17 May 15+ Nonprofit Consulting Firms for Every Need and Mission
Nonprofit organizations often bear little resemblance to a typical business. They have unique needs and must adhere to specific requirements, and they often have limited internal resources to handle everything on their own. It is helpful that there are consulting firms equipped to address nonprofits’ needs and concerns.
Finding a nonprofit consulting firm that is a good fit for your organization may take time but will be worth it in the end. Read on for our list of recommended top providers and steps for how to select the right consultants for the services you need.
Top Nonprofit Consulting Firms to Consider
Very few consulting firms “do it all.” Most provide specific guidance and services in the area in which they specialize. The following list identifies providers who excel in their fields:
- RealHR Solutions – Full-Service Nonprofit HR Support
- DNL OmniMedia – Nonprofit Technology
- Labyrinth, Inc. – Fundraising Compliance
- Astron Solutions – Nonprofit Compensation Consulting
- Meyer Partners – Nonprofit Marketing
- Cornershop Creative – Nonprofit Web Design
- Capital Campaign Toolkit – Major Campaign Coaching
- Aly Sterling Philanthropy – Nonprofit Strategic Planning
- Averill Solutions – Fundraising Campaign Planning
- Donorly – Donor Prospect Research
- Vanguard – Nonprofit Employee Benefits
- Loop – Nonprofit Branding and Design
- Cerini & Associates – Accounting
- Grants Plus – Grant Seeking Strategy
- Artisan eLearning – Custom eLearning Development
- Your Part-Time Controller – Nonprofit Accounting and Financial Management
RealHR Solutions – Nonprofit Consulting Firm for Full-Service HR Support
RealHR Solutions is a highly respected, go-to consultancy for all things HR. Comprised of professionals with expertise across all areas of HR, RealHR helps nonprofits manage their HR needs so they can focus on their core mission.
The development of client relationships and a hands-on approach to working with clients are hallmarks of RealHR. They customize services to meet each client’s need, and this flexibility allows clients to define their relationship with RealHR – some engagements are discrete projects, others a complete outsourcing of the HR function, and some a combination of varying degrees of support.
Key HR services provided to nonprofit organizations include:
- Building an HR infrastructure
- Employee handbooks
- HR audits
- Workplace investigations
- Job descriptions
DNL OmniMedia – Nonprofit Consulting Firm for Technology
DNL OmniMedia is a leader in the nonprofit technology space, helping nonprofit enterprises maximize their digital communication systems. Starting with a group’s online presence, DNL can handle every aspect of website development from registering a domain name to site management and data analysis.
Additionally, DNL offers products to improve how nonprofit organizations interact with constituents in the areas of donating, surveys, fundraising, and membership. They also help nonprofits simplify the process of creating custom emails without the hassle and confusion of setting up embed links and images.
Working exclusively with nonprofits, DNL understands the unique features of this world and tailors solutions for each organization.
Labyrinth, Inc. – Nonprofit Consulting Firm for Fundraising Compliance
Labyrinth is a national consulting firm with 30 years of experience shepherding nonprofit organizations through the often changing legal requirements of state registrations. Untimely or inaccurate filings can have serious consequences — fines, civil lawsuits, or revocation of an institution’s ability to solicit contributions in that state.
Each state has its own laws and compliance requirements. Labyrinth has a team of experts, including accountants and lawyers, with the experience and know-how to accurately complete the necessary filings on a timely basis.
By trusting Labyrinth to handle the details of these complicated submissions, nonprofits can feel confident that they are meeting all registration requirements.
Astron Solutions – Nonprofit Consulting Firm for Compensation
Astron Solutions provides expert compensation advice for nonprofit organizations. Taking a Total Rewards approach to compensation, Astron works with each organization to devise or update their compensation system to support the organization’s goals.
Astron’s focus areas include policy development, employee communication pieces, exempt/non-exempt classification assessments, market pricing of positions, compensation surveys, and specialized strategy designs for the overall program, incentives, sales, and executive compensation.
Whether a group’s needs are on a project-by-project basis or an ongoing partnership, Astron has the experience to address a nonprofit’s every compensation concern.
Meyer Partners – Nonprofit Consulting Firm for Marketing
Meyer Partners is a leading nonprofit consulting firm specializing in marketing and communication. In the last decade, communication modes have changed and expanded in significant ways. It is no longer sufficient to devise a pithy print campaign.
By capitalizing on various types of communication – print and digital – nonprofits can reach broader audiences, but knowing how and when to use each medium is as important as the content of the outreach. Meyer Partners collaborates with each client to devise a personal, effective marketing and communication strategy to build the necessary connections that lead to successful fundraising and long-term sustainability of the nonprofit’s mission.
Reaching out to Meyer Partners is risk-free as they offer free, no obligation audits of an organization’s communication programs.
