User Manual for Consultants

This User Manual is related to the Nonprofit Builder website, which is operated by Imaginate Solutions Sàrl (Switzerland). 

Please take a moment to read this User Agreement carefully. If you have any questions about it, please contact us at support@nonprofitbuilder.org.

Por favor consulte la versión en español aquí

Last updated: 21 February 2022

 

Manual for Consultants

 

Welcome to the Nonprofit Builder!

 

On this page you'll find all the information you need to make the best out of the Nonprofit Builder. If not, reach out to daniel@nonprofitbuilder.org, or anna@nonprofitbuilder.org so we can reply to you and update the manual.

 

This manual also serves as a terms of service, outlining our responsibilities to you and your responsibilities to us.

 

To start, here are the three main benefits you can expect:

 

  1. Your profile is visible to the participating foundation and they can hire you directly for services to their grantees
  2. You can also get interesting work with foundation grantees through our intermediary services for which we can match you directly and pay you promptly.
  3. You can meet and network with other consultants, they come from all over the world and offer a diversity of perspectives that can complement your own. You can find partners for your projects.

 

There is no cost to you for using this service and publishing your profile. It's the foundations who cover the costs of the platform through annual membership fees, and depending on the program, either a percentage of the consultant fees, or a set amount per grantee to the foundation.

 

Joining the platform

 

The service is by invitation only. The idea is to increase the level of trust in the quality of the consultants and the pool as a whole. 

 

Invitations can be extended by the participating foundation, usually on the basis of a positive first hand experience or a recommendation by one of their grantees, always on the basis of a positive first hand experience. The Nonprofit Builder also invites consultants, often on the basis of recommendation by consultants already on the platform.

 

Consultants must be full time consultants, they cannot be employees who do a little consulting on the side. They should have a strong experience with mission-based organisations (nonprofits, social enterprises).

 

On the public profile of each consultant, it is indicated who invited them. Thus it is possible to see who invited whom. 

 

Do you have anybody to recommend? If you know some great people who should be part of the platform, let us know!

 

Your account and profile

 

Who can see your profile? 

 

The Nonprofit Builder is a member-only private database, so they are only accessible to members who are logged in.

 

There are three kinds of members: 

  • Foundations, and their staff
  • Grantees, invited by the foundations, and their staff
  • Consultants, and their staff and partners

 

Very important: the foundations are able to control which consultants are visible to their staff and grantees. Foundation admins can "Like" the consultants they want to add to their pool, by clicking on a Like button on the consultant profile. That means you are only visible to the foundations who have "Liked" you. This is shown on your profile. 

 

Likewise, foundations are able to indicate if they have first-hand experience with you or not, as an additional indication of trust, this is also visible on your profile.

 

As a consultant, you may see all other consultants in the system. This can be useful to find experts to consult or partner with.


How to create a good profile? How to present yourself effectively?

 

You are free to edit your profile as you wish. 

 

Describe your services from the perspective of a potential grantee who needs to understand what you do. 

  1. What is your core expertise?
  2. What services do you offer?
  3. What results can your clients expect from working with you?
  4. What is unique about your and your approach?
  5. What kind of clients have you worked with, what do they do, where do they come from, are they big or small?
  6. Can you name some previous clients?

 

In most cases, no need to reinvent the wheel, you can just copy the text you already have on your website. Please avoid any jargon or wording that is too technical.

 

Logging in to your account

 

To keep things safe and convenient, we have a password-less system: you enter your email in the login page, and we email you a magic link. Click it and you are logged. The system remembers you for one month.

 

Inviting partners and staff

 

From the top menu of your dashboard, you have an Invite button, which you can use to invite staff, so they may also access the database. Partners are similar to staff but they will get a public profile and will be able to receive system emails from grantees and foundations. Partners are not listed separately in the main directory but appear under your main company profile. 

 

Activities dashboard 

 

Your activities dashboard allows you to track your consulting assignments. Any new assignment or request you get from a grantee will appear here. You will also find your SOWs, workplans, reports which we currently upload manually for you. We are working on this section so you'll soon be able to request approvals and upload your invoices for payment.

 

Intermediary services

 

The participating foundations may hire you directly, for specific contracts or retainers. We are not involved in these, the Nonprofit Builder simply serves as a shared directory for them to find and contact you.

 

However we run two intermediary services where consultants can work directly with the grantees. These are the Probono Support and the Action Learning Programme. They are "intermediary" because the Nonprofit Builder system takes care of the matching, contracting, approvals, payments and quality assurance, leaving the consultant to focus on the relationship with the grantee, without having to worry about paperwork or getting paid.

 


Probono Service

Used by: Laudes Foundation, Oak Foundation

 

This intermediary service allows participating grantees to request up to 20 hours of support from any participating consultant. It is very convenient because it is free for the grantee, and we pay the consultant. Thus the foundation who uses it can offer a diverse support network to all its grantees through our convenient service. It starts with one hour initial consultation, which may be enough in some cases, but also allows you to see if there is a good match and make a relevant proposal for additional support hours.


You are not automatically part of this service. If the participating funders or us feel your services are relevant to the grantee, we will ask you to join and activate your profile so that it appears on the Probono list. Additionally, each participating funder needs to "Like" your profile so it is visible to their grantees.

 

This services starts with an email You have received a Probono support request from a grantee, with the following title:

 

Subject: [Probono] Meeting request from grantee_name

 

Immediate action: 

  1. Write to the grantee: reach out to the grantee to set up a call at your mutual convenience. Please be quick, and reply within 24 hours! It's important to be responsive to the grantee! You'll find the contact info in the email of course.
  2. Let us know you accept by clicking on the link to the request's page on Nonprofit Builder and press the Accept button to let us know you are on to it! (or press the Reject button if you can’t)

 

After that:

Hold the initial consultation: this meeting should last 60 minutes, and can take place via Zoom, Hangouts, or whatever is mutually convenient.

 

Helpful follow-up email: after the meeting, send a helpful follow up email to the grantee with your advice and suggestions. This is an integral and important part of the service and cannot be skipped!

 

Request additional hours: if you see a need for additional hours, agree with the grantee during the call, and prepare a short workplan for this extra support in your follow-up email:

 

The additional hours can be for up to 20 hours in total, including the two hours for the initial consultation (so that means additional 18 hours).

The additional hours can also consist of a coaching package of 8-10 hours, at your usual coaching rate.

 

The process for requesting additional hours is as follows:

 

1. Prepare a short workplan (one or maximum two pages) that covers the following:

  • The goal or deliverable of the support
  • How you will spend those hours (schedule or explanation)
  • The work or commitment expected from the grantee (it must be clear for them!)

 

Please don’t exceed the 20 hours of support (or 8-10 hours of coaching). If you need more time to get a good result, please let us know before sending a larger proposal to the grantee.

 

2. Send the workplan to the grantee, if they are happy, instruct them to send it to us for approval (send it to support@nonprofitbuilder.org). Don’t start work without getting a greenlight from us!

 

3. We get your workplan approved by the foundation (usually takes a couple of days, they are quick), and then we get back to you, so you can start work at the mutual convenience of yourself and the consultant.

 

Contact us if you need samples/templates of the workplan or helpful follow-up email. 

 

Information on fees and payment:

Initial consultation fee: The initial consultation fee is paid a standard 200 Euros for two hours work: one hour for the call itself, and one hour for preparation and your helpful follow-up email.

 

Additional hours fee: each hour is paid 100 Euro. So the cap for a Probono support project is 2000 Euros for 20 hours of work. Coaching packages should also fit within this limit.

 

Please invoice us on completion of work. If needed, you can request an advance or an interim payment.

 

Make out the invoice to the address below. Mention the name of the grantee, the foundation, and the service provided.

Imaginate Solutions Sàrl
57 Grand Rue
1296 Coppet

 

Do we take a percentage of your work?

 

No, we don't take a percentage of your work, it's the foundations who cover all our overhead through a mix of annual membership fee, service fees, and a 15% charge on your consulting fees. 

 

Expectations from consultants

 

Nonprofit Builder is only as good as the consultants we work with, and we expect the following form the consultants we work with:

 

  • To have a strong commitment to producing quality work, and serve to the best of your abilities. This is perhaps the most important.
  • To be authentic in your communications with grantees, tactful of course, but if there is a truth they need to hear we will not hold it against you for telling it to them.
  • To communicate quickly with grantees and with us, ideally messages should be replied to or at least acknowledged within 24 hours.
  • To be careful in the wording of your communications, avoid spelling mistakes or poorly written messages.
  • To let us know immediately if you have any issues with the grantees you work with, so we can work together to find a good solution.
  • To be frank in your feedback to us, in particular about shortcomings and areas for improvement. 


Feedback and Reviews

 

We collect feedback from the grantees about your work, as part of our quality assurance. What we ask:

 

1. Would you recommend this consultant to a colleague or friend? on a rate 1-10, one being no, 10 being yes

2. How can the consultant improve his/her service?

3. What did you learn or achieve through this consultancy? How is it helping you get more impact?

 

This feedback goes to the Nonprofit Builder team, to you of course, but not to the funder.

 

In the near future we will introduce an automated system as part of our CRM to collect feedback. This will allow you to publish positive reviews on your profile.

 

What if the review is negative? We'll reach out to you to let you know, and ask you about your version of events. 

 

Generally we understand that it's not easy to work with grantees, and a negative review does not mean you did a bad job. For example your work may point the grantee to some uncomfortable truths they do not appreciate hearing about. Or there may be a mismatch and they may not appreciate your style of work. This happens and we will not hold it against you. Our foundations also understand that organisationally development is inherently messy. However you will also understand if we receive feedback which is consistently negative for a consultant, we may delete its profile from the directory. This is in everybody's nest interest: the grantees, the funders, and also the other consultants.


Your personal data

 

We take personal data seriously and you have full control on all the data relating to you. You can edit your own profile. If you need to delete, just reach out to anna@nonprofitbuilder.org.

 

One exception is the expertise taxonomy that is used for filtering according to core expertise: its the Nonprofit Builder admins who select which keywords apply to describe your core expertise. We are forced to do this because many consultants use too many keywords which means the database searches no longer return meaningful results, foundations/grantees use it less, and and everybody suffers. If you want to request some changes to the keywords we selected to you, please write to us.

 

In the near future we may introduce a system that allows grantees to give reviews about your work. This is for our internal quality assurance, but you will receive these reviews and have the opportunity to publish them on your profile if it's helpful to you.

 

We don't store any data that is sensitive, like information about your religion, political views or health status.

 

The data processors we use are Digital Ocean (who host the CRM), Gmail (we use gmail for communications), Zoom (for teleconferencing) and Postmark (for transactional email).

 

For the purposes of the GDPR, our data protection officer is Anna Kondratyuk who can be reached at: anna@nonprofitbuilder.org.


****