Hiring a grant consultant could be one of the smartest moves your nonprofit organization makes, according to The Non Profit Times. If deadlines for applications are more numerous than your staff members, enlisting outside expertise can help you effectively navigate short timelines, improve the quality of grant proposals and budget more effectively.

Consultants can save hours of time for internal staff by vetting funding opportunities, researching the priorities of foundations, thoroughly learning guidelines for each grant application and setting up meetings with funders. They can even draft proposals, effectively creating useful examples for future grant letters.

But hiring a freelance grant adviser will only be cost-effective if an organization first prepares a clear outline of what it needs, as well as a specific plan of action for those results. Grant management software can aid in building this initial strategy. Using notes stored in a CRM database in tandem with analytics software can identify the roadblocks that require a consultant’s help.

A grant expert will show you how to write careful, polished proposals without running out of time. It’s important to know that writing quality comprises only a small fraction of a successful grant proposal, noted fundraising coach Pamela Grow. The research behind the grant matters the most; without it, you can’t tailor your grant proposals to their readers. A consultant provides your nonprofit with more fact-finding hours.

Investigative efforts aren’t limited to those writing grant proposals. The foundations who receive your grant requests will also be researching you, so check your internet presence! Is your website up to date and easy to navigate? Have you optimized your social media? If you’re unsure of what establishes a good online persona, ask your fundraising consultant. He or she can also can also serve as an editor, combing over such details as the accuracy of your contacts page and whether your online donation button is easy to spot. While all of these things might already be on your to-do list, it’s often too simple to forget about them when  you’re in a time crunch.

There’s been a longstanding myth that nonprofit organizations should undertake the grant proposal process all on their own, noted Allison Porter, president of Avalon Consulting Group. But the truth is, a consultant can either pull you out of a grant writing rut, or prevent you from ever falling into one.

One thing a consultant can’t do is maintain your grant management software databases. However, an expert can help you more effectively organize notes in your CRM and analytics platforms, to better empower your organization for the future.