What is technical assistance?
Technical assistance (TA) can be broadly defined as any specialized service or skill that a nonprofit does not possess within the organization, but which it may need in order to operate more effectively. Examples of technical assistance include:
- Grant writing and other forms of fundraising
- Strategic planning
- Marketing and communications
- Computer technology
- Legal and