20 Ways a Consultant Can Make Your Life Easier


shutterstock_200247062 - smiling african american consultantYou and your staff can probably leap tall buildings in a single bound. But you might not be able — or willing — to tackle every single need that presents itself.

It might be time to hire a consultant. If you are wondering just how much help consultants can be, here are 20 ways they can make your life easier.

  1. Perform needs assessments – The more ingrained we get in our work, the harder it is to see the big picture. A strategic consultant can provide an overview of your organization and help you determine where you have real gaps and where you need to make strategic change.
  2. Conduct environmental scans – It would be great to know who else is doing similar work, and we would all like to know what major new developments are afoot in our field. But you simply don’t have time to do the research necessary. A research consultant may be the best resource for you.
  3. Research grantmaking strategies – Do you need to rethink the types of grants you make? Their size, or the region in which you make them? A consultant can help you research the best ways to use your funds, for financial and organizational benefits now and in the future.
  4. Advise on program development – A consultant with a particular area of expertise — education, for example — can provide support while you create and grow your foundation’s programs. You are the expert on your foundation, your community, your strategy. Let a consultant be the expert on the program details.
  5. Review proposals – When you put out a request for proposals, you get proposals back. Do you really have the time to carefully consider each one? One or two consultants can read proposals, pinpoint the strongest candidates, save you time, and help your decision making.
  6. Conduct site visits – Scheduling conflicts often get in the way of a good site visit. Hiring someone to organize and conduct site visits means grantees get the time and attention they deserve, and you receive unbiased reports. This is a win-win for everyone involved.
  7. Coordinate the review process – Managing the flow of hundreds of applications can be overwhelming. A consultant can coordinate individual reviewers, answer applicant questions, and schedule site visits among finalists. You can concentrate on overall supervision and review only the most promising applications.
  8. Help with organizational development – Board development, staff development, administrative needs, technical support. Where do you begin when it comes to organizational development for your foundation? An efficiency expert, or several experts with different skills, can help you build your board strategically, provide needed staff training, and offer technical support and administrative cost-cutting techniques.
  9. Explore ideas for new foundations – Are you considering creating a new foundation? Bring someone on board to see what the real needs are, where someone else might be doing similar work, and what changes need to be made to current funding and programs. This front-end investment will save you time and legal fees down the road.
  10. Assist with ongoing management – Do you need help with overwhelming day-to-day tasks? A temporary consultant can help review proposals, respond to applicant questions, help you get reorganized, and keep your operations seamless — which is a great use of financial resources.

Want to see 10 more great tips? Click here to read the full article.

© 2014 Kris Putnam-Walkerly. All rights reserved. Permission granted to excerpt or reprint with attribution.

Kris is a sought after philanthropy advisor, expert and award-winning author. She has helped over 90 foundations and philanthropists strategically allocate and assess over half a billion dollars in grants and gifts.

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