How Can a Nonprofit Consultant Help? Part Three

What benefits can your nonprofit organization gain by working with a consultant that specializes in nonprofits? A lot. A common one is increasing the funding available to you. But consultants can also help to make your activities work, identify and provide decision information, and teach you skills. And, when you are stuck or circling, the right consultant can help you create movement in the direction you want to go. Finally, one of the most important reasons to hire a consultant is to gain ideas to make your nonprofit organization stronger. How can a consultant who specializes in nonprofit organizations help? This series shares how.

What is the Idea Worth That Improves Your Organization Permanently?

The right consultant brings you ideas to strengthen your organization long-term. Here, are several examples:

Ringling College of Art and Design was in the midst of the silent phase of a capital campaign that included endowing scholarship funds. They had an unusual opportunity. The National Endowment for the Arts was offering a one-time grant for scholarship for visual art students. At first, the College planned to request the funds for one time use. Instead, the Consultant recommended that the College link the request with their campaign. By requesting the funds as a challenge grant, the request was more competitive. The funds also could then create permanent scholarships. Now, the one-time gift of $250,000 will help the College and its students forever.

Habitat for Humanity of Sarasota planned to apply for a Federal Home Loan Bank of Atlanta grant for $252,000. The Consultant studied several years of grant lists. Then, she confirmed with the Bank, that nonprofit organizations were eligible to apply for new grants while existing ones were open. With this information, the consultant recommended that instead of applying one time, Habitat apply each grant cycle throughout its five-year capital campaign. The results to date: Habitat received the grant for $252,000. It received a second grant of $497,000. A third is pending. Their total planned requests equal almost four million dollars.

The following examples are projects in progress. They, also, demonstrate how consultant-stimulated-ideas offer significant improvements:

Developing a Funder Dart Board. A multi-service center created a working list of 400 potential grant funders. The Consultant suggested that the organization reduce this list by prioritizing the funder using the concept of a dartboard. The sweet spot contained the highest priority funders. It included people who had personal access to the center and funded local causes. The inner circle included funders who supported local groups, i.e., local foundations, the county government and the United Way. The next circle included potential corporate funding, one-time requests and visitors since the organization was located in a resort community. The outer rings included everyone else with an interest or possible connection. This included regional funding and state and federal government opportunities. Using this concept, the center’s  list was reduced to 45 sources. By focusing on them, the Center will both increase its grant dollars and reduce the time necessary to earn them.

How Division Made the Whole Possible. A Coalition planned to build an exceptional multi-service building. The Consultant was hired to research funding sources. She found significant potential community support, but not enough to support the vision. While the news was disappointing, it helped the Coalition avoid conducting an unsuccessful campaign or starting a building that couldn’t be finished. As an alternative, the Consultant recommended the Coalition keep the vision, but lengthen the time to achieve it. She advised dividing the facility into three phases. In this way, the Coalition would be able to request funds from interested funding sources several times. It also would increase the project’s s credibility with individual donors and in the end, make their extra-ordinary vision affordable.

Conclusion

We started this series by asking what benefits an organization gains by working with a consultant? To answer the question, these three articles shared examples of how a consultant that specializes in non-profits can increase the funding  available to you, make your activities work, provide decision information, teach you skills and finally, share ideas to improve your organization long-term. How can a nonprofit consultant help you? A lot.

For how to introduce the idea of using a consultant who specializes in nonprofits, follow this link.

For more about Karen’s expertise and how it can help you, read this.