Considering Consulting to Nonprofits? Advice from the Pros

julia marleneGuest bloggers, Julia Reich, a designer and brand strategist at Stone Soup Creative and Marlene Oliveira, a copywriter and communications consultant at moflow and founder of the Nonprofit MarCommunity recap their #15NTC session on nonprofit consulting.

At last month’s Nonprofit Technology Conference, we hosted a session on making the move from in-house nonprofit professional to consultant serving the sector. During the session, we combined very short presentations on specific topics with speed-dating style opportunities to ask questions, matching groups with a mix of established consultants in the room. Here are some of our tips and takeaways!

Think about the financial aspects:

  • Have six months to one year of your living expenses saved up; leave yourself room to learn, take risks and be selective about clients.
  • Be prepared to invest in your business: infrastructure, systems, marketing, professional development and professional services.

Working from home successfully is about structure and boundaries:

  • Get ready at the start of the day as if you’d be going into the office.
  • Keep typical business hours to be available and responsive to your clients when they need you.
  • Have a dedicated place in your home for “work” – even if it’s a closet. Don’t work from your couch.

Establishing a niche/your brand:

  • When it comes to figuring out your brand, start somewhere and fine-tune/adapt along the way.
  • To find your starting point, ask yourself these four questions:
  1. What expertise and specific services would you like to offer?
  2. What sub-sectors would you like to serve?
  3. Who is your ideal client?
  4. How can you bring your personality into your brand?

What to shoot for in marketing:

  • Position yourself as an expert.
  • A lot of marketing is about building relationships. You need to stay in front of people and be top of mind when they have a need for your services.
  • Choose marketing strategies that are so natural to you that the lines between “marketing” and “work” are blurred.

How to price your services:

  • Charge professional fees for professional services.
  • When deciding what to charge, consider the value you offer, your experience and specialty, timelines, research involved, etc.
  • Avoid hourly rates in favor of project fees and retainers.
  • Clients want all three of these things: fast, good, and cheap. Two is all they get.

For a more comprehensive list of the tips we shared – and the consultants who shared them – along with our recommended books, blogs and other resources, check out the session’s collaboration notes.

Now, over to you: are you considering the switch to consulting? What questions do you have about consulting to nonprofit organizations? Are you already a consultant? Share your tips below.

 P.S. Get more nonprofit marketing tools, templates, case studies & tips delivered right to your in-box!

Register here for Getting Attention email updates.

Nancy Schwartz in Nonprofit Communications | 4 comments
Tags:, , , ,

<< Back to Main