Are you considering making a switch from being a fundraiser to being a consultant? Let’s start with why you are contemplating this move. Did you have one bad day too many? Have you been passed over for that promotion, again? Do you have an entrepreneurship spirit ready to emerge? Are you just ready for a change?
For me, it was the last one. I had worked for different nonprofits and held different positions. I enjoyed the work but felt ready for a new adventure. Building your own business definitely counts as an adventure.
Here are a few things to consider:
You are your own boss
No office politics
Lots of networking
No steady paycheck or benefits
Work is not consistent
Be ready to market and promote your business
These might be barriers or reasons to take the plunge. Do your research. Who are the nonprofit consultants in your area? What do they offer? Talk to people, ask for information interviews with consultants, even if you don’t know them. Also, think about starting out part time or as a side hustle, either directly with a client or as a subcontractor with another consultant.
Setting Up Shop
Let’s say you’re ready to take the plunge. You don’t want to just call yourself a consultant, you want to set up a real business either as an LLC or an S-corp. You can google the appropriate documents and file with the state and the IRS yourself or an attorney can do it for you. Once you get your EIN number then you can set up a business bank account. You’ll need a website; and business cards for all the networking you will be doing.
Circle of Champions
Next, build your circle of champions and resources to you will have someone to talk through your ideas and questions. Consider working with a business coach, if only for a short time. What are your areas of expertise? What is the rate you want to charge? How are you going to find clients? Being your own boss takes fortitude and you’re going to be pushed outside your comfort zone.
Are you ready? Other consultants can be very helpful and supportive. So, jump in and join the community of nonprofit consultants. Once you are established, consider checking out the Association of Philanthropic Counsel. This group has been a wonderful resource for my consulting firm. Also, they are hosting their 2023 Summer Forum in Fort Worth, so this is a local opportunity to connect with a vast network of fellow nonprofit consultants. We are all together to support our nonprofit community.
Michelle Crim, CFRE
Dynamic Development Strategies can help. We offer coaching, grant writing, and fundraising services for our nonprofit clients. We specialize in small to mid-size organizations because we understand your challenges. Please contact us for more information.