When is Time to Call a Nonprofit Consulting Firm?

6 min read

Have you ever had to build a piece of furniture? Think back to the overwhelming frustration you felt when the directions weren’t clear, the parts didn’t fit, or, even worse, a piece was missing. If determining the best next step for your nonprofit feels like putting together the stubborn-to-assemble IKEA dresser we’ve all had nightmares about, it might be time to call in help.

Oftentimes, we can develop tunnel vision when it comes to the challenges in front of us. The closer you are to a problem, the harder it can be to see the solution clearly.

However, one of the most important skills a nonprofit leader can have is recognizing when they need to take a step back to take strides forward. If your organization’s next steps aren’t clear, parts of your team don’t fit or you think there’s a piece of your strategy that’s missing, it’s time to call a nonprofit consulting firm.

Call a nonprofit consulting firm when you need strategic help

If your nonprofit’s direction feels vague or unfocused, the first thing to do is review the strategies that guide your work. Every organization needs a clear set of goals for advancing its mission and strategies for bringing those goals to life. Without those things in place, organizations struggle to turn their focus into action, empower their team, and make any sort of quantifiable progress toward their missions. 

Every organization needs a clear set of goals for advancing its mission and strategies for bringing those goals to life. Click To Tweet

The four strategies you must have in place include the following:

  • Strategic Plan – Shape your organizational goals, determine which actions are most likely to advance those goals and get everyone on your team in agreement on the direction to move your organization’s mission forward. 
  • Marketing and Communications Strategy – Align this strategy with your strategic plan to raise awareness and build engagement, attract volunteers, and engage clients and advocates. 
  • Fundraising Strategy – Set fundraising goals and plan the activities needed to achieve them, delegate responsibilities, and strengthen your funding sources, campaigns, stewardship communications, acquisition efforts and solicitations.
  • Programmatic Strategy – Evaluate your programs, assess their financial health and opportunities for growth, and plan the action steps needed to take them to the next level of effectiveness. 

If your nonprofit is confident in each of these four strategies, you likely don’t need to call a strategic consulting firm to help you strengthen your strategic muscle. However, if you feel that your organization’s strategic plan needs to be reviewed or renewed, or you’re missing the support needed to align the marketing and communications, fundraising and programmatic strategies with your strategic plan, you may want to call a firm like ours..

Call a nonprofit consulting firm when you need to optimize your internal team

Your nonprofit’s staff are some of your most important stakeholders and brand ambassadors. In order for your organization to maximize its effectiveness and impact, you need to give each person on your team purpose and accountability. It’s easier said than done because it means first agreeing upon the strategies listed above, deciding upon key objectives and results, and then assigning your team to carry out those subkey results. We’re referring to Objectives and Key Results (OKRs). OKRs help organizations identify the ability of their staff to fulfill their job responsibilities and contribute to the mission. At Prosper, we believe this is the most effective way to guide your entire team towards agreed upon outcomes. For this to be effective, you also need to have the right people in the right roles.

No one said hiring and human resources were easy. Some of the most common pain points across nonprofits are employee retention, culture fit and maximizing the potential of the individuals in those roles. Take Prosper Strategies’ Nonprofit Health Assessment for an evaluation on how your team fairs across leadership, marketing, fundraising, board positions and more. Depending on how confident you are in your team, you may also want to examine your nonprofit’s future organizational chart

No one said hiring and human resources were easy. Some of the most common pain points across nonprofits are employee retention, culture fit and maximizing the potential of the individuals in those roles. Click To Tweet

These are just a few of the ways you should be engaging your internal team. If it feels like too heavy of a lift or you need an outside group to evaluate your current team and future talent plans through an unbiased lens, a nonprofit consulting firm is a good place to start.

Call a nonprofit consulting firm when you need to identify and fill organizational gaps

It might sound counterintuitive, but identifying gaps in services, programs, marketing and communications and other organizational needs can be a challenge when you work day in and day out at the organization that you’re assessing. A nonprofit consulting firm can conduct organizational, ecosystem and stakeholder assessments to determine where your strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats lie. Here are a few areas you might have blindspots:

  • Reason for Being – Why does your organization exist, and what sort of unique impact are you making that ONLY your organization can make? Answering these questions can be the key that unlocks untapped donations, funding and support?
  • Brand Strategy – Is your organization’s messaging, logo and identity stale? If so, you might need new key messages or a rebrand.
  • Impact Measurement – Are you effectively maximizing and measuring your impact? OKRs are just one of the several ways that your organization needs to evaluate its progress. 

Most organizations will find gaps in these areas, but you have to decide if filling these gaps is a nice-to-have, should-have or must-have to advance your mission. Then, you’ll have a better idea of its urgent to speak to a nonprofit consulting firm. 

Should I pick up the phone?

If you’re still unsure about whether or not you need a nonprofit consulting firm to help your organization, it certainly doesn’t hurt to call one. Similar to that IKEA dresser, if you keep working on your organization without clear directions, the right pieces or missing parts, you might have to rebuild from step one. As someone’s who’s lived through that experience, I suggest you don’t let it happen to you.

Take the Nonprofit Health Assessment

The Nonprofit Health Assessment exists to identify where your organization is optimized for maximum impact, and where you still have work to do.

The assessment includes 20 questions and takes under 10 minutes to complete. After you submit it, you’ll receive a summary of your responses, followed by a customized report from Prosper Strategies within 2-3 business days.

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