Monthly Archives: June 2012
June 22, 2012, 9:22 pm
A nonprofit consultant is rarely a charity’s only source of advice. Usually other consultants—lawyers, accountants, vendors, etc.—are working for the same client. Occasionally, one of those advisers will say something unprofessional about another or withhold information that would be helpful to that person’s work. This is both a practical and an ethical problem.
Let me share something a nonprofit executive told me about just such a situation. The client said that in her experience, consultants often seem to think they are somehow floating through the company without anyone really knowing what they are doing and with no obligations to other advisers. In reality, she is keenly aware of how consultants interact with each other. And the quality of this interaction and mutual support are key elements of her consultant evaluation.
If one consultant is being unprofessional toward …
June 13, 2012, 3:30 pm
“You need chutzpah, audacity.” That’s how Tom Wilson, a vice president at the consulting firm Campbell & Company, answered the question of what it takes to be a great consultant. Tom was one of a number of consultants we interviewed at the recent conference of the Association of Fundraising Professionals, in Vancouver, British Columbia.
Here’s how others answered that question. Consultants must:
- Have self-confidence and be as adept at delivering bad news as good. There’s nothing worse than consultants who are not sure of themselves, especially when they’re being asked about sensitive issues.
- Have a good understanding of the business and of themselves. A consultant has theoretical and practical knowledge. It’s important to know what solutions have worked in the past and to have ideas about how to improve them.
- Have transferable skills. Cookie-cutter…
June 1, 2012, 12:14 pm
When I was in Bologna, Italy, in May, making a presentation at the Festival of Fundraising, I was reminded of two things: First, consulting is less accepted in other parts of the world than it is in the United States. My Italian colleagues told me they were not easily accepted as an important tool for organizational progress. And, second, for the most part consultants in Italy must have management backgrounds, in contrast to the United States, where it is not necessary for those who restrict their practice to fundraising, for example.
Audience members welcomed the opportunity to share their experiences and to learn about what is going on elsewhere.
Have you had a chance to meet with your counterparts in other areas of the world? Do you seek out chances to talk to other nonprofit consultants when you travel, to compare notes? What have you discovered about consulting in other …