Career Story: Owner Of A Consulting Business That Helps Non-Profit Organizations

Owner Of A Consulting Business That Helps Non-Profit Organizations

Job Title: Owner Of Consulting Business

Type of Company: My company helps non-profit organizations and small businesses get better at marketing, fundraising, and management.

Education: MBA, Babson College •• BA, Communication, University of New Hampshire

Previous Experience: I was a consultant for a pricing and competitive strategy consulting firm for a couple of years immediately after earning my MBA. Before I went to business school, I ran my own business helping creative people like artists and architects get better at managing and marketing their own work. Before that I was the manager of an architecture firm, and my first job out of undergraduate school was as the performing arts coordinator for a cultural center.

Job Tasks: I help clients with marketing, fundraising and management. In a typical day, I am usually helping a client either plan what they'd like to do in these areas, or I am helping them implement some aspect of the plan. Usually it takes several weeks to develop a plan, and usually that plan is for a full year. I spend a lot of time at first reviewing their past performance, and then talking with them about what they think capable of and what they'd like to achieve.

Then we outline a plan to achieve what they want. This plan also takes into account what they've been good at in the past and who is available and has the right skills to do the new things they'd like to do. In some cases, this might mean they need to hire a new staff person or consultant to get the results they're looking for.

For example, a non-profit client might want to improve the look and feel of their web site and also design in better ways for people who support their cause to be able to give online, to take advantage of the fact that online giving is increasing. After working out a plan with the leader(s) of the organization, I might serve as the project manager for this project, but would hire technical help for the actual site design and online giving. I would work with staff people in the organization to not only build content for the site that would compel people to be more generous, but to think of strategies for bringing more people to their site in the first place. Some of these strategies might include surveys or Facebook pages or e-mail blasts, or all of the above, depending on what's appropriate for the client's situation.

Best and Worst Parts of the Job: Best: Thinking creatively, helping worthwhile causes become more successful, having the flexibility of being your own boss, having different projects to do all the time, developing relationships with lots of different people who do interesting things.

Worst: Sometimes having to spend too much time at computers either writing or doing research.

Job Tips: Consultants need to be flexible and open-minded, confident and helpful. The best consultants make their clients lives easier. If you want to be a great consultant:

  • sharpen your writing and analytical skills
  • build your presenting and public speaking skills
  • build your listening skills and your ability to see things from another person's point of view.

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