Summary

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Consultants are often a very valuable resource for nonprofit organizations. They can provide needed skills or expertise that can greatly improve the organization's ability to deliver services efficiently and effectively. The key to success with consultants is to take an intelligent and proactive approach at every stage, from deciding to use consultants to preparing for, selecting, hiring, and managing them. Taking this approach will help to ensure that working with a consultant turns into a sound investment. Thank you for taking the time to learn about Working with Consultants.

Invest careful thought and planning in the decision to use a consultant.

Determining whether or not to hire a consultant is an important decision for your organization. Consultants can help nonprofits expand their organizational capacity and assist with identifying and solving problems. Although consultants can be used for almost any purpose you can imagine, the decision to invest in a consultant must be carefully made.

Nonprofit managers can avoid the common pitfalls involved in using consultants by taking a proactive approach. When you define your purpose, develop a list of potential candidates, carefully interview and select a good match, and manage the consultant as he or she works, the investment can have a significant pay-off for your organization.

Here are some helpful resources about working with consultants.

The books listed below provide more information about how to identify, hire, and work with consultants.

  • Lewis, Howard. Choosing and Using Consultants and Advisors: A best practice guide to making the right decision and getting good value. Philadelphia, PA: Kogan Page Limited, 2006. 
  • McGonagle, John J. and Carolyn M. Vella. How to use a consultant in your company: a manager’s and executive’s guide. Hoboken, NJ: John Wiley & Sons, 2001.
  • Newman, David. The Manager’s Pocket Guide to Using Consultants. Amherst, MA: HRD Press Inc., 2007.
  • Perchthold, Gordon and Jenny Sutton. Extract Value from Consultants: How to Hire, Control, and Fire Them. Austin, TX: Greenleaf Book Group Press, 2010.
  • Scanlan, Eugene A. Fundraising Consultants: A Guide for Nonprofit Organizations. Hoboken, NJ: John Wiley & Sons, 2009.

Below is a list of online articles about working with consultants.