Frequently Asked Questions
How do you structure your fees?
We can offer rates to suit any client and have successfully assisted many organizations operating under fixed budgets. We can structure fees by the hour, by the day or half-day, or by the project. In our experience, however, most clients prefer a fixed-fee rate or a project rate because the total cost of the contract is known in advance.
This is very common. Under a fixed-fee arrangement, we estimate how many hours the project will take and multiply this by an hourly rate to arrive at a total cost for the project. This generates a not-to-exceed estimate so that clients know the amount that they need to budget for the project. Activities that fall outside the scope of the contract and that were not agreed upon usually require an additional contract.
Project rates are determined by the kind and amount of services that are needed and the timeframe in which the work must be completed. Under this arrangement, a portion of the amount is due upon signing the contract or within a specified time (e.g., within 30 days) that is agreed upon by both parties. A payment structure and timeline for the remainder of the project is negotiated with the client before the contract is signed. The difference between this and a fixed-fee arrangement is that an hourly rate is not used or specified.
There are other possibilities as well, and occasionally a combination of different pricing structures is used. Because we are not a large organization or university, we can keep our rates flexible and low.
We never charge for an initial consultation, so please contact us if you would like to discuss your project.
We have a fixed budget for the evaluation, but I don’t know if it’s enough. Can you help?
Yes. In fact, most of our work has been conducted this way. Many of our clients have come to us with a budget already set aside for evaluation -- for example, one that was written into a proposal they were awarded -- and asked us to tailor an evaluation plan that (1) does not exceed that amount, (2) satisfies their funders’ requirements, and (3) provides their agency with information they can use.
Where are you based?
Nexus Consulting is based in Laguna Niguel in Orange County, California.
My agency is writing a grant. When should I bring in a consultant?
The earlier, the better. If you are writing a grant, a consultant can help you develop an evaluation and data collection plan and, ultimately, help strengthen your proposal and increase your chances of getting funded.
What is evaluation?
Evaluation involves the systematic gathering of information to help you make judgments about, improve, and/or inform future programming. Many funding organizations recommend or require evaluation to identify best practices and to help agencies continuously improve their services. My funder already hired an external evaluation agency to look at our services. Why would I want another evaluator?
Some funding agencies may contract with an evaluation firm to act as external evaluators, but they may only look at a few aspects of your program--often not the ones you want to examine. More importantly, these evaluations are typically conducted for the funder's benefit, not yours. The focus of these evaluations is rarely on program improvement, so the results may not help you serve your clients better. A consultant that you hire is working for you.