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"I'm too busy to hire!"​ - Look for 3 key traits to hire the right consultant even in chaotic times

It’s the fabled consultant conundrum.


The organization knows they could benefit from a consultant but believe they don’t have the time to get an outsider up to speed. The path of least resistance becomes to work the team even harder or simply decline aggressively pursuing a great opportunity.


Throughout my career I have experienced both sides of this situation. I have been the leader of a digital team drowning in opportunity. I’ve also consulted with the company that says, “I know we should do this and we have the budget, but …”

“The most difficult thing is the decision to act, the rest is merely tenacity.” – Amelia Earhart

The tenacious and strategic leader is able to reframe this choice. They realize that retaining the right consultant is far different than selecting a relative stranger (or agency) that merely acquiesced to a time-consuming RFP process.


Selecting a consultant with these three qualities can help you take on that high-impact initiative while also reducing the time necessary for onboarding and management.


  1. A high level of trust. Among the many benefits is knowing the consultant is aligned with your goals and committed to your success, not just their profits. A trusted consultant will listen to your needs and craft a scope of work that addresses them without trying to upsell you on unnecessary services you don’t have the time to manage.

  2. A goal-oriented thinker. They can help you flush out the big idea and transform it into an actionable plan. This saves you time and meetings. The biggest mistake some clients make is retaining a consultant who only talks about shiny tactics that might look pretty but don’t help you establish and accomplish truly measurable goals. The result is lots of output but little impact.

  3. Comfortable with your technology. A consultant with experience using technology platforms (i.e. Bonterra, Capital Canary, Voter Voice, Blackbaud, Quorum) can relieve you and your team of hours of grunt work. Granting the consultant limited administrator rights to your advocacy/email marketing system allows them to analyze your data and content without you needing to pull a plethora of reports you don’t have time to handle. During the campaign, they can even assist in creating the emails and text messages, developing the petitions and landing pages, and ultimately having everything ready to go for you to review and publish.

A growing economy and continued strong activism mean opportunity abounds.

Organizations that seize this moment to drive growth and action by engaging their key audiences will bolster their mission, strengthen their brand both internally and externally, and position themselves for greater future success.

"In the midst of chaos, there is also opportunity." – Sun Tzu

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