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Hiring a Corporate Philanthropy Consultant for Your Business - Featured Expert Aly Sterling

Hiring a Corporate Philanthropy Consultant for Your Business

Your business has big goals for the future, whether you’re hoping to meet a new annual revenue objective or expand into new markets. However, beyond meeting these personal milestones, you also need to consider how your company is impacting the community around you. 

More and more businesses are expanding their strategic priorities to include supporting nonprofits and the causes they serve. In fact, it’s estimated that 85% of companies in the US have a formal domestic corporate giving program in place. In addition to driving positive change in the world around them, these companies benefit from a boost in their philanthropic reputation and can attract new customers because of their socially conscious actions. 

If your business is ready to harness its philanthropic potential but not sure where to begin, you’ll need to work with a corporate philanthropy consultant. The right consultant can help you develop philanthropic initiatives that drive impact, effectively engage your employees and naturally align with your other business operations. 

In this article, we’ll discuss three essential tips to hire the right corporate philanthropy consultant for your business. Before we get started, let’s cover the key benefits of collaborating with a third-party consultant. 

Benefits of Working with a Corporate Philanthropy Consultant

A corporate philanthropy consultant can look at your company’s current approach to philanthropy with a fresh perspective and offer ways to strategically revamp your program to maximize impact. Specifically, a consultant can help to: 

A corporate philanthropy consultant can help you naturally align your corporate philanthropy initiatives with your purpose.

  • Define your goals and values: Your consultant will help you understand your company’s purpose and how you can expand it to power social good. This involves considering what kind of nonprofit(s) you want to support, the type of support you’re willing to give and how employees can get involved. Your consultant will ensure your corporate philanthropy goals fit into your broader corporate mission and will reflect positively on your brand. 
  • Identify gaps in your existing philanthropy: Your consultant will measure the effectiveness of your current program and how it could be made stronger to better engage employees and support your broader initiatives. For example, if you currently have a corporate volunteering program in place, but none of your employees are leveraging it, your consultant can suggest ways to tailor your philanthropic efforts more closely to your team’s interests. 
  • Create an ideal partnership model: While corporate philanthropy gives your nonprofit partner access to plenty of resources to advance their mission, such as volunteer support or direct financial support, your business should also realize many benefits. These include increased customer loyalty and incentives to attract top talent in the hiring process. Your consultant will help you develop partnerships with nonprofits that make your community a better place and maximize profits. 

Now that you understand the value of collaborating with a corporate philanthropy consultant, let’s take a closer look at how you can hire the right firm for your business. 

Do your research on consulting firms

The first step to hiring a corporate philanthropy consultant is doing your research. Begin by looking at the specific services different firms offer and whether they meet your company’s needs. You’ll also want to consider:

  • Founding philosophies: You’ll be working closely with your corporate philanthropy consultant, so it’s critical that they share the same values and work ethic. Look into their purpose statement and About page on their website to assess whether they’d be a productive partner and a good fit for your company’s culture. 
  • Location: A local corporate philanthropy consultant can be helpful if you’re a smaller business hoping to learn more about charitable opportunities in your immediate area and need someone who has a strong lay of the land. However, a remote corporate philanthropy consultant can also provide a fresh perspective and offer you a unique perspective. Consider how important it is to have a remote versus local consultant to push forward your goals. 
  • Testimonials: Ask for references and explore the websites of your candidates to see if they have any available testimonials. This will tell you whether they’ve worked with companies similar to yours and how satisfactory their clients have found their work. 
  • Past projects: In the same vein, it can be helpful to learn about the specific projects a consultant has led in the past for their clients and the outcomes of these initiatives. This way, you can feel confident that you’re working with an experienced consultant who can help you lead similar projects and realize the full potential of your brand. 

Meet with your team ahead of the research process so you can determine your budget and use this as another factor in your search for the right consultant. However, leave room for flexibility; it’s much better to pay slightly more for the right fit so you can structure a strong corporate philanthropy program that your company will benefit from for years to come. 

Determine the right interview questions to ask candidates 

Once you’ve come up with a list of candidates, it’s time to reach out to these consultants and set up interviews. Interviews can help you learn more about a consultant’s approach and expertise and overall assess whether they would be compatible with your company’s team. Before each of your interviews, you must come in with the right questions so you can make the most of your time and your candidates’ time. 

From your research, you should be able to come up with specific questions for each of your candidates. However, it can be helpful to have some general questions on hand to guide your conversations and ensure you’re covering all the basics, such as: 

  • What are your specialty practice areas?
  • Can you provide an overview of your experience in corporate philanthropy consulting?
  • What types of corporate clients have you worked with in the past?
  • Can you share examples of successful corporate philanthropy initiatives you’ve been involved in?
  • How do you tailor your services to meet the specific needs and culture of each client?
  • Can you provide references from previous corporate clients you’ve worked with?
  • What is your pricing structure for corporate philanthropy consulting services?

To save your team time and make the hiring process more efficient, consider using video interview technology. This way, you can have your candidates film themselves responding to prompts and then watch the clips whenever you have an opportunity. After you’ve reviewed the footage with your team, invite the most qualified candidates for a more formal in-person interview. 

Request a corporate philanthropy consulting firm proposal

To nail down your decision, it can be helpful to request proposals from your top candidates. A proposal is a document that outlines a consultant’s approach and related costs to achieving your corporate philanthropy goals, including the service/initiative, process, and timelines. A well-developed proposal should have the following key elements:

  • Provide an overview of their process and project deliverables
  • Lay out a sample timeline for how long the work will take
  • Share estimated costs and project scope, including how travel, printing, and other anticipated or potential costs are handled

Once you receive these proposals, consider meeting with your top candidates again to discuss their ideas and make amendments. For instance, you might request that the timeline be shortened or negotiate the costs to fit within your budget.

In the end, the proposal should satisfy both your company and the consultant. Move forward with the candidate whose proposal and conversations leading up to this point have demonstrated that they will be the best fit for your company. 

Wrapping Up

The hiring process for a corporate philanthropy consultant can be exciting and stressful, as you want to make sure you’re selecting the most qualified candidate for your needs. However, once you’ve selected your consultant, trust their expertise and listen to their advice. Developing a strong working relationship with your consultant will help you get the most out of this experience and create the best outcome for your business. 


Aly Sterling PhilanthropyFeatured Guest Expert: Aly Sterling, Founder & President

Aly Sterling, a renowned nonprofit consultant and philanthropy expert, brings a wealth of experience and passion to the world of strategic philanthropy. As the founder and president of Aly Sterling Philanthropy, she has dedicated her career to empowering nonprofit organizations with the knowledge and strategies needed to thrive in the ever-evolving philanthropic landscape. Aly is celebrated for her insightful guidance on board governance, fundraising, and organizational sustainability. With an unwavering commitment to making a meaningful impact, Aly Sterling continues to inspire and guide nonprofits toward long-term success.

With a focus on board governance, fundraising, and organizational effectiveness, Aly Sterling Philanthropy has become a trusted partner for nonprofits seeking to navigate and thrive in the complex world of philanthropy. Our team’s expertise, passion for social impact, and dedication to client success make us a valuable resource for organizations striving to make a positive and lasting difference in their communities.

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