When you think of working with someone “on retainer,” what comes to mind? Typically, people may think of lawyers. But any consultant can be employed on a retainer contract. (In other words, someone a client hires to perform services on a regular basis for a flat monthly or quarterly fee.)
If you’re working with a digital marketing consultant, it may benefit your organization to work with someone on a longer-term basis to:
- regularly produce content,
- evaluate your social media efforts, or
- purchase digital advertising.
Initially, an organization might bring a digital consultant in to work on a specific project or to perform specific tasks, such as uploading content to various social media channels. However, this approach may limit what you as a client can receive help with. For example, what happens if you determine — after the work begins — your consultant’s energies should be focused elsewhere? Or, how about this scenario: another matter arises that needs attention. In both cases, a consultant working on a per-project basis cannot work on it without possibly drawing up an entirely new contract or addendum. Working with a consultant on retainer provides flexibility so your organization can address whatever issues may develop.
Big Picture Thinking
Ideally, your organization’s digital marketing efforts are strategically integrated into other areas, including traditional marketing, communications, and fundraising. With the flexible nature of a retainer contract, a consultant can work on several projects over a contracted time period. What’s more? They can design these projects so they support the overall goals of the organization.
Peace of Mind – AKA, No Surprise Fees!
If there’s one area — other than actual service provision — that might worry nonprofits, it’s establishing and keeping to the budget. Compared to someone with an hourly rate, using a consultant on retainer should make budgeting easier and be more cost-effective for an organization’s bottom line. Plus, a recurring, flat fee means no worrying about how potential hiccups (and there are usually hiccups!) could affect costs.
Getting to Know You
Would you like your digital marketing consultant you work with to deeply understand you, your department, or the overall work of your organization? If these things are important to you, consider hiring a consultant on retainer. By working with you for a longer duration, they can get to know you and other staff members personally. They can also learn more about the organization’s values, vision, and marketing approach. Not only are interpersonal relationships potentially improved, they also learn more about the outcomes of your work.
Measurable Return on Investment
A consultant can provide your organization with valuable feedback on outreach and content development strategies. Because their work takes place over a longer period of time, working with a digital marketing consultant on retainer enables you to establish baseline results. You can use these to consistently measure progress and outcomes.
All the work your organization does may not leave staff with much time to learn about digital marketing – even for those in marketing! However, a digital marketing consultant knows the industry intimately, and is constantly learning about:
- new platforms (or new updates to these platforms),
- the latest trends in the field,
- and the best ways to utilize these technologies to benefit your organization.
Basically, they eat, sleep and breathe digital marketing, and your organization reaps the benefits!
Ultimately, any kind of consultancy has its advantages. This is true whether you are working with a large firm on a one-time project, or regularly using the services of a smaller group. If you take time to:
- thoroughly analyze organizational needs,
- ask pertinent questions,
- run the numbers,
- and do the research …
You’ll be well on your way to finding a consultant who is a great fit with your nonprofit!