|Learn how to choose a consultant, an external group, or individual to bring experience and expertise to address issues or processes in your organization.|
What is a consultant?
Why might you seek a consultant?
When might you seek a consultant?
Whom might you ask to be a consultant?
How do you choose a consultant?
Community-based and nonprofit organizations often need the help or the perspective of someone from the outside. Consultants are individuals that an organization may enlist the service of due to their expertise and objectivity to an issue or situation. In this section, we discuss what a consultant does, why and when you might want to use one's services, and how to go about choosing the right consultant for the job and for your organization.
What is a consultant?
A consultant is an individual (or, sometimes, a group or organization) that brings experience and expertise about an issue or process to an initiative, organization, group, institution, government entity, or community.
Although, in general, we’re discussing a formal arrangement of some sort, whether paid or not, consulting can cover a lot of different situations. You may ask for information informally – the name of a good paper supplier, for instance – and that could be considered consulting of a sort, as could a conversation over a drink after work with your counterpart in another organization. You might consult with a professional colleague, a mentor, a friend, or a group of people in circumstances similar to yours. The differences between these situations and a formal arrangement – besides the question of pay – are in your perceptions of what’s going on and the length of time involved.
Let’s examine briefly what a consultant might be able to offer you:
Knowledge relating to an issue. As the terms “experience” and “expertise” imply, there are different kinds of knowledge a consultant may bring to bear on an issue:
- Theoretical knowledge gained from study and/or experimentation. If someone has an academic specialization in a particular field, and/or is familiar with the theory and research that relates to it (and has perhaps done some research of her own), she’s likely to have a real understanding of the issue from a theory standpoint.
Colleges and universities are under-utilized by community groups as consulting resources. Their willingness varies, as does that of individual faculty members, but in general they are willing to serve, and to serve for free more often than not, when they have useful knowledge to share. Sometimes they want to serve, and are just waiting to be asked. It helps the university’s image in the community; it can sometimes help a faculty member get tenure points; and it provides useful hands-on experience for students. Some community groups may feel intimidated by universities, or may simply not know what’s out there. But the advice here is to get past those barriers, establish some relationships, and consider asking locally for what you need.
- Practical knowledge gained from experience. This is knowledge that comes from working with the issue in the community. Reading about homelessness is different from working every day in a homeless shelter, or conducting outreach to homeless people under the bridges or in the parks where they sleep.
The ideal is to have both theoretical and practical knowledge, and many providers of health and community services do. By the same token, many academics conduct research that involves either running actual programs, or collaborating with existing services in the community. Thus, they, too, may gain a combination of the theoretical and the practical.
Too many academics lack the practical knowledge that could inform their theory, however, and too many practitioners lack the familiarity with theory that could inform their work. One reason you might seek a consultant is to bridge this gap – i.e., either to provide some theory to help guide the work of a direct-service organization, or to bring practical knowledge (or the opportunity for practice) to students or researchers.
- Firsthand knowledge of a target community. You may be looking for someone familiar with a community as a whole, or with a deep understanding of a particular ethnic, racial, religious, socio-economic, or other cultural group. You’d want someone who knows its language, traditions, and customs; its leaders; its history; and its internal workings – who can work with whom, which individuals or families like and dislike one another, how they’ve confronted issues in the past, etc..
- Expertise in using a particular method or approach, such as street outreach or family literacy.
- New ideas based on theory or practice, or on a combination of the two. A potential consultant may have developed and/or tested out a promising new approach or technique, based on theory or her own experience. You might hire such a person to teach you how to use it.
Knowledge of a process. Like that of an issue, knowledge of a process may come from either theory or practice, or both, although at least some practical knowledge is usually important here. Some processes that consultants typically address are:
- Assessing community, organizational, or other assets, needs, or preferences. Community assessment, for example, might encompass what to look for in the community, how to determine what needs and assets are, whom to involve, how the process should be carried out, etc..
- Strategic planning for an organization or initiative. A strategic plan involves generating a vision and mission for the group, setting long- and short-range goals aimed at realizing the vision, creating action plans to achieve those goals, and evaluating your process and progress.
- Planning an intervention or initiative. In this circumstance, you’re creating an action plan for a specific effort as part of a larger strategic plan. At whom does the effort need to be aimed? What should its intended outcomes be? Who should carry it out? What structures and/or methods might it use? Where might resources for it be found? These are only some of the questions that need to be answered in creating this type of plan.
