Sometimes, organizational leadership needs a boost, with consultants serving as a potential source. Deciding when and when not to seek the assistance of a consultant can be tricky, however.
During their workshop “Do You Really Need a Consultant and What is One Anyway?,” Sr. Madeline Franze and Sr. Mary McFadden, development consultants of Sisters of St. Joseph in Philadelphia, Pa., told attendees of a recent conference that consultants shouldn’t be brought on to be a fall person, hit-man or savior. Consultants can, however, be useful for four specific purposes, they said.
To grow a development program. This might include establishing or strengthening program infrastructure, grow or strengthen fundraising vehicles, moving from fundraising to development and establish or strengthen a culture of philanthropy.
To begin a development program. Assessing the organizational readiness of board, staff and members as well as the philanthropic readiness of donors, friends and community leaders is included in this.
When hiring a developmental director. A consultant can assist in putting a transition plan in place, analyzing what has worked and what hasn’t and provide direction for moving forward.
To motivate board and staff. The consultant may be relied on to determine the strengths and challenges of both board and staff and determine how to bolster both.