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The Average Cost to Hire a Consultant or Agency in 2023: A Comprehensive Breakdown

by
Alfredo Ramirez

Discover 2023's average costs for nonprofit consultants and agencies across 15 key services, from marketing to organizational development.

As the all industries sector continues to evolve in a post-Covid environment, hiring consultants and agencies has become increasingly important for organizations in the nonprofit and private sectors. Hiring an agency or consultant to assist with your organization's needs can be a game-changer. However, understanding the cost implications is crucial to making informed decisions.

In this article, we delve into the findings of Prosal's 2023 Nonprofit Consultant Survey, which provides valuable insights into the nonprofit consulting industry. We will break down the average costs of hiring an agency or consultant across various industries to help you make the best decision for your organization. It’s important to note that the fees detailed below are averages and may vary depending on who you talk to and the scope and length of the engagement.

1. Marketing

According to our survey, the average minimum cost to hire a marketing agency for a project in 2023 is $9,284. Marketing consultants provide expertise in branding, social media, content creation, and other strategies to help organizations reach their target audiences and increase visibility. This investment can help nonprofits create and implement effective marketing strategies that boost visibility, engagement, and fundraising efforts.

According to other sources, this estimate is in line with the cost of hiring a marketing agency for about two to three months.

2. Strategic Planning

For strategic planning services, the average minimum cost is $4,418. These consultants help nonprofits and other organizations develop long-term plans and goals, evaluate current strategies, and identify areas for improvement.

This number is on the lower end of what it would cost to hire someone, especially for a more prolonged engagement. In our experience, you should be prepared to pay at least $10,000 for a qualified consultant to support a comprehensive strategic planning process.

3. Development & Fundraising

The average minimum cost for development and fundraising consulting is $6,441. These consultants specialize in helping nonprofits raise funds through various channels, including grants, events, and individual giving campaigns. Different fundraising consultants have other structures for how they charge, which Philanthropy News Digest goes into great detail about.

4. Advertising

Advertising agencies have an average minimum cost of $11,760. They develop and execute paid ad campaigns across various platforms, such as Google Ads, social media, and print media, to promote an organization's mission and raise awareness.

Investing in an advertising agency can significantly improve your nonprofit's brand awareness and outreach efforts. This amount includes working and non-working dollars, meaning that part of this budget would go to the actual ad spend, and the remainder would pay for the agency’s time.

5. Website Development

An engaging and user-friendly website is essential for nonprofits. Websites are one of the most challenging categories to estimate because a website can cost you $100 or it can cost you $100,000, depending on how much work is needed.

According to web agencies on Prosal, the average minimum cost for website development services is $10,562. These agencies design, develop, and maintain websites that effectively communicate an organization's message and engage users.

6. Finance & Accounting

Finance and accounting consultants can be invaluable for nonprofits seeking expert financial guidance. This guidance usually increases with how much revenue your organization is bringing in.

However, with an average minimum cost of $3,000, these consultants can provide strategic financial management, budgeting, and reporting services that ensure organizational stability.

7. Coaching

Coaching services can help nonprofit leaders develop their skills and navigate challenges. These consultants work with nonprofit leaders and staff to improve their skills, communication, and effectiveness. Services often focus on personal growth, effective communication, and leadership development.

These services have an average minimum cost of $1,159, similar to what other surveys have found in executive coaching pricing.

8. Event Planning

Well-executed events can raise awareness, funds, and support for your nonprofit. The average minimum cost for hiring an event planning agency is $2,121. Event planning consultants help organizations plan and ensure successful fundraising events, conferences, and other gatherings.

9. Board Facilitation

Effective board facilitation is essential for successful nonprofits. At an average minimum cost of $2,105, board facilitation consultants can help improve board governance, communication, and decision-making processes.

This average would be in line with what is offered to a small to medium-sized organization, but as we’ve stressed before, costs can vary with the size of the organization and the scope of the engagement.

10. DEIJ & Racial Justice

With a growing focus on diversity, equity, inclusion, and justice (DEIJ), hiring DEIJ and racial justice consultants has become crucial for many nonprofits. The average minimum cost for these consultants is $2,105, providing essential guidance on creating inclusive and equitable organizations.

11. Communications

Communication is a wide-ranging field that can include crisis communications, public relations, media relations, and internal communications. We found that the average minimum cost for communications consulting is $5,236.

This field, in particular, is one popularized by hourly rates, so you can expect that this budget will help you find someone for one to four weeks, depending on the number of hours you’re asking them to put in.

12. Government Affairs & Lobbying

Engaging with government affairs and lobbying consultants can help your nonprofit navigate complex legislative and regulatory landscapes. With an average minimum cost of $5,500, usually as a monthly retainer, these experts can advocate for your organization's interests and influence policy.

If you’re a larger organization or sending someone to lobby for a major issue over a long period, you should expect to pay more.

13. Research & Policy Analysis

Policy analysis services have an average minimum cost of $27,400. These consultants provide in-depth research and analysis of public policies and their impact on nonprofit organizations.

With an average minimum cost of $27,400, policy analysis consultants can provide nonprofits with crucial insights into the implications of various policies and regulations on their operations and objectives.

14. Data Analysis

Data-driven decision-making can significantly improve your nonprofit's impact. The average minimum cost for data analysis consulting is $10,553. Data analysis consultants help nonprofits collect, analyze, and interpret data to inform strategic decisions and improve operations.

Small-mid-sized companies can expect to spend between $10,000 to $100,000 yearly for data analytics. The amount you will pay depends on the number of employees and your business needs. However, companies should set aside approximately 2-6% of their total budget for data analytics.

15. Organizational Development

For organizational development services, the average minimum cost is $3,396. These consultants assist nonprofits in improving their internal processes, team dynamics, and overall organizational effectiveness.

Conclusion

The cost of hiring a consultant or agency varies depending on the specific service needed. It is crucial to remember that these figures are estimates and averages, and they will vary based on who you are talking to, what type of project you are looking to staff, and how long the project will take.

For additional information and resources on this topic, check out the resources below:

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Alfredo Ramirez

Alfredo is the COO and Co-Founder of Prosal. He has over ten years of experience working in the nonprofit industry and previously founded a successful digital strategies business, winning over $2 million in RFPs throughout his career. He is an avid mountain biker and snowboarder and enjoys anything that takes him outdoors.

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