- Implementation of a strategic plan, an intervention, or an initiative. Carrying out a plan requires not only competence at specific activities – anything from public relations to particular methods of dealing with at-risk youth – but also dealing with the community, relating to funders, managing money, etc..
- Starting an organization. Even if you have the financial resources in hand (a rare circumstance), starting an organization entails working with the community, hiring and properly training the right people, involving participants and other community members, and making sure everyone knows the organization exists and what it does – in other words, a complex set of activities. If this is a first-time experience, a consultant can be a huge help.
- Organizational development. The process of keeping an organization moving forward and dynamic – constantly changing for the better – requires attention to staff relationships, burn-out, and staff development, as well as constant reflection on and evaluation of the organization’s work, the role of the board or other governing body, organizational vision, etc..
- Personnel issues and interpersonal relationships within an organization or other group, among organizations or groups, or between an organization or group and those it serves or targets. An understanding of how people relate to one another individually and in groups, and how groups develop (and fall apart) – often referred to as “group process” – may be necessary to keep an organization, initiative, or coalition on the right track.
Expertise in a specific area. Consultants are often asked to perform a specific function for an organization or group, or to advise in a narrow, clearly-defined area. Some possibilities are:
- Advocacy. This most often means working for recognition or resources with legislators or government agencies, foundations, or the public. The advocacy may be for a particular population, for a particular cause, or for a particular organization or field.
- Negotiation, contractual relationships, and other business matters. Here, a consultant might actually take part in an activity (conducting negotiations, for example) on behalf of an organization or group, or might simply be an advisor.
- Grantwriting. A grantwriting consultant would generally be expected to write a grant proposal, with direction from the entity applying for the funding.
- Facilitation. A consultant might be asked to facilitate meetings – either on a regular basis or for specific occasions or processes – or to facilitate a whole process.
- Community relations, outreach, and PR. While community relations – establishing and maintaining positive working relationships with other organizations or groups, institutions, key individuals, and the general public – is best done by the organization or group itself, a consultant can help to identify important contacts and to plan a community relations effort. Public relations – media stories, advertising, publicity, etc. – may be largely a matter of composing and placing messages, and is often entrusted to a consultant with media or publicity experience and contacts.
- Evaluation. Evaluation – carefully examining both the process and the results of your work against some measurable standards – may involve statistical procedures, unusual or well-defined interview techniques, trained observation, or other professional skills. Even if the evaluation is a relatively simple one, many funders require that it be conducted by someone other than the entity being evaluated in order to ensure that it’s not slanted.
- Professional or technical training and knowledge. These would include such areas as law, medicine, computer skills (including website design and maintenance), accounting, familiarity with specialized equipment, and the like.
Objectivity. Sometimes, an organization needs someone with no stake in its history or operation to analyze its workings or to help it through a difficult period. A consultant, particularly one with an understanding of organizational development, can bring perceptions uncolored by personal investment or by unwillingness to change the way things have always been done.
Before we leave “What is a consultant?” we should discuss the issue of payment. Consultants come in different forms. There are consulting firms, some of them huge and international, that charge enormous fees plus expenses for the work they do, but will work anywhere, and often have great expertise and resources to offer. Smaller firms and individual consultants may charge what seems like a large amount per hour (anywhere from fifty or seventy-five to several hundred dollars), but tend to be local and charge no expenses, and may only be available for a short time. Some may be willing to help a grassroots or community-based organization pro bono – i.e., free – or at a reduced fee. Consulting help may also be available from colleagues in other organizations or from academics (remember those universities just waiting to be asked), often either free or for barter.
Something to bear in mind when considering consultant fees is that individual consultants receive no benefits and pay 100% of their own payroll taxes. If you add up what you spend hourly on an employee (including benefits and payroll taxes), and then figure in the consultant’s expertise, you may find that the consultant’s fee is not as large as it seems.
Why might you seek a consultant?
So why exactly might you need a consultant? Some of the most common reasons:
- To solve a problem you haven’t so far been able to solve on your own. Perhaps you’re unable to figure out why all your efforts to involve the African-American community in your work have gone nowhere. What do you do about a real or potential ethical conflict involving a Board member? These kinds of problems – as well as untold others – may be a reason to look for a consultant.
- To facilitate a process. Organizational transition (as described in the first example in this section), strategic planning, and incorporating or merging with another organization are all instances where a process might be enhanced by an external facilitator.
