8 Signs You Need to Hire a Consultant

We are heading into the second quarter of 2022, and are you wondering if you need to hire a consultant? Before joining the Transform Consulting Group (TCG) team, I worked 13 years in the nonprofit sector as a practitioner and leader who hired and managed consultants. Now, as the consultant, I’m on the other side of the table! When wearing either hat, I have learned to recognize when hiring a consultant is most beneficial for accelerating impact. Here are eight signs that now may be the time to hire a consultant.

1. You need specific expertise or skills.

Do you recognize a gap in a particular skill set or area of expertise? When you’re outside of your capacity, it’s important to recognize when you need help to continue making progress. Consultants bring their subject matter expertise and industry knowledge that has been acquired and refined over years of experience. In addition, hiring a consultant provides access to skills and knowledge that your team or agency may not ever need to have in-house.

2. You need to scale a project.

The concept “go further and go faster” is in action, yet your team is low on capacity, and execution suffers. Your agency or department needs to grow and manage a high volume of priorities and projects. Hiring a consultant can be the key ingredient you need to scale a project.

3. You need the role but are unsure if you want to hire.

Maybe you have identified a particular skill set or job function that requires ongoing attention. However, you are not ready to hire a full-time employee or need this position ongoing. A consultant can provide extra support on a retainer or even hourly basis. 

4. You need an objective person.

We know you are the expert of your organization or department, but we find that many leaders get tunneled vision. It’s beneficial to allow an objective person to give feedback, provide coaching, and conduct training. A consultant can offer a fresh perspective!

5. You need goals and projects to get finished.

Do you have a mile-long “to-do list” that never seems complete? Are your goals not getting met on time. Unfortunately, we often see that organizations lack clarity in goal alignment, which leads to incomplete projects and tasks. A consultant can provide value in setting strategic direction and providing execution bandwidth.

6. You need clarity around job duties and responsibilities.

Are your employees struggling to define who is responsible for specific outcomes? Are you best utilizing the skills and expertise of your current staff, or are you stuck in survival mode? Maybe you’re seeing that your department’s highest-level priorities and activities are not producing the traction and impact desired. Hiring a consultant to support your goals will increase your ability to deliver results while directing current staff.

7. You need to conduct a cost-benefit analysis.

Simply put, the wrong people are doing the wrong tasks. How long has it been since you performed a time and task audit? For example, having a Major Gifts Fundraiser be responsible for a public relations event when they should use their time meeting with donors. Or perhaps an executive position is spending time managing your organization’s social media platforms. There is an hourly cost for every person, and every task is cost. Do you know your costs? A consultant can, For example, hire a consultant could cost you more in the short term, but they are skilled and faster at completing the project. This frees you up to focus on other high-leverage tasks. Or hiring a consultant could cost less than you completing the task. Unfortunately, we find that many agencies do not know their actual costs.

8. You need to conduct an audit and assessment.

You need a comprehensive review of the reality surrounding your agency and industry. So often have “gut” instincts and industry knowledge; however, you need to conduct an audit and assess the current standing. An audit examines results to verify their accuracy by someone other than the person responsible for producing them. An assessment is a judgment made about the results. So whether you need this assessment because of either funder or federal requirements or want expertise, hiring a consultant provides capacity and brings comprehensive industry knowledge to the task. 

We understand that hiring a consultant is a big decision and investment. If done well, the partnership between a consultant and an organization can be transformative. However, this relationship can also be challenging for all parties if the expectations and prep work are not managed. In our next blog, How to Make the Most of Your Consultant,  we will cover steps an organization should take to maximize its relationship with a consultant. 

At TCG, our team is full of former practitioners, so we understand your challenges. We know the vital work you are doing in your community, so we want to see your organization succeed. We believe in the power of partnerships and would love to connect with you as you decide whether now is the time to bring on a consultant to reach your goals this year. Contact us today, and let’s discuss how we can help!