When I decided to switch gears in my career and move towards nonprofits and charities, I contemplated the differences between becoming a development professional representing a single organization, or moving towards consulting and working with several. There were pros and cons of each option, and I weighed them carefully.
In the end I decided I wanted to become an independent grant writing consultant because I enjoy helping nonprofits further their missions and I didn’t want to limit myself to just one. Along the way I found a few assumptions, some of which were true and some that were not.
1) Consultants make more money, work less hours and make their own schedules
Yes and no. best immigration consultant As a consultant I am able to charge for specific services, and there are months where I earn more income as a consultant than I would as an employee, but there are also months where things are scarce. I have to be very careful with planning my time and my billings in order to ensure cash flow. It is important to remember that as a consultant I am also running my own business, which means I am the accountant, the human resources department, the project manager- the whole staff, on top of being a grant writer. In some ways this means I work lots of non-billable hours managing my business. Don’t discount your benefits package, either- as an independent consultant I pay full price for my insurance and there is no match for my retirement funds.
2) Consultants have varied areas of expertise
Some consultants focus specifically on one type of funding or one topic. I did not specialize and have enjoyed a broad range of opportunities, funding sources and topics. For example, last month I was writing grants in support of a prototype hip replacement through the National Institutes of Health, a youth gang prevention and rehabilitation mentoring program with the Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention and a capacity building expansion project for technology funding through several private foundations.
3) Consultants are not dedicated to their causes and remain at an arms-length
While I cannot speak for all consultants, I know that personally I do not take on clients with missions that do not spark my passion. It is imperative to me that I am supportive of my nonprofits and their programs- if not I am not the right consultant for their cause. However, I do maintain a professional distance, which allows me to focus on facts and program structure in order to ensure my nonprofit clients receive the funding they need. By drawing on experience from several programs, agencies and experiences I believe I am able to construct logical, concise and clear proposals while maintaining emotional appeal. Development professionals are also able to create this perspective, but I am better able to manage this as an independent consultant.