The key word here is “external.” Often, an organizational process or problem is difficult to handle from the inside. Too many of the people involved have too much invested in their position, their turf, or their ideas to look at the situation objectively, or to come up with a compromise that would solve the problem. It can take someone with no connection to the organization to look at the situation rationally and lead the organization to a solution.
There may be other tasks that would benefit from being carried out by someone outside the organization as well. Investigations, for instance – of a possible financial irregularity or of a charge brought against the organization by a participant – might best be accomplished by an unbiased third party.
- To bring specific knowledge or theory to your work. That hydrochemist in the example at the beginning of this section brought scientific knowledge to an environmental group. An educational or human service agency might need help from a psychologist or sociologist to understand how best to work with a specific group of people.
- To lend skills your organization doesn’t have. Several of these have already been mentioned. Some typical consultant jobs:
- Advocacy and/or lobbying.
- Public relations.
- Fundraising (planning and running events, campaigns, etc., as opposed to writing grants).
- Recruiting candidates for important staff or board positions and/or helping with the hiring process.
- Staff development and training. These might include both general topics (diversity issues, conflict resolution, interpersonal skills) and particular methods or procedures.
- Organizational development. A consultant might help an organization examine its processes and functioning, and work with it to change or improve parts of its structure and/or operations. Consulting on organizational development could include facilitating strategic planning, evaluation, social marketing research, and other similar activities.
- Financial management.
- Negotiation and other business-related skills.
- Computer networking and/or website development.
- To carry out a specific, usually time-limited, task. A consultant might be used to plan a special event, research and write an organizational history, overhaul the organization’s financial books, find and install a phone or computer system, create organization-specific software or a website, run a one-time-only workshop – anything the organization needs and lacks the capacity to do itself.
- To mediate a dispute or a difficult situation. This might mean mediation between organizations or groups, mediation between individuals or groups within a single organization, mediation of a labor dispute, or any other kind of conflict resolution that can’t be accomplished by the parties themselves.
- To bring a fresh, unbiased perspective to your organization. A consultant with no organizational “baggage” – no personal stake in methods, procedures, structure, etc. – may be able to pinpoint difficulties and suggest new and more effective ways of handling them.
When might you seek a consultant?
The short answer to this question is, of course, when you need (and can afford) one, but there are certain times when a consultant’s help might be especially useful. Among these:
- When you’re about to start something new. This may be a whole new organization or initiative, a new program within your organization, a new project – anything you’re attempting for the first time. If you don’t have, or have access to, the experience of having done this before, a consultant may be able to help you avoid pitfalls and take the actions necessary to make the effort successful.
- When you’re in a transition period. An organization may be changing directors, growing rapidly (or downsizing), reorganizing or changing direction, or merging with another organization. A consultant – acting either as facilitator or advisor – may be able to make the transition easier by helping people deal with changes in relationships, develop ways to cope with new situations, and find their places in a new environment.
- When there’s a serious problem. The impulse here, for organizations as well as individuals, is to assume (a) that the problem is not as serious as it appears, and (b) that you can deal with it on your own. While one or both of these assumptions may often be true, there are times when bringing in someone with no investment in the situation and with conflict-resolution and other skills can lead to a positive conclusion that might not have been reached otherwise.
- When there’s a clear need for more organizational structure, but you don’t know how to go about planning for and implementing it. There are consultants who do nothing but work with organizations on developing and implementing policies and procedures, management plans, and similar structural features. It’s a common need, and one that a consultant can help with.
- When you don’t have the in-house capacity to perform a necessary task or process. These tasks could range from doing your taxes (even if you’re a tax-exempt American organization, you have to file a Form 990 with the IRS) to creating GIS (Geographic Information Systems) maps to writing a grant to planning and running a celebration or fund-raising event to providing scientific background for an environmental or health organization.
- When you need an outside evaluator. A funding entity may require that you hire a consultant to evaluate the program it’s funding (and may include or require money to do so in the grant). You may not have the time or the capacity to conduct your own program evaluation, or you may want the level of legitimacy that a positive outside evaluation can bestow. Or you may simply want as objective a view as possible of what you’re doing, so that you can feel confident about whatever changes you make as a result.
Whom might you ask to be a consultant?
