Independent Consulting Topical Interest Group 2015 Decennial Survey: Findings for Member Communication Strategy Design
Session Number: 2454
Track: Independent Consulting
Session Type: Panel
Session Chair: Nicole Clark [Social Worker & Evaluator - Nicole Clark Consulting, LLC]
Discussant: Nicole Clark [Social Worker & Evaluator - Nicole Clark Consulting, LLC]
Presenter 1: Tania Jarosewich [Censeo Group]
Presenter 2: Matt Feldmann [Principal Researcher & Owner - Goshen Education Consulting, Inc.]
Presenter 3: Norma Martinez-Rubin, M.P.H., M.B.A. [Consultant - Evaluation Focused Consulting]
Time: Oct 28, 2016 (08:00 AM - 09:30 AM)
Abstract 1 Title: IC TIG 2015 Decennial Survey: Business Services & Development
Presentation Abstract 1:
IC TIG members provide a wide variety of services for many different kinds of clients while also working to develop new business opportunities. This presentation will summarize the responses of independent consultants to the questions on the 2015 IC TIG Independent Survey about the types of services they provide, including the geographical range of service delivery (e.g., local, regional, national, or international) and the types of organizations they serve. The majority of IC TIG survey respondents work with social service agencies, post-secondary educational institutions, PreK-12 school districts, and government entities. This presentation will also report on the types of activities in which IC TIG members engage to increase business and the effectiveness of those efforts, including networking, referrals, responding to requests to proposals (RFP), and marketing. By understanding how evaluation consultants approach business strategy, the IC TIG can better support members in improving business practices.
Abstract 2 Title: IC TIG 2015 Decennial Survey: Fees, Revenues and Firm Income
Presentation Abstract 2:
The Fees, Revenues, and Firm Income presentation will present and discuss member responses to questions concerning average fees charged, annual firm revenues, and firm income (revenue – expenses) for those IC TIG members who responded to the survey. Briefly, median fees charged was $100/hour, median firm revenue was $75,000 (though this varied greatly), and median net firm income was $55,000. The presentation will disaggregate these findings by demographics such as regional location, average hours worked by week, and number of years in practice. The presentation also will compare these data to the findings from the 1992 and 2004 IC TIG decennial surveys.
Abstract 3 Title: IC TIG 2015 Decennial Survey: Concerns & Interests
Presentation Abstract 3:
A subset of respondents (n=78), working 90-100% of their time as evaluation consultants, commonly reported struggles as practitioners with business responsibilities that exceed their capabilities. Business startup and ongoing operations such as marketing, project management, and generating new business were often reported struggles. Financial instability was a highly prevalent concern. Also, isolation and a lack of collegial support for thought partnership or delegation of project tasks was also reported. Uncertainty with recruitment of qualified contractors for large projects and work/life balance was a concern. In addition with building a client base, keeping up with the evaluation field, setting fees, and managing client expectations were mentioned as barriers to business startup. Despite these concerns, respondents were attracted to the autonomy, flexibility, self-reliance, absence of work politics, choice, and variety of evaluation projects often associated with running a business outside of the traditional employee structure. This presentation will share survey data on the specific concerns and interests expressed by survey respondents, and will conclude with a discussion about current and future development of IC TIG offerings for the collegial support and business-related information its membership desires.
Audience Level: All Audiences
In October 2015, The American Evaluation Association’s Independent Consulting Topical Interest Group conducted its decennial membership survey to gather current data on member demographics, business operations, types of clients and work, business success indicators, marketing, preferred evaluation methods, reasons for entering the consulting industry, and concerns and needs. What attracts members to independent consulting? How do members set hourly rates and find work? How do members tackle financial instability concerns? Do member needs differ based on location, years of experience, or full-time or part-time business status? The IC TIG 2015 survey committee will present the findings of this survey (including Demographics; Fees, Revenues and Firm Income; Business Services & Development, and Concerns & Interests), compare the findings to the 1992 and 2004 survey findings, and will provide recommendations for how IC TIG can leverage this information to meet the needs of its over nine hundred membership base.
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