Consulting to the Nonprofit Sector

Laura Freebairn-Smith

Chapter published in “Management Consulting: A Complete Guide to the Industry,” Sugata Biswas and Daryl Twitchell, © John Wiley, 1999.

To effectively help nonprofit organizations, we, as consultants, must have a strong understanding of the nonprofit sector and its typical organizational structures. We need to convince our nonprofit clients that we have strong functional and industry expertise. And we also have to prove that we understand the organizational behaviors arising out of the three economic sectors: private, public, and nonprofit. Since organizations tend to experience similar issues regardless of sector, the solution to a nonprofit’s problem may be similar to those for the private or public sectors. As a result, we can ask the same question of any of the three sectors: How does being a nonprofit—or a for-profit, or a public—organization either affect or create the issues our client faces? Although this question applies to all three sectors, the context within which we ask it leads to very different answers.

  • The Three Sectors of the U.S. Economy
  • The Nondistribution Constraint of the Nonprofit Sector
  • A Career in Consulting to Nonprofits

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