Legal work for businesses and professionals is our bread and butter. Over the past several years, we have become trusted legal advisors for many incredible nonprofit organizations. Through our nonprofit legal work, we discovered that many of our nonprofit clients need support that is non-legal in nature too.
In typical fashion, we evolved with the needs of our clients and are thrilled to introduce you to our newest Team Member, Nonprofit Strategist, Zack Block. Depending on the needs and resources of the organization, we offer nonprofit consulting services at both competitive hourly rates and/or on a project flat fee.
The decision to hire a consultant can be a complicated but critical one for a nonprofit entity, especially when the organization has a limited budget and other competing needs. That said, an experienced consultant can advance the organization’s functionality, aid in development, create an expansion plan, enhance fundraising capabilities, and improve access to necessary grants and other financial opportunities. As we frequently tell our clients, try not to trip over dollars when you’re chasing pennies.
When considering who to hire as a consultant for your nonprofit entity, you should determine whether the individual has hands-on experience in both for-profit and nonprofit sectors. The individual should have strong connections in your region. Most importantly, the individual should be a strategic visionary while also having a deep understanding of the drivers for organizational success, including oversight of budgets, expertise in staff oversight and recruitment, and a proven track record for fundraising and in preparing grant applications.
Now, for the most important part: what can a nonprofit consultant do for your organization?
Financial Planning, Budgeting, & Management
This is the most commonly overlooked but vital service to the success of nonprofit entities. Any organization – for-profit or nonprofit – must maintain a healthy balance sheet, a planful budget, and diligent management. An experienced consultant – especially one who has experience working in a traditional, large corporate environment – can assist a nonprofit in building robust financial planning tools to ensure that the entity maintains appropriate management to oversee and maintain a strong organization.
This work involves setting an organization’s goals and vision for the future. Many organizations form and grow too quickly without a long-term plan. As the organization grows, it should focus on setting internal and external strategic goals to ensure that supporters know about its goals, mission, and impact.
Community Needs’ Assessment
If your organization is thinking about programming in the community, it is vital for an experienced nonprofit professional to first obtain and evaluate qualitative and quantitative data to determine the need for such programming.
Program/Model Research & Evaluation
It’s a huge benefit to nonprofits when an independent third party can provide valuable assessment of nonprofit programming to ensure the organization’s work is meeting a particular community needs. This research and evaluation allow an organization to pivot or further amplify its work to ensure its programming will have the greatest possible impact.
Logic Model and/or Theory of Change
A nonprofit entity can utilize a logic model to outline how it intends to achieve its goals and to plan for hoped-for outcomes. Unlike a logic model, a theory of change explains how external factors influence an organization’s impact. Both models are incredibly useful to ensure that an organization is carrying out its intended mission in the most thoughtful and efficient manner.
As organizations evolve, they must adapt and develop a strong internal staffing structure. An experienced consultant can work with the nonprofit to review and update job descriptions, work with staff to create their curated vision for their future, and collaborate with an organization’s leadership to build short and long-term structure.
Many organizations know where they want to go, but struggle with how to get there. A visionary non-profit consultant is adept at implementing a path to maximize an organization’s goals, vision, and impact.
Fundraising Planning and Support
A non-profit consultant with fundraising experience can build the organization’s capacity by connecting the entity to specific donors who believe in the organization’s mission. The consultant can assist the organization in building relationships with donors, identifying and applying for grants, and managing a foundation’s reporting requirements.
Board Support & Training
Much like the staffing support identified above, a nonprofit consultant can provide necessary structure to an organization’s board of directors, including defining expectations for monetary and non-monetary board contributions, preparing and carrying out board orientations and retreats, preparing board evaluations, providing conflict of interest training, and so much more.
Partnerships and Strategic Alliances
A skilled consultant should have experience working with a variety of organizations throughout the community and should have an extensive understanding of the individuals and organizations doing good work where the non-profit is based. To that end, the consultant should evaluate the organization’s existing relationships and potential partnership needs to make valuable connections to enable the organization to grow its impact.
Executive Director and Staff Recruitment
Many nonprofit organizations do not have the budget to hire an outside recruiter to attract and hire the best talent in the field. An organization should not have to mortgage its future to get the right kind of hiring support. An experienced consultant can prepare customized job descriptions, publish and promote opportunities to a broad audience, vet resumes, screen and interview candidates, and negotiate and assist with onboarding potential hires.
Contact A Nonprofit Consultant
You will find a variety of nonprofit consulting offices across the United States, and there are many well-respected firms in Pittsburgh. If you need a nonprofit consultant, please contact Block & Associates. Our experienced team will ensure you receive the service you deserve. Be sure to do your research before picking the right nonprofit consultant to support your organization’s important mission!