A professional consultant. This might be, as mentioned earlier, either a firm or an individual. Professional consultants often offer help in such areas as organizational development, program or process evaluation, community assessment, market research (Is there a need for the service you want to provide? How can you increase participation?), etc.. These firms and individuals usually have highly developed skills in these broad areas, but may or may not have specific skills in your field or intimate knowledge of your community.
Academics and researchers. These folks are most likely to help with applying theory to your practice, providing specific background on science or other academic disciplines, or suggesting ways of approaching practice in your field. They may also be helpful with planning and evaluation.
Current or former directors or staff of organizations that work in the area you’re concerned with. They may be in the same field as your organization, or may have specific expertise in such areas as working with people with disabilities or legislative advocacy.
Former public officials. People who’ve been in government often use their experience and contacts to work as advocates or lobbyists. They may also have developed their knowledge of particular areas during their government service, and then may employ that knowledge as consultants in those areas.
People with specific professional skills. These are usually professionals whose regular jobs require those skills. They may consult as a sideline, or they may simply be asked to consult in a given circumstance. You might even find them through a book or article they’ve written, or a media item about them. Some typical examples include:
- Psychologists and psychiatrists
- Computer programmers and website designers
People affected by the issue you’re dealing with. Asking people involved with an issue to consult on methods of dealing with it can serve two purposes: it can give you better information about what is really needed; and it can serve as part of an intervention as well, building self-image and helping people understand that they can make a difference in solving problems that plague them.
A youth violence prevention effort, for example, might ask residents of a high-crime neighborhood for help in developing strategies for making the commitment of crimes more difficult: where lighting could be placed, what kinds of activities might draw teens off the street, etc. Former, or even current, gang members might be asked to help outreach workers understand and contact gangs, and to consult with them on how to encourage peacekeeping.
People from, or with a deep understanding of, a certain culture or population. You might need such a consultant to help you avoid being offensive or culturally insensitive, to help you understand how to reach and attract members of the group in question, to translate for you, etc.
How do you choose a consultant?
In general, the material under this heading applies to formal, paid consulting arrangements. Much consulting in the real world may be a lot less formal – calling up a friend, having lunch with a colleague, e-mailing a professor you know at the university – but that’s not what we’re specifically concerned with here. Choosing those people is usually easy: you know them, know what they’re good at, and trust them to give you good advice or to be helpful. It’s the folks you don’t know – professional consultants or experts in particular fields – that we’re talking about choosing in this section.
Even though most consultants’ tasks are fairly specific and time-limited, choosing a consultant is sometimes similar to choosing an employee. You have to decide that you need a consultant; define the task you want her to accomplish; decide what skills and experience are necessary to complete that task; think about the personal traits and working style that would mesh well with your organization. You may have to recruit, interview, and choose among candidates, and you should evaluate the work when it’s done. We’ll examine each of these steps in turn.
Decide whether you actually need a consultant at all. At this point in the process, if you haven’t already done so, you might ask yourself whether you actually need a consultant for the task at hand. Not every situation or organization requires consulting services. Do you have other options here? Do the resources exist within your organization or group to accomplish your goals on your own? If you haven’t already considered these questions seriously and carefully, now is the time, before you’ve committed too much time and energy to the process of choosing a consultant.
Define the task you want the consultant to tackle. Some consulting jobs are clear-cut: the consultant is hired to do something specific – write a computer program, plan and run an event, facilitate a hiring process – and she’s finished when it’s done. Other tasks are muddier; the consultant is hired to help the organization reflect on its work, or to assess the organization’s state and suggest changes – improve staff communication, change the organizational climate – and may have no clear timeline. In either case, the more clearly you can explain what you want, the more likely you are to get it.
In a case where the task is quite specific, lay out exactly what you want, and the time frame within which it should be completed. (“The consultant will work with the Website Committee to develop ideas for an organizational website, and will then, in collaboration with the committee, design, put online, and debug the website. The planning will start when the consultant is hired, and the website is expected to be launched by October 31.”)
Where the task is less clear and specific, it can often be defined by the desired outcome. You have to make sure that the outcome itself is clearly defined, however. If you want to improve communication within the organization, for instance, what exactly would that look like? Are there objective measures (e.g., everyone having direct e-mail access to everyone else)? Would you like to see more people eating lunch together? Better attendance or more participation at staff meetings? More cooperation among staff members with different jobs? Different ways of doing the work growing out of increased communication?
