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What People Say About Us
"The integrity, business sense, authenticity, and oversight of BSI brought a major project to bring quality services in early childhood development to Rosebud County through its first year, and into a burgeoning second one, with a bright future ahead."

Ginger Roll, Former Administrator

Rosebud County Health Department
Selecting a Consultant

Step One: Getting Organized
Pull together a small team made up of both board and staff members from your organization to oversee the consultancy process. This is important for board and staff involvement and commitment to the organizational capacity building effort.

Using the priorities identified in the assessment process, outline your organizational needs. Be aware that other needs or approaches may be identified later by the consultant. Determine exactly the issue or problem that you want the consultant to help solve or address. Note: If you are unsure about what your organization's challenges are, a consultant can also help you objectively assess what needs to be addressed, although fees may be charged for an in-depth analysis. You may wish to apply to MNC for an Assessment Award or use an available self-assessment tool.

Develop objectives for the consultancy that identify:

  • What your problems are; define both symptoms and cause
  • What your expectations are; what does your group need?
  • What you expect to be accomplished by the end of the consultancy
  • What areas of expertise are required; what type of consultant will you need? Which board and staff members will be the lead for arranging the consultancy?
  • Whom the consultant will be working with during the project or engagement?
  • What is your timeframe to complete the project?
  • What is your budget for the consultancy? What other resources will you need for successful meetings—meeting rooms, lodging for retreats, or refreshments? Are there any in-kind resources you can draw onfor these needs (such as a hotel that might donate meeting space for your sessions or a room for the consultant?

Step Two: Identifying Consultants
For comparison purposes, identify at least two potential consultants with the skills and experience to address your organizational needs. As a starting point, resources include the MNC Project Director, referrals from other organizations, or your professional associations and networks. In addition, use your social networking sites such as Twitter, Facebook and LinkedIn as an additional resource.

Step Three: Contacting Consultants
Contact each consultant with a letter, phone call, or email requesting written information about their services and fees.  Your request should include:

  • A summary of your organization, including your mission, history and current situation
  • The problem or issue that you want the consultant to address
  • Details about your objectives and expectations, the time frame and any financial constraints
  • Due date for the consultant's response/proposal (allow at least two weeks)
  • Your contact information, including your web site address
  • Other information, e.g., program brochures, organization chart and organization budget indicating sources of income and major expenses, which will help the consultant gain an understanding of your organization's capacity and need for assistance.
Step Four: Making the Organizational/Consultant Match
Review the consultant's materials and interview (by phone or in person) the consultant(s) who best match your needs. Ask them to describe their experience and types of services they offer. Here are some suggested questions to ask the prospective consultant:
  • What are your strengths that will be particularly helpful in connection with this project?
  • Have you worked on similar projects or consulted with other groups facing problems similar to ours? What did you learn from that experience?
  • How would you describe the challenges we face based on the limited amount you know about us? How do you think your consultation will change or improve our situation?
  • Describe your work process. How would you work with our staff and board?
  • Are there other members of your consultant team who would be working with you? Who are they? How would you propose to divide up the tasks among your team members?
  • Will you provide three to five references from among your recent clients with contact information indicating the general nature of the work performed and the person with whom the consultant worked most directly?
Step Five: Checking References
Always check references. Review their recent client reference list for organizations similar to yours with comparable need. Call the person who has most directly supervised the consultant's work. Ask how the project worked out, if they would recommend the consultant to a colleague, and if they would use the consultant again. If you have any concerns or questions about the consultant's methods or style, you may ask some additional questions. Ask if the consultant was timely in delivery and if the organization was satisfied with the outcome.

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