Key Points

Despite foundations’ frequent recourse to consultants, little, if anything, has been written on the expertise required of foundation consultants and how they cultivate it. This article looks at the types of expertise that these consultants bring to their work and for which their clients hire them.

This expertise falls into three categories: process expertise, or what the consultant does with the client; content expertise, or what the grantmaker does; and hybrid expertise, consultant processes that are their own subject areas.

This article also offers examples of how content, process, and/or hybrid expertise might combine to address particular foundation needs, and incorporates the perspectives of 12 consultants to philanthropy, ranging from solo practitioners to members of large firms.

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