Setting Up the Work

Once a foundation or nonprofit organization has selected a consultant to engage, it’s VERY important to spend the time necessary to clarify and agree on expectations, including having an honest dialogue about the “Bill of Rights and Responsibilities,” and to develop a good work plan. This is essential to ensure that the project isn’t derailed down the line over misunderstandings that should’ve been clarified at the outset!

Remember that the detailed scope of work or work plan will serve as an important contract management tool to help both the client and the consultant stay accountable to one another and to remain on-task for accomplishing the agreed-upon action items and deliverables.

To help guide these conversations, here are some key questions that both nonprofit leaders and consultants should ask themselves and discuss when setting up the work:

  • What do you think are markers of success?
  • How much change do you want/expect?
  • What is your level of flexibility in what the outcome looks like?
  • Do you have the infrastructure to handle this type of change?
  • How regularly should we have check-in’s?
  • How far in implementation do we want to go?
Additional Resources
  • Client Orientation Document, Movement Strategy Center, clarify roles and basic logistics: download .pdf >
  • Client Engagement Protocol, Lightbox Collaborative, identify key initial steps: download .doc >
  • Tips for a Successful Project, Lightbox Collaborative: download .doc >