Tips on How to Become a Nonprofit Consultant

people-office-group-teamThere are many advantages to working as an independent consultant if you’re the right fit for it. You can settle your own schedule and prioritize, work with a variety of clients, and develop a wide range of personal skills and experience.

 

However, like any start up, launching your own consulting business involves some financial risk and a great deal of personal commitment. You do have a greater personal freedom but you also have an inconsistent workload and unpredictable income.

 

Consultants must be well-organized and self-disciplined in order to effectively manage their time. You must know how to balance working with several different clients at any given time. Some things to consider below:

 

Experience/ Credentials

 

Nonprofit organizations select consultants based on their experience, education, and other credentials, as well as personal referrals. You need to figure out if you have the experience needed to advise different types of nonprofits on a wide variety of topics. Even some certifications can help like CFRE, or even graduate or professional education to build your knowledge base.

 

Contracts/ Fees

 

To be a consultant you must know how to develop effective contracts with clients. You will also need to research other consultant fees and develop your owen fee system. Think of how you will charge your clients also. Whether its by the hour, or on an annual or project basis.

 

Specialization

 

You can begin as a nonprofit consultant generalist, but most will eventually focus on one or a few aspects of fundraising, management, or grant writing. Understand which areas you prefer and which you do not.

 

Physical Space

 

You must determine where to set up your workspace. Sometimes working from home can be distracting or tiresome even though it can seem perfect. Having an office space outside of the home can help provide focus and a routine, but you will most likely end up paying rent.

 

Lack of Benefits

 

Even though you are often able to increase earnings by shifting to consulting, this can be offset by the loss of insurance coverage, retirement funds, and other benefits associated with institutional employment.