Consultant Article

Why your nonprofit needs a consultant

con*sult*an*cy: the work of giving professional advice within a particular field

Often, when I explain what I do for a living, the response is: “Why would nonprofit organizations need a consultant?” And at first, that question makes sense. Why wouldn’t they know the best solutions for their own industry? Don’t they hire knowledgeable staff? Can’t they figure out answers on their own?

But think about the times you’ve faced an issue in your own life. How many times have you turned to friends and family – or even pastors and counselors – to ask for their guidance?

When faced with challenging circumstances, don’t we typically ask for help? And wouldn’t it be in our own best interest to reach out to those who may have already dealt with the same problems we have and can provide insight to better help us navigate our way through it?

Here are five great reasons why organizations hire consultants:

1. Organizations hire consultants to access a skill set that may not exist within their walls.

A consultant provides the right proficiency.

2. Organizations don’t always have the workforce available to focus on a specific issue.

A consultant provides extra hands.

3. Organizations sometimes need someone to identify a problem.

A consultant provides objectivity.

4. Organizations’ staff don’t always want to make the hard decisions.

A consultant can “play the bad guy.”

5. Organizations become stagnant in coming up with new ideas.

A consultant can “be a spark” to breathe new life into the workplace.

Consultants provide support to organizations by digging into issues, seeing the good and the bad, and by being problem-solvers.

One of the biggest challenges can be admitting you need help. Hiring a consultant does not mean you don’t have a capable, talented team. It simply means you’re turning to an outside source to provide clarity and perspective other than your own viewpoint.

Not hiring a consultant can lead to far bigger problems down the road, such as:

  • Putting a serious issue on the back burner again and again because you don’t know how to deal with it… causing it to eventually flare up into a major crisis.
  • Stalling out as an organization because you don’t have a solid, strategic plan for growth and viable ideas for implementing change.
  • Not becoming the ministry you were meant to be and missing out on opportunities to impact more lives – which is the most heartbreaking consequence of all.

Want to know one of the best aspects of partnering with a consultant? The right one will educate and empower you so YOU can become a problem-solver too! A good relationship will give you knowledge and discernment that can transform the way you view your ministry and how you achieve your goals.

I recently had a call from a Rescue Mission client who didn’t have much experience talking with the media. After they experienced a building fire and the local news stations were clamoring for comments, the client had the foresight to call me asking for advice. He wanted to talk through the best way to share the situation and urgent needs with his community, and he needed advice on whether he should honor a reporter’s request to talk with a resident of the Mission to get their point of view.

I was able to provide talking points with him and gently suggest that it wasn’t a good idea to let the guest speak on camera. This gave him the confidence to appropriately handle the media and provided tools that will help guide him in future interactions.

If you are at a crossroads in your organization and could benefit from the assistance of a consultant, I urge you not to wait one minute longer. Take a deep breath, enter into that partnership and prepare to be amazed by the inspiration and insights that will come your way!

Brewer Academy – led by Shellie Speer – offers personalized guidance, training and mentorship on issues like development and key messaging.

And that help is just an email away! Email Shellie now>>

  • Shellie Speer

    Shellie Speer-Burnett, Senior Vice President, BDI Academy

    With over 30 years of partnership in Rescue Missions and nonprofit organizations, Shellie Speer-Burnett brings her expertise, counsel and philanthropic-centered passion to assist in furthering the work of BDI’s Rescue Mission clients. For 22 years of her career, she served as the Founder and President/CEO of her own agency, ENEX Group, which helped her clients capture hearts and donor loyalty in their communities.

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