expertise that supplements, not supplants, your staff.
- To obtain expertise that you don't have and to deliver quality that you might otherwise not be able to afford to hire.
- To provide confidentiality or to inject an objective voice.
- To see the situation through fresh, disinterested eyes, without the filters and preconceived notions that internal people may have.
- To gain efficiency:
- One can:
- ask a staff person to do something they don't have time to do,
- hire a less-experienced full-time person at a salary below the level of an experienced professional, or
- hire an experienced consultant.
It is a matter of capacity and efficiency.
- To enable all staff and volunteers to fully participate in a process such as strategic planning, without one of them having to wear a facilitator's hat too.
- To retain an expert for a short period of time. Most organizations have needs that require specialized skills, but which are not sufficient in scope to justify a full-time employee.
- To get the job done efficiently. A consultant, guided by expertise and experience, is more likely to get the job done right the first time.
- To ask the right questions.
How To Select a Consultant
Thinking about hiring a consultant? Here are some links that can help.
American Planning Association -- Deciding to Hire a Consultant
Take a look at Consultants Directories such as Non-Profit Central's NY/NJ Consultants Directory*.
Although this directory contains some of the finest consultants in the greater New York City area, the Resource Development Network cannot guarantee the quality or qualifications of the consultants listed because consultants self-submit their profiles. However, all consultants in the directory had to submit two references in order to have a listing in the directory.
You need to interview candidates in depth. Get samples of previous work. Ask for a consultant's list of past clients. Peruse it for an agency where you know someone who works there --and then give your colleague a call. Check references. Additionally, some consultants are required to be registered with the state attorney general's office. Do your homework to ensure you select the best consultant for your needs.