by Julia-Kaye Rohlf
Are you looking to hire a technology consultant? Do you know where to start?
Dan Rivas recently released an article in Philanthropy New Digest with suggestions on how to go about choosing a tech consultant for your nonprofit. Some parts of his list might seem like common sense, but sometimes the obvious steps are the ones we skip over.
Rivas creates 5 steps for hiring a technology consultant:
1. Determine what your nonprofit needs
2. Find the right consultant for the job
3. Learning how to work with your consultant
4. Anticipating the cost of what you are wanting
5. Set everyone up for success
We are going to take a look at some of these 5 steps a little closer and highlight the middle steps that you should pay attention to as well.
As we have said in previous blog posts, setting goals for yourself and determining exactly what your nonprofit needs before you take action is crucial. Why do you have to set a goal when you know something specific has to be done?
For example, you might ask, “Why do I have to have a social media plan before I create the Facebook page when I know I will need a Facebook page?”.
True, you will probably want a Facebook page for your nonprofit, however, in this example it is best to have your entire social media plan set out before you start anything. This way you don’t over exert yourself by starting 100 things at once nor do you do something too early in the game. After all, how much good will a Facebook page do you until you are updating the content regularly?
As step 2 suggests, there is more to finding a consultant than looking in the phonebook and playing a game of eenie meenie. This is another reason you have to know exactly what your nonprofit is looking for, you need to know exactly what you want of your consultant. While you should look at the consultant’s overall reviews, you have to access how good they are what what you desire specifically. A consultant who has a 4.5 rating might not be as good for your nonprofit as one who has a 4.0 rating but specializes in what you are looking for.
Finally, step 5 can seem both obvious and vague. Of course you want everyone to succeed because if your consultant succeeds then your nonprofit will succeed. However, there is more to setting everyone up for success than hiring a good consultant and giving him a to do list.
There are few things more frustrating in a job than being given a task that seems impossible or where you feel like those above you have no understanding of what you are capable of. Therefore, it is important for you to gain a basic understanding of the tasks your consultant will be performing for you. This will not only make them feel as though you put in effort to understand them, but it will also help put things into perspective for you. This could help you set reasonable deadlines and create a positive work relationship with your consultant.
About the Author: Julia-Kaye is an undergraduate at the University of Iowa studying English, mass communications, and theatre. She hopes to work in the media business to help alter the way women are depicted.