Without a clear definition of the task and its results – as well as a time frame, if that’s appropriate, and some agreement about payment – you’re being unfair to both the consultant and yourself.
Determine what skills and experience the consultant must have to accomplish your goals. There are several considerations here:
- Should she have a specific educational background? That hydrochemist in one of the introductory examples certainly needed one, and that background would lend him credibility if he had to testify in court or at an environmental quality hearing.
- Does he need specific training? A consultant working to expose and repair damaged relationships among staff members might be required to have training in conflict resolution, mediation, and/or counseling.
- Does she need certain interpersonal skills? Different people communicate differently. Especially if a consultant is working with members of all sectors of an organization or community, she must be able to understand, and be understood by, all of them.
- Does he need particular experience? Is it important that he have experience in your field or a related one? Would you prefer that he had previously done the specific task that you’re asking him to accomplish? Should he have worked with non-profits (or communities or schools or…) before?
Consider what kind of working style and personality will fit with your organization. If you’re a group that places a premium on involving everyone in decision-making, for example, you’ll probably do better with a consultant who operates the same way. If the organization is generally easygoing and uses humor as a tension-breaker and communication tool, it probably wouldn’t be well-served by a consultant who’s extremely task-oriented and for whom humor is frivolous and unimportant.
As with a potential employee, it’s important to think about the fit of a consultant with your organization and its people. If staff members and participants don’t feel comfortable with the person and her style, they’re less likely to be cooperative, and the consultant is less likely to be effective. Often, consultants who are effective with health and community service organizations, particularly community-based ones, are those who are respectful of and can communicate well with a broad range of people. Though they may be experts in their fields, they don’t present themselves in that way, but rather solicit – and use – the knowledge and opinions of others.
Decide how much you can afford. This consulting position may be part of, or funded by, a grant of a specific amount. In that case, determining what you can spend is easy. If you’re spending unrestricted funds, there are two things to consider: what you can afford to spend, and what you can’t afford not to spend. If the consultant’s assignment is vital to the organization – writing a large and crucial grant proposal, for instance, or guiding the choice of a new Executive Director – it may make sense to pay more if the outlay assures top quality work.
Recruit candidates. Once you’ve decided on the characteristics you want in a consultant, the next step is to look for a candidate who has them. In practice, consultants are often hired informally. They may be people with whom the organization has worked directly or indirectly (the director or a board member has had experience with the consultant in a community context, for example), who have a good reputation in the community, or who are personally acquainted with the director or others in the organization. They may have worked with a colleague, who has given a positive recommendation.
In these cases, the organization knows what it’s getting. As long as it also knows what it needs, that’s a plus. If you’re hiring a consultant in this way, then recruitment isn’t an issue. If, however, you don’t know the person you want, recruitment is a key part of the search.
When there’s no one specific in mind, the hiring process may still be relatively informal, but be broader-reaching. You might use networks to find likely candidates, posting the job at other organizations and in appropriate places on the Internet (your own website, craigslist, other organizations’ websites, etc.), conferring with colleagues and others about possible consultants, and perhaps encouraging applications from people you’ve heard good things about.
If you’re new in the community, or if the consultant job in question is crucial to the organization – or simply because you want to be as thorough as possible – you might use a formal recruiting procedure similar to that for a permanent employee. In that instance, you’d advertise the position in newspapers, professional journals or newsletters, on the Internet (both on the websites referred to above and on Internet job search sites), and at other agencies – so that you’ll have a choice of good candidates.
Screen applications, interview candidates, and make your choice. The whole process of screening applications and interviewing candidates is described in detail in
- Assembling a hiring team of perhaps four to six people, with representatives of everyone in the organization who will work with the consultant or be affected by her work.
- Having the team read and rate – either formally or informally – the applications, based on the qualifications and personal characteristics you’ve decided you want. (This step may include training some or all of the team in analyzing applications.)
- Choosing, in discussion, the number of candidates you’ve agreed to interview (usually up to six or so).
- Scheduling interviews, taking everyone’s availability into account.
- Agreeing on a small number (four or five) of questions you’ll ask each candidate, so that you’ll have a standard of comparison.
- Agreeing on an interview format (Who will facilitate, when you will question the candidate, when he will have the chance to ask his questions, what you want to say about the organization, how the room will be set up, how long the interview will be, etc.).
- Conducting the interviews.
