If you missed out on last night’s panel and happy hour event at Town Brewing, then you really missed it! It felt great to see so many of our friends together in one spot and the conversations and energy in the room were so positive. We’ll do it again soon – and we hope to see even more of you there.

The panel was hosted by Nonprofit.ist, a platform founded by Heather Yandow that helps nonprofits connect with a diverse network of nonprofit supports. Prior to the happy hour, our CEO Josh Jacobson served on a panel of fellow consultants who shared more about their own professional journeys and learnings from the field. Many of the workshop attendees were launching their own freelance or consulting businesses or have already been providing these services around a range of areas and expertise.

Like many industries, hiring in the nonprofit field has changed rapidly over the last few years. Organizations are reevaluating the way they deploy staff resources. Where nonprofits formerly prioritized events and logistics, many are now placing a greater emphasis on relationship development. As this shake-up continues, it leaves many leaders wondering – who needs to be a staff member vs. a contracted specialist?

Here are four of the most common areas that organizations can benefit from engaging with contractors – and why:

  1. Event Management – Nearly every nonprofit used to have at least one position committed to event logistics – and sometimes several. Events are a major piece of the fundraising puzzle for most organizations and well-organized runs, walks, luncheons and galas are critical – which is why it is becoming more beneficial to outsource this to event experts. This leaves your in-house staff free to focus on the cultivation of relationships before and after the event, which is what really brings in the dollars.
  2. Grant Seeking – Anyone who has written a grant knows that the research, writing and management can be a tedious process. The activity is critical and brings in much-needed dollars – but is it the best use of a full-time staff position? Professional grant writers pull from a deep well of experience and research that can give organizations a major kickstart when beginning a grant process. The biggest benefit of working with grant professionals is often their expertise about what makes sense to pursue and what you’re likely to win, maximizing the resources you spend grant-seeking.
  3. Marketing – While it still makes sense for all organizations to have an in-house marketing professional, the marketing field is evolving rapidly. It is nearly impossible for a single professional to have expertise in every marketing area. Marketing contractors can offer specialist services, training or support with day-to-day tasks such as graphic design, video production, digital marketing, social media, content development and more.
  4. Project Management – For already taxed nonprofit staffs, managing newly funded projects or pilot initiatives can make already full plates totally overloaded. Many organizations are contracting with short and long-term project managers to ensure that these projects can be deployed smoothly and without disruption.

Our own business has regularly contracted with professionals to help expand our capacity or to leverage a specialized skill set, such as video production. These collaborations help make everyone stronger and ensures that the social good landscape has a rich and diverse skill set that provides budget flexibility, niche expertise and the ability to focus on the activities that drive your organization forward.

Want to talk about how consultants or contractors can drive your own nonprofit model forward? Reach out to us – or check out the Nonprofit.ist network here.