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Welcome to the e-learning lesson on Working with Consultants. Suppose your organization is considering a new fundraising strategy, but you want to get an independent perspective on how well it might work. Or you're thinking of purchasing a computer system, but aren't sure whether your staff has the expertise to make the right choice. These are some potential reasons your nonprofit might decide to hire a consultant. Consultants can potentially meet almost any need you can imagine. But is hiring a consultant the best decision in your situation? If so, what are the best approaches to identifying prospective consultants, hiring them, and making sure they're meeting your needs? At the end of this lesson, you will be able to: identify key steps for selecting a consultant, recognize how to prepare for working with a consultant, identify key elements of a basic contract, and apply strategies for managing a consultant to a consulting scenario.

Many types of consultants are available to work with organizations.

Consultants are experts who are contracted with for a period of time in order to complete a particular project. They come in all shapes and sizes, from people working individually to international consulting firms. They might also come from branches of other businesses or organizations, such as universities, libraries, museums, broadcasting companies, or research groups. In this e-learning lesson, you will learn about factors to consider when deciding whether to hire a consultant. You will also learn key steps for selecting a consultant, as well as practical approaches for contracting with and managing a consultant.

Consultants offer a vast array of services to meet organizational needs.

Consultants can provide a wide range of expertise to help organizations meet their specific needs, such as developing marketing strategies, implementing computer systems, revising accounting processes, delivering staff training, administering research projects, and many other activities. However, an organization must carefully consider whether hiring a consultant is the best decision. If the organization does decide to work with a consultant, additional preparation and monitoring will be required to ensure that the investment pays off.