In an interview, you may want to ask a potential consultant what he might do in a situation similar to the one he’s going to be in. That will give you a sense of how he thinks about the issue, and whether he’s likely both to be good at what you want him to do, and to fit well with your organization.
- Prioritizing, through discussion and mutual agreement, the people you’re willing to hire (your first, second, third, etc., choices).
- Offering the job first to your first choice, and not contacting anyone else until you get her answer. Then, if she refuses, repeating the procedure with your other choices in order until someone accepts.
It’s extremely important to talk to the references a potential consultant has listed before offering her a job. Sometimes they have surprising things to say, and it’s better to be surprised by them than by the consultant’s behavior or lack of follow-through after she’s been hired. By the same token, they may have wonderful things to say, and confirm your feeling that you’ve picked the best person for the task. Either way, check them before you hire.
- As soon as a satisfactory candidate accepts, calling all other interviewees personally, thanking them for applying and coming in to interview, saying positive and encouraging things (“It was a difficult choice, and you were someone we seriously considered.”), and being honest if they ask why they weren’t chosen.
- Coming to terms with the consultant you’ve chosen – in writing – about the work that will be done, the terms of payment, any report or other material to be produced (and to whom it will belong), the timeline (if there is one), and anything else pertaining to the work or to how you’ll work together. It’s also important, both in and in addition to a written contract, to make sure that everyone’s understanding of and expectations about the work are clear and in agreement before you start. Beginning the work with the same assumptions will go a long way toward ensuring that you and the consultant are both pleased with the results.
Evaluate the consultant’s work and its results. As we stress in every other part of the Community Tool Box, your work is never really done. The consultant and those in your organization who’ve worked with him should evaluate both how well he did his work with you, and what the results of that work were for the organization. This evaluation accomplishes several purposes:
- It gives the consultant important feedback on his style and effectiveness. If it’s positive, it provides him with a reference to use in finding other projects.
- It tells you what went well and what didn’t, and whether you should choose this or a similar consultant again.
- It lets you analyze what changed as a result of the consultant’s work, and how that affected your organization.
- It gives you a base for further work on your own, and lets you know how much still needs to be done. It provides a direction for the organization to move in.
If you’re lucky, you’re in the position of being able to choose someone you already know, who you’re sure, from previous experience, will do a good job. Otherwise, choosing a consultant can seem like a time-consuming and difficult task…and it may be. The results, however, if you do it right, are more than worth the effort. You’ll get a consultant who can do exactly the job your organization needs, and your organization will improve as a result.
A consultant can bring specific skills, specialized knowledge, the ability to conduct a process, and/or a fresh and unbiased perspective to the work of an organization or group. She can provide what the organization itself cannot, and can work for just the length of time needed to accomplish her task. Her services may even be available free, if she’s a friend of the organization, or if she’s willing to offer services pro bono to nonprofit or community-based groups.
Choosing a consultant entails defining the task you want her to do, deciding on the qualifications and personal characteristics she should bring to it, setting a price you can afford, recruiting candidates (unless you already know exactly who you want), and going through a hiring process, if necessary. If you conduct the process well, you’re likely to wind up with someone who can really help your organization.
A note on online resources: searching “choosing a consultant” on Google or similar search engines yields not only fairly general responses like those below, but also very specific ones. You can find information on choosing consultants for nearly any activity in any field. If you know your specific need, you might search for websites that help you find a consultant in the exact area you’re looking for.
A checklist for choosing consultants from the Association of Consultants to Nonprofits.
More advice on choosing a consultant from Carr Communications of Rolla, Missouri.
Choosing a Consultant. Guidelines for choosing consultants from Oxford and Associates, a consulting firm specializing in helping nonprofits with fundraising.
Choosing a Consultant: Agriculture Business Strategies. General advice on choosing a consultant from the Canadian Ministry of Agriculture.
Nonprofit Consultant Directory. Rhode Island Foundation’s consultant directory, including numerous links to articles.
Nonprofit Consultants: How to Choose Them, How to Use Them demystifies the process with “10 Steps for Nonprofit Organizations to Identify and Access Management Assistance.” This guide is from the Center for Nonprofit Management in Southern California.
Questions to answer when choosing a consultant, from Nonprofit Management Solutions, a consulting firm.
Working with Consultants: Principles and Practices for Nonprofit Excellence, by the Montana Nonprofit Association, provides organizations with some basic tips for hiring, interviewing, and engaging with consultants to ensure the experience is productive and worthwhile.