Since we just finished up our Strategic Planning series last week, I thought it might be worthwhile to explore the questions you should ask a consultant.
Whether your nonprofit is about to begin strategic planning, board development, or some other major project, choosing the right consultant will be your most important decision. For this reason, it is crucial to thoroughly screen prospective consultants and choose the one you believe will best position your organization for future success.
For this reason, I offer 14 interview questions that will help ensure you find a good consultant in your local market:
- How will you structure the proposed work?
- How is your approach different from other consultants?
- What do you already know about our organization?
- What steps do you take to protect our organization’s confidential information?
- Related: What access do you need to our data?
- Describe your experience with this type of project?
- Related: Are you a specialist or a generalist?
- Related: What is your experience in our specific field?
- Describe your areas of expertise in the nonprofit sector.
- Related: What was your professional experience before becoming a consultant?
- Will you be working on this project alone or will colleagues work with you?
- Related: Describe the experience of colleagues who may work with you.
- Related: If others are working with you, will you be our primary contact?
- Are you a full-time consultant?
- Related: Is consulting a side business in addition to a full-time job?
- Related: How much access will we have to you during the work day? After regular work hours?
- Related: What is the maximum number of clients you serve at any one time?
- What will you need from us for this engagement to be successful?
- How are your clients better off after an engagement ends?
- Can you guarantee similar results of your other clients? (trick question)
- Related: Can you guarantee success? (trick question)
- Will you provide references from former clients you performed similar work for?
- Related: May we call former clients you don’t provide as references?
- What is your fee structure (hourly, project based, some other way)?
- Related: What is your invoicing structure (monthly, project-based, etc)?
- What else should we be asking you?