Cornershop Creative – Nonprofit Consulting Firm for Web Design
Cornershop Creative is a leading web design provider for nonprofit organizations. In addition to delivering a creative, easy to navigate site, Cornershop Creative pages are fast, secure, and SEO-optimized. Their vast experience in nonprofit Customer Relations Management systems (CRMs) and donor platforms allows them to customize donation forms, email marketing campaigns, and data syncs.
Cornershop Creative’s support of nonprofits continues after site launch. They offer continuing advice and guidance on SEO strategies, web content drafting, improvement and modification of the site, and maintenance and security.
Their portfolio of satisfied, reputable customers demonstrates their commitment to their clients and their ability to deliver a personalized, effective online presence.
Capital Campaign Toolkit – Nonprofit Consulting Firm for Campaign Coaching
The Capital Campaign Toolkit provides nonprofit entities with tools and guidance on how to structure and execute a successful major fundraising effort. The toolkit helps nonprofits with organization and provides a variety of templates and tools useful throughout the life of the campaign.
As a toolkit user, nonprofits have access to expert advice and peer support. There is also 24/7 email support. Depending on the plan selected, some nonprofits may have personal consulting access and customized templates and tools.
The Capital Campaign Toolkit has a flexible structure with three levels of commitment, so nonprofit groups can select the amount of engagement that fits their needs and budgets.
Aly Sterling Philanthropy – Nonprofit Consulting Firm for Strategic Planning
Aly Sterling Philanthropy excels at working with nonprofit institutions to create and revise their strategic plans. Recognizing that having a written strategic plan is not enough, Aly Sterling has a dedicated team of experienced consultants ready to assist an organization with staying on course and reaching the objectives identified in their plan.
Aly Sterling’s process starts with an assessment of the organization’s health and goals. They then focus on aligning resources with these targets and building a plan that works for the organization’s unique situation.
By partnering with Aly Sterling, nonprofits can identify and focus on what they are good at, allowing them to maximize their funding, avoid employee burnout, and do the most good for their target community.
Averill Solutions – Nonprofit Consulting Firm for Campaign Planning
Averill Solutions is a leader in the area of campaign planning, with their experience spanning all sectors of the nonprofit world. From the strategic to the operational, Averill Solutions can help nonprofits with all aspects of building successful campaigns and increasing their capacity for the future.
Averill’s hands-on approach offers solutions that fit each nonprofit’s particular needs and concerns. With a combined 75 years of experience and a track record of raising more than $3 billion, Averill is well-positioned to help nonprofit groups implement successful fundraising from annual appeals to capital campaigns.
Donorly – Nonprofit Consulting Firm for Prospect Research
Donorly’s expertise lies in assisting nonprofit organizations with their prospect research. Understanding target donors is essential to efficient use of a fundraising team’s time and ultimately a successful campaign. However, many organizations do not have the resources in-house to gather critical donor information – ability to give, interest in the cause, etc.
By subscribing to Donorly’s expert researcher services, nonprofits of all sizes can access this information. Subscriptions are on a monthly basis, and the number of research hours are flexible – 5, 10, or 20 per month.
With Donorly’s targeted research, nonprofits can concentrate their fundraising efforts on potential donors aligned with their calling.
Vanguard Insurance Agency – Nonprofit Consulting Firm for Employee Benefits
Vanguard has over 30 years of experience assisting nonprofits design and implement innovative, cost-effective, and employee-friendly benefits packages. Their expert team offers advisory services relating to health care reform, strategy and design, communication, ongoing management, and compliance.
They customize benefit offerings by starting with an analysis of the organization’s current offerings, employee morale, and business objectives. After assisting with selection, design, rollout, and communication, the Vanguard team provides ongoing support – answering questions and addressing administration issues.
Vanguard uses its knowledge of employee benefits and the law to help clients offer programs that match their culture and growth objectives.
Loop – Nonprofit Consulting Firm for Branding and Design
Loop is a major provider of branding and design consulting for nonprofit institutions. Through creative design and branding, Loop helps nonprofits introduce themselves to donors and constituents and emphasize the importance of their mission.
Designing a brand involves logos, colors, graphics, web design, and much more. Loop crafts a strategy to integrate the brand into all forms of communication, analog and digital (e.g., social media, web design, presentations, stationery, business cards, promotional materials, swag, etc.).
By combining the stakeholder’s organizational knowledge with Loop’s creative expertise, nonprofits can develop their story and craft an effective plan for sharing that brand with the world.
Cerini & Associates – Nonprofit Consulting Firm for Accounting
Cerini & Associates is a full-service accounting firm serving nonprofit institutions across many sectors. Grounded in the idea of connecting with their clients – understanding their needs and their aspirations – Cerini & Associates provides a variety of consulting, accounting, and auditing services with a personal touch.
Cerini has a team of experienced professionals ready to answer questions and address concerns on topics from employee benefits to forensic accounting. Where needed, they offer outsourced accounting services and can advocate for clients in local, state, or federal tax disputes.
