The Value of Working With Consultants
Most thriving ministries or nonprofits are looking for ways to go to the next level — to increase their revenue, to expand their media footprint, to grow their donor base, to launch into social media marketing — so they can impact more lives.
Often, receiving wise counsel from others who have successfully accomplished what you desire to achieve is critical. In an article by Roy H. Williams, author of the book The Wizard of Ads, he gives some insight to the need for and the benefits of using outside consultants. He shared:
“Many years ago a friend said to me, ‘Roy, do you know the difference between a smart man and a wise man?’”
“Say on, John.”
“A smart man makes a mistake, learns from it, and never makes that mistake again. A wise man finds a smart man and learns from him how to avoid that mistake altogether.”
When my church was just a few hundred people, I remember calling and visiting leaders of churches around the country who were much larger, in order to glean wisdom from them. I am thankful for those who invested their time to communicate their successes and mistakes and share resources and processes that helped grow their churches. Their input contributed greatly to helping my congregation grow into a large multi-campus church.
When our ministry decided to launch a TV Ministry, we brought in media strategists, direct mail experts, and fundraising consultants to lead us through these uncharted waters. Television can be very expensive, so we surrounded our team with industry experts who knew how to maximize the results and impact with our limited budget.
As a ministry leader, I learned the value of working with consultants who are experts in their respective fields and utilizing them to maximize results. Unfortunately, some ministries make the decision to bring things in-house in an attempt to save money, when in actuality it costs them money because of their marginalized results.
Some ministries try to use in-house staff to do things that their team is just not properly skilled to do. Their staff has the passion and heart for the ministry, but this alone will not produce results. This is why I believe ministries should supplement their team with experts to provide strategy and expertise in certain key areas.
It takes expertise to write and design a responsive fundraising letter package, implement a Facebook lead acquisition campaign, craft an effective press release, launch a television or radio ministry, or promote a new book release.
But in order to get the most out of working with consultants, here are some valuable tips:
* Clearly identify the problem or need you want the consultant to help you fix.
* Share what you believe success looks like to you. Be sure you and your consultant have the same goal in mind.
* Have realistic expectations on the timeframe. It takes time to revamp processes and turn the ship around, so be patient. Many times, I have seen organizations quit prematurely because they had unrealistic expectations of how quickly results would come.
* Clearly communicate and help your internal team understand the purpose and goal of bringing in a consultant. This key is very important because the consultant cannot do it alone. It will take collaboration with your internal team.
* Treat the consultant as a member of your team. Most consultants do not want to be considered a vendor or an outsider, but to be a strategic partner with your ministry to help you accomplish your goals.
* Require a weekly status report that shows all the tasks being worked on, next steps, deadlines, and measured results.
Let us know if Infinity Concepts can use its expertise in branding, fundraising, public relations, media, and digital to produce results for you!
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