Hiring a consultant can be invaluable for advancing your organization’s mission and fundraising goals. However, it requires forethought and clear communication to set the right foundation for a productive partnership.
Consider these key points before engaging a consultant:
Build trust and internal buy-in.
Meet with your team to discuss why you want to hire a consultant and how it can benefit the organization. Address any concerns about job roles or workload to ensure full support. Buy-in at all levels, especially from leadership and those directly involved in the project, is critical.
Define clear deliverables and scope.
Map out exactly what you want the consultant to achieve. Be as specific as possible regarding the scope of work, outcomes, deadlines, and key milestones. Discuss this directly with potential consultants during the interview process to make sure expectations are aligned from the beginning.
Determine data and resource needs.
Ask consultants what information and tools they require to do their job. Make sure you have the ability to provide everything that is necessary to complete the project successfully. If not, discuss options for obtaining the data or resources.
Assign a primary point of contact.
Identify someone internally to serve as the main liaison for the consultant. This person should have good project management skills and be able to devote sufficient time to the role. They will help gather information, address questions, and ensure the consultant has everything they need to meet deadlines and deliverables.
Build in opportunities for feedback.
Do not wait until the end of the project to get updates. Schedule regular check-ins, reviews of drafts, and interim presentations to provide feedback and make any needed course corrections. This also allows you to reevaluate timelines if requirements change.
By focusing on trust, communication, and mutual understanding, you set the stage for a highly productive relationship with your consultant. Addressing key considerations upfront helps avoid potential pitfalls and leads to outcomes that meet, or even exceed, your expectations. With the right strategies in place, consultants can be valuable partners in helping your organization achieve its most important goals.
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