Accounting and tax issues can be complex for any organization, and nonprofits must adhere to very specific guidelines. Cerini & Associates can help nonprofit institutions navigate these challenging waters.
Grants Plus – Nonprofit Consulting Firm for Grant Seeking
Grants Plus is a nationally trusted grant strategy consulting firm. Effective grant writing can be tricky; success takes knowledge of the process and premier writing skills. Since 2007, GrantsPlus clients have secured $200 million in grant funding.
As a full-service firm, GrantsPlus helps nonprofits identify opportunities and write winning proposals to obtain much needed financing. With years of experience, GrantsPlus staffs a dedicated team to work with each nonprofit, focused on achieving immediate grant awards and developing a long-term grant strategy.
Artisan eLearning – Nonprofit Consulting Firm for eLearning Development
Artisan eLearning is a top provider of electronic-based education systems for nonprofit organizations. Artisan’s team of writers, designers, online content experts, and project managers work with each client from start to finish to deliver engaging, educational, and effective training materials.
From microlearning to longer module-based content, Artisan crafts eLearning environments that address the specific concerns of each nonprofit. They also specialize in maintaining that content to remain relevant in the future and updating an organization’s existing training materials to make them more effective.
With Artisan eLearning as a partner, nonprofit groups can rest assured that all their training needs will be met.
Your Part-Time Controller – Nonprofit Consulting Firm for Accounting and Financial Management
Your Part-Time Controller (YPTC) specializes in onsite or remote accounting and financial management support to nonprofit organizations of all sizes. They recognize that each nonprofit is unique, requiring differing levels of support, and they customize their services to meet each client’s needs.
YPTC works with nonprofits in the following areas: accounting and bookkeeping, financial reporting, analysis and data visualization, policy and internal controls development, forecasting, budgeting, grant proposal reporting, and audit preparation. Their team can train staff or assume certain functions to alleviate pressure on your resources.
With their accounting and fiscal management expertise, YPTC can help nonprofits stay current on financial reporting, grow their organizations, and continue to benefit those they wish to serve.
Nonprofit Consulting Services: How to Get Started
No matter the solution you seek, the process for selecting a firm to support your nonprofit organization is generally the same. The steps are as follows:
1. Defining Your Needs
What exactly needs to be accomplished? Key internal stakeholders should be integrally involved in the process: identifying the goal and clarifying the desired outcomes. Considering all perspectives and interests will be critical to establishing the scope of the project. This will help prevent reworking the strategy once started and will keep internal and external team members focused on the project and deliverables.
2. Securing Internal Buy-in or Approval
Retaining a consulting firm is an investment in your organization, and before a nonprofit organization makes any investment, the board should be in the loop. With their upfront support, you avoid problems that could derail or slow down the project.
3. Establish a Budget and Timeframe
Whenever you consider engaging outside expertise, a major consideration is your budget. How much you can afford or are willing to pay may sway your decision about hiring an external consultant or which one you select. You may also decide to scale down a project to stay within your current budget.
Other critical details that need fleshing out are the start date, the engagement timeframe, and a tentative schedule for deliverables along the way.
4. Researching Firms
With general parameters in mind, you can begin searching for the right consulting firm. Asking respected and trusted colleagues in the nonprofit space for referrals is often the best way to start.
Researching firms on the internet is another way to broaden your search. By reviewing firm websites and reading articles, whether from referrals or your own research, you will learn about various consulting firm offerings and identify those that might be a good fit with your organization.
5. Requesting Proposals
After narrowing down the possible candidates, the next steps are to draft a Request for Proposal (RFP) and ask target consultancies to bid on your project. The RFP will spell out all the details – your objective, timeframes, any other information you would like to know about the particular consulting firm, and a deadline for returning the RFP.
6. Reviewing Proposals
The RFPs will likely present a great deal of information to digest, and it may be helpful to organize a team for this job. The team can establish a consistent process for assessing each proposal and a system for comparison. Circling back to some firms may be necessary to clarify aspects of the proposals or address any questions.
7. Choosing a Consultant
- Projected budget
- Pricing structures offered by each consultancy
- Availability of the agency to meet your deadlines
- Examples of their work product
With the relevant information in hand, one consultant firm will hopefully come into focus, rising above the others as an ideal match for your project.
There are times when your internal team is stretched too thin or does not have the expertise to accomplish a goal. That is when it may make sense to hire an expert. Although an initial expense, if you do your research and select a firm with the right background and fit for your organization, engaging a well-regarded, effective consulting firm can be worth the investment.
RealHR Solutions regularly consults with nonprofits of all sizes and in all sectors, and if we do not offer the services you need, we have a strong network of fellow consulting firms which we can recommend. Get in touch today to discuss your needs!
The following articles can help you learn more about RealHR Solutions and how we may be of service to your organization:
- Performance Reviews: Overview & Tips from HR Experts
- What, Why, When, and How to Conduct a Pay Equity Audit
- HR Audits: Frequently Asked Questions & How to Get Started