KELL LABS

DIY vs. Hiring a Consultant

WhenToDIYHire Cover SMLet’s cut to the chase. Most nonprofits are stretched thin. The staff wear many hats, they work extra hours and budgets are tight. Everyone knows this, so we don’t need to explain it further. Also, the Salesforce.com platform is crazy powerful, super flexible and can be totally overwhelming. Not everyone will admit that last part, but it’s true. Around 30,000 nonprofits have taken advantage of the Salesforce.org license grant that offers 10 free licenses to qualifying 501(c)(3) organizations. Let’s assume that less than 10% of these have annual operating budgets greater than $20M, that means that thousands of nonprofits have received this generous grant and then thought to themselves… now what?!

It Depends on the Weather

At KELL, we’ve built a business around answering this specific question. Our answer and the favorite answer of any consultant has always been, “that depends”. It depends on the specific requirements for each organization. It depends on the timeline available, it depends on the staff resources, and it depends on the weather. Ok, maybe not the weather, but you get the idea.

Home Depot + 40hrs/week X 12months = ???

One of my favorite metaphors used when describing Salesforce to nonprofits is to imagine that a generous benefactor has just donated an amazing undeveloped property to your nonprofit. No strings attached. Along with the donated property, the benefactor has arranged for Home Depot to park ten 18-wheeler trucks, full of materials, tools and equipment at the property for your use. Lucky you! Now you and your staff can begin building a customized dream facility for your nonprofit operations. Wow! That’s amazing! But um, now what?! “Does anyone here know anything about construction? Does anyone here have 40+ hours per week for the next 12 months available to sort this out”, says the grateful but overwhelmed Executive Director of your nonprofit whose needs and expectations far exceed her staffs’ capabilities (ahem). 

Have No Fear, the Consultant is… (sign here ____, and here ____)!

We get it, hiring a consultant is not cheap. We like to say at KELL that our #1 competitor is budget. The cost of having an expert take the reins of your custom Salesforce implementation can be significantly less than the opportunity cost of doing it yourself, but it’s still an expense that must be funded (and we all know how hard it can be to raise funds for operations).

Psst… You may not need a consultant

At times the best approach is to tackle the work yourself. By doing it yourself you’ll improve your skills, be more independent, and become more knowledgeable of your CRM and capable of solving future challenges with creative solutions. When to DIY vs. hire a consultant is never an easy question; however, we’ve published some tips for you to consider. You may find you can tackle 20% or 50% or even more of the work yourself, using the consultant for a limited set of requirements and therefore lowering your cost.