Projects can include any of our specialty areas such as grant writing, fundraising, non-profit management, technology review, and project management. Projects may be part-time for extended periods, or full-time for short periods of time. Larger projects may involve a multi-disciplinary team. Use of a consultant such as ourselves may be particularly appropriate for specialty work that is not full-time, and which may take an extended elapsed time. Please feel free to contact us with inquiries regarding project work.
Grant and Proposal Writing
Effective grant applications require that mission and delivery capabilities are presented in clear and compelling fashion. What starts out as a straightforward need to write a grant application may evolve into a need to clarify fundamentals of mission and program.
Example: We responded to a Request for Proposal by adding a significant management component that had not been requested, but which in our view was necessary for program success. Our proposal led to the next steps wherein we qualified for and won the rights to manage and execute a large consulting project.
Even as we rely on our partner organizations for subject matter expertise and input, we sift, refine, reformulate, and ask the questions(simple and complex) needed to develop clear and compelling proposal documents.
As consultants we often focus on how to improve operational reporting, but our partner organization needs to focus on what to do in response to the newly-uncovered facts.
Example: A classic example of operations improvement from the private sector was when we spent an extended period of time straightening out the accounts receivable computer system reporting for the U.S. branch of an international manufacturing company. When we presented the controller with his first complete and accurate accounts receivable report, the reaction was one of dismay, followed by energetic actions to fix the problems shown. The report showed that many accounts were late in paying, and much money was owed to the company.
Technology Review / Database Management
At non-profit and government organizations, we often find information systems (I.S.) budgets cut to the bare essentials of "keeping on the lights", where billing, payroll, and network systems dominate the I.S. effort. Occasionally, a compelling need arises where outside capability is required.
Example: At one non-profit organization, we were asked to enhance database reporting that was needed to report on grant mission fulfillment. We utilized the client's Microsoft Access database but found that, contrary to the expectation of the "simple" reporting one might expect in Access, extensive custom programming was needed. Due to this complexity, the information produced had not been viewed in this manner before, and when complete yielded valuable data for maintaining grant status and applying for new grants.
Database system implementation and upgrade is one of those things that is easy to measure — the system works, or it does not. We pride ourselves on providing realistic timeline estimates and making sure that in the end — it works.
Sometimes the consultant's scope of work involves a survey to uncover areas for further study and improvement. This type of survey and analysis can yield surprising and beneficial results.
Example: We performed a special study for a pharmaceutical company as it attempted to merge its quality control laboratories into a single entity. Over the course of this analysis, we determined that the "simple" answer was to standardize on one brand of equipment, rather than using multiple brands. But as the consideration continued, it became apparent that a whole different approach to information technology support for the laboratory was required. Over time, these recommendations were implemented and were helpful in improving efficiency and effectiveness, and reducing bottlenecks.
In this case, we found that an open process was needed to encourage the sharing of knowledge on the part of the partnering organization as we distilled the best ideas into an action plan.
An effective organization is of fundamental importance to fulfilling mission. We have worked with senior management to build organizational capacity to effectively execute program mission.
A Strategic Review engagement focuses either on the entire organization or on a particular issue or program. The Strategic Review considers external environmental and internal organizational factors that affect mission results.