Key Points

This article presents the results of a survey launched in January 2014 by Foundation Center, in collaboration with the National Network of Consultants to Grantmakers, examining use of consultants by community, corporate, and independent foundations whose annual giving totals at least $100,000.

The survey asked funders to report whether they used consultants in the past two years and, if so, how frequently and for what purposes; they were also asked to report their level of satisfaction with consultants’ work. Funders that did not engage consultants in the last two years were asked why not. The survey also sought open-ended responses about working with consultants.

The survey found widespread use of consultants among foundations. While the results of this study tend to emphasize the benefits – taking advantage of external expertise, allowing staff to stay focused on what they do best, bringing fresh or neutral perspectives to the work – respondents were also clear that working with consultants has its challenges.

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