A lot of work goes into your nonprofit’s impact, from fundraising to hiring new talent to building relationships with your stakeholders. While you may strive to handle all these tasks and responsibilities to the best of your ability, it can become challenging when you’re faced with limited time, energy, and resources.
Sometimes, you need a helping hand to bolster your efforts and assist you in creating the meaningful change you hope to see. That’s where nonprofit consultants come in. With years of experience across varying aspects of the purpose-driven sector, these professionals will offer their expertise to deepen your impact and boost your results.
In this guide, we’ll discuss everything you need to know to find the right consultant for your nonprofit’s goals. Here’s what we’ll cover:
- Nonprofit Consultants: FAQs
- Laridae – Top Full-Service Consulting Firm for Nonprofits
- 11 Best Nonprofit Consulting Firms + Their Specialty
- How to Hire a Nonprofit Consultant
Partnering with a nonprofit consulting firm allows your team to focus on what matters most—fulfilling your mission. Let’s get started with some frequently asked questions about nonprofit consultants.
Nonprofit Consultants: FAQs
If you’ve never worked with a nonprofit consulting firm, you may be wondering how to approach the process of hiring one. To set your efforts up for success, let’s go over the essentials.
What is a nonprofit consultant?
A nonprofit consultant is an expert who has extensive knowledge and experience related to the nonprofit sector. Their purpose is to assist nonprofits with addressing their challenges, operating more effectively, and achieving their goals.
With their expertise, nonprofit consultants can provide an outside perspective for examining your organization’s current processes and develop strategies tailored to your unique needs. Furthermore, they’ll be able to coach you on general best practices that you can implement for long-term success.
Why do nonprofits hire a nonprofit consultant?
Nonprofits can turn to a nonprofit consulting firm for a variety of projects or services. After all, these professionals understand your work environment, the multiple pressure points you may be experiencing, and the resource constraints you may be facing.
Some of the most common ways they can support your organization include:
- Strategic planning. Nonprofit strategic planning specialists can guide your nonprofit in understanding its current conditions, engaging its stakeholders, and developing an actionable strategic plan that paves the way for increased impact.
- Communications. To secure support for your mission, your nonprofit needs to communicate its work and impact in a clear, compelling way. Nonprofit consultants can assist you with crafting a communications strategy that inspires people to get involved.
- Governance. Your nonprofit’s board members play an important role in ensuring that your organization is effectively and efficiently fulfilling its purpose. A nonprofit consultant can help your board improve their decision-making, teamwork, and fiduciary oversight.
- Human Resources (HR). Nonprofit consultants can perform HR audits to examine your existing policies, develop employee training programs, and enhance your workplace culture.
- Fundraising. Whether you’re looking to plan a more effective fundraising campaign, cultivate more major donors, or prepare for a capital campaign, a nonprofit consultant can lend their expertise to maximize your results.
- Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion (EDI). Nonprofit consultants can support your nonprofit in implementing more EDI initiatives across the organization and ensure that your services are accessible to all communities.
- Finance. Some nonprofit consulting firms specialize in providing financial support to nonprofits. They’ll help you develop a budget, improve your reporting procedures, and create a plan for long-term sustainability.
- Legal Support. Your nonprofit must comply with various rules and regulations to continue carrying out its mission. A nonprofit consultant can give legal support when it comes to tax-exemption, contracts, reporting, and more.
While some nonprofit consulting firms offer a comprehensive range of services to suit whatever need arises within your organization, others only specialize in a specific area. Therefore, it’s crucial to conduct thorough research to find the right fit for your nonprofit.
What are the benefits of working with a nonprofit consulting firm?
It’s clear that nonprofit consultants are respectable experts in the purpose-driven sector, but why should you hire one? Here are some of the main benefits you can expect from partnering with a nonprofit consulting firm:
- Informed guidance: Since these experts are committed to educating themselves on and understanding key aspects of the nonprofit world, they can share the latest trends and best practices for boosting your results.
- New perspectives: As a third party, nonprofit consultants can bring a fresh set of eyes to your organization’s policies, strategies, and processes. They’ll communicate their findings and recommendations in an objective, impartial manner.
- Tailored approach: Before providing their expertise, most nonprofit consultants will take the time to learn about your nonprofit. Then, they’ll tailor their guidance based on your goals, priorities, and resources.
- Stakeholder confidence: Hiring a nonprofit consultant can increase stakeholder confidence when you tackle a new project. Often, they’ll have methods for engaging stakeholders so that they’ll feel included in your initiatives.
The nonprofit landscape is always changing. Reaching out to consultants who primarily serve the nonprofit sector makes it easier for your organization to stay updated on important news and strategy recommendations for success. They’ll help you craft nonprofit strategies that reflect your capacity and can be effectively implemented by your team, rather than try to apply for-profit solutions to your challenges.
How much do nonprofit consultants charge?
The cost of a nonprofit consultant depends on several factors. For instance, a nonprofit consulting firm may have several pricing options, including:
- Hourly. Nonprofit consultants may charge an hourly rate for their support, typically for short-term projects or projects that are not easy to scope upfront.
- Fixed. A nonprofit consulting firm may offer service packages to nonprofits that have a fixed price, regardless of how much time a consultant may spend providing the service.
- Project-specific. Many nonprofits hire a consultant to assist with a specific project. The price will vary depending on the scope and complexity of that project.
Ultimately, the ideal pricing option will depend on why your organization is seeking a nonprofit consultant in the first place. Keep this in mind as you begin exploring different firms.
Laridae – Top Full-Service Consulting Firm for Nonprofits
Laridae is a full-service consulting and training firm dedicated to supporting nonprofits and purpose-driven organizations on their path to generating more meaningful change in their communities. For over a decade, we’ve partnered with over 500 organizations to elevate their strategies and enhance their impact.
Our consulting approach starts with active listening. We’ll learn the ins and outs of your nonprofit—its mission, values, and goals—before working with you to develop actionable steps toward maximizing your results. We’re happy to lend our specialized knowledge and experience to help you make a lasting difference in the lives of those you serve.
Our wide range of services include:
- Strategic Planning. By securing board buy-in and conducting in-depth stakeholder engagement, we’ll work with you to craft a strategic plan that reinforces your mission and empowers your nonprofit to move forward in a positive, healthy direction.
- Management Training. Our Management Training Program consists of interactive classroom sessions, coaching, and take-home tools that will equip your nonprofit’s managers with everything they need to nurture effective teams.
- Leadership Training. We support executive leaders at nonprofit organizations in essential areas such as building confidence in their personal leadership style, understanding effective governance, and navigating change.
- Governance Training. Through a live training session, preceded by a self-assessment survey, we’ll strengthen your board practices, build a stronger sense of collaboration among board members, and cover recent trends in governance.
- Coaching. Whether you’re a nonprofit manager, executive leader, or board member, our expert consultants provide one-on-one or small group coaching sessions to walk through the specific situations and challenges that you’re facing in your role.
Over 65% of Laridae’s clients are returning clients who continue to find value in our knowledge and guidance. Our human-centered approach means that we’ll adapt to and focus on your specific needs and goals when working with you.
11 Best Nonprofit Consulting Firms + Their Specialty
To facilitate your research and help you identify the perfect fit, we’ve compiled 11 other nonprofit consulting firms that we recommend looking into. These consultants are part of Laridae’s network of trusted providers within the consulting space:
1. Content Strong Communications – Best Consulting Firm for Nonprofit Communications
Content Strong Communications is a boutique communications consulting firm that will assist your nonprofit with crafting clear and inclusive messages that will bring you close to the communities you serve.
Content Strong’s key services include:
- Communications audits
- Content strategy development and training
- Project and event management
- Copywriting, executive communications, and speechwriting
- Media relations
2. Pinpoint Governance Group – Best Nonprofit Consultants for Governance
Pinpoint Governance Group specializes in improving your nonprofit’s governance. Heather Terrence, the President of the firm, has more than 20 years of experience in the sector and works with nonprofit organizations of all sizes to navigate the complexities of governance.
Pinpoint Governance Group’s services include:
- Developing or refining board policies and by-laws
- Reviewing your nonprofit’s governance structure and providing relevant recommendations
- Conducting board meeting audits
- Facilitating your board recruitment process
- Providing governance training sessions
3. Bright + Early – Best Nonprofit Human Resources Consulting Firm
If your nonprofit is looking for human resources (HR) support, Bright + Early has experience working with both for-profit and nonprofit organizations to improve their cultures and processes. Since 2017, this consulting firm has helped over 100 clients across Canada and the United States reduce staff turnover and minimize conflict.
Bright + Early’s HR consulting services include:
- Compensation design
- Benefit and perk design
- Employee onboarding design
- Performance review design
- Employee engagement initiatives
4. Balanced Good – Best Nonprofit Consulting Firm for Fundraising
Balanced Good’s team of nonprofit fundraising experts supports small and mid-size nonprofits in creating a clear fundraising plan to meet their goals across a 12- to 18-month time period. They specialize in helping organizations create a successful fundraising program while a team member is away on parental leave.
To accomplish this, Balanced Good’s team will:
- Complete an audit of your nonprofit’s fundraising programs
- Build a customizable plan to reach your fundraising goals
- Coach your team to ensure that everyone knows how to execute your fundraising plan
5. Munim Consulting – Best Consulting Firm for Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion Leadership Training
Misha Munim, the founder and principal consultant at Munim Consulting, is committed to helping organizations create spaces that are more equitable, diverse, and inclusive. She serves clients in all industries around the world, from healthcare to telecommunications.
Munim Consulting’s primary equity, diversity, and inclusion (EDI) consulting services include:
- Training workshops
- Inclusion check-ups
- Policy drafting and review
- Leadership coaching about EDI
- E-learning EDI training modules
6. anya gwynne – Best Nonprofit Consultant for Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion Coaching
anya gwynne is a nonprofit consultant with over 12 years of experience engaging service providers and community-based organizations in creating more inclusive spaces and accessible services.
While they primarily educate parents and caregivers on how they can support their child’s gender identity, gwynne has served as a consultant in EDI community-based research and is a helpful resource for parents, educators, and service providers alike.
7. Part Time CFO Services – Best Nonprofit Consulting Firm for Financial Oversight and Risk Assessment
Part Time CFO Services is a nonprofit consulting firm that focuses on pinpointing strategies and opportunities to improve the financial health of its clients. While this team of professionals serves a variety of organizations, Perspective Financial Management for NFPs is a division dedicated specifically to assisting nonprofits.
Perspective’s main services include:
- Financial oversight
- Risk assessment
- Improving financing and cash flow processes
- Capital project funding
- Crisis management
8. Impact Strategy CPA – Best Nonprofit Consultants for Long-Term Financial Strategies
Impact Strategy CPA is a women-led CFO consulting firm with over 10 years of experience supporting organizations in building long-term financial strategies for success.
Impact offers services such as:
- Designing your financial strategy
- Conducting quantitative analysis to uncover your growth potential
- Analyzing your financial data to determine how to improve moving forward
9. Patel Kairys Law – Best Consultants for Nonprofit Bylaws and Policy
Patel Kairys Law provides a range of legal services to nonprofit organizations in the Greater Toronto Area.
This legal practice offers essential services in areas such as:
- Federal incorporation under the Canada Not-for-profit Corporations Act
- Provincial incorporation under the Ontario Not-for-profit Corporations Act, 2010
- Regulatory compliance
- Tax compliance
- Business name registration
10. Cunningham Swan Lawyers – Best Nonprofit Consulting Firm for Employment Law
Cunningham Swan Lawyers is a full-service law firm in Southeastern Ontario, with over 30 skilled lawyers who can support your nonprofit with any workplace concerns it may have. While employment law can be complex, these professionals have extensive experience and knowledge of the local community to guide you.
Some key areas of employment law they cover include:
- Disciplinary matters
- Workplace management
- Privacy matters
- New business, merger, and acquisition support
11. Cathexis – Best Nonprofit Consulting Firm for Program Evaluation
Cathexis is a full-service, independent evaluation firm that has provided its services in over 400 projects for a variety of government, community, and other public sector organizations. These nonprofit consultants can ensure that your program is set up for success or help you identify areas for improvement.
Cathexis can support your organization with the following services:
- Designing an evaluation strategy for your program or initiative
- Creating tools for data collection, such as surveys
- Reporting on evaluation findings
- Reviewing funding proposals
- Training staff members or volunteers to carry out evaluations
How to Hire a Nonprofit Consultant
With so many options and potential reasons for seeking out a nonprofit consultant’s guidance, how do you go about actually hiring one? Use these six steps to guide you as you embark on your search.
1. Understand your goals and needs.
First, it’s important to identify exactly what your nonprofit is looking to get out of working with a nonprofit consultant. While their expertise may come in handy in a variety of ways, detailing your specific goals and expectations in advance ensures that you make the most of their time and your money.
For instance, identify any obstacles that you might need help overcoming. Or, determine if there are any crucial gaps in your staff’s skills and expertise that a nonprofit consultant could fill. This is also an ideal time to solidify your budget and make note of any deadlines for the project.
2. Research nonprofit consulting firms.
Once your team is all on the same page, make a list of nonprofit consulting firms that may fit your needs and delve deeper into their services. Look for consultants who have extensive experience working with nonprofits like yours. This means that they’ll have a pre-existing understanding of the specific challenges and goals you might have.
Furthermore, consider seeking recommendations from your peers at other organizations. They may be able to provide more insight if they have worked with a nonprofit consulting firm on a similar project in the past.
3. Meet with potential consultants.
As you get further into your research, start building relationships with the consultants you’re considering by scheduling a preliminary call or meeting with them. This allows them to familiarize themselves with your nonprofit so they can create a proposal tailored to its specific needs.
Following the meeting, they’ll put together a proposal based on their understanding of your project’s scope and desired outcomes. Additionally, you can ask for references alongside submitted proposals, so you can contact former clients and learn more about their experiences with the nonprofit consultant.
4. Assess submitted proposals.
Review the proposals you received, making sure that they include all the necessary details and documents. Ensure that consultants meet your desired qualifications and pay attention to how well their recommendations align with your nonprofit’s goals and values. In most cases, it’s best to review each proposal alongside the consultant, so that you can clarify your expectations and ask any follow-up questions that come up.
Additionally, take the time to contact their references and learn more about the nonprofit consultant’s approach to similar projects.
5. Invite the consultant to attend a board meeting.
Typically, your board members will have the final say on which nonprofit consultant to hire. After you’ve narrowed down your options, invite the potential consultant to a board meeting so they can present their proposal.
Board members can take this opportunity to ask their own set of questions and vet the consultant to ensure that they will effectively support your nonprofit’s goals and best interests.
6. Communicate expectations.
Once everyone has reached an agreement, it’s time to sign a contract with the nonprofit consultant and get to work! Set your partnership up for success by having a discussion about your expectations. You’ll want to finalize important details such as:
- Project goals and timelines
- Roles and responsibilities for everyone involved
- Communication protocols
- Fees and payment schedules
As you launch your engagement with the nonprofit consultant, maintain open and frequent communication to keep everyone aligned throughout the project. Remember that a consultant is more than just a one-time tool. By maintaining a healthy, productive relationship with them, they can become a trusted, long-term source of guidance for your nonprofit.
Wrapping Up: Forging the Ideal Partnership
Your nonprofit has important goals. Regardless of what you need help with, nonprofit consultants are available to help you run more effectively, better serve your beneficiaries, and ultimately increase your impact in the community.
If you have any further questions about hiring a nonprofit consultant or would like to hear more about the process of working with one, please feel free to reach out to Laridae. Our team of nonprofit experts has years of experience partnering with purpose-driven organizations and we’ll be happy to share our knowledge!
To learn more about nonprofit best practices and how a consulting firm can support your success, check out these additional resources:
- Habitat for Humanity Northumberland’s Strategic Planning Story: Everyone deserves a decent place to call home. Explore how we led Habitat for Humanity Northumberland’s strategic planning process by understanding their needs, engaging stakeholders, and achieving alignment across their team.
- How to hire the right non-profit team. Your nonprofit’s impact begins with its people. Read about our recommended seven-step hiring process in this guide.
- How to create a strategic plan that inspires hope. Learn how to create a hopeful and productive strategic plan for your nonprofit’s future with these steps.