Not that I have hired a non-profit consultant, how do I make sure that I can take the best from them? This is a common question that more non-profits ask. Here is a step-by-step guide to gain the most from your experience.
1) Know your problem areas:
The most important thing to do is to have a good idea of the problem areas of the organisation. The consultant is there to help guide you through a thorough gap analysis, but before calling them in, you should have an indication of what is working and not working. To do this, talk to the organisation’s stakeholders, including employees, volunteers and beneficiaries, keep an account of the shortfalls and victories, and try and notice a pattern.
It is as important to be able to communicate your suspicions. Before meeting with a consultant, spend some time on penning down all your thoughts, and gathering together all relevant materials. The better your consultant understands you, the smoother the process.
3) Get employees and volunteers on board
If the leaders of the organisation are on board, but those who are responsible for the actual execution are not, then no amount of solution analysis will be enough. Every part of the organisation must understand the relevance of the task. Don’t underestimate the importance of transparency within the organisation. If the leaders are able to communicate the objectives and understand their apprehensions, the consultancy process will be smooth.
4) Find a good fit
Finding the right consultant is more important than finding the best consultant. The consultant’s vision and ethos must be aligned with that of your non-profit.
5) Keep an open mind:
Keep in mind that problems are just opportunities in disguise. Be mindful of the time, financial and people resources that are being used to conduct this exercise. If the NGO can keep an open mind about the outcome of the consultancy exercise, and be receptive to constructive criticism, then the exercise will be fruitful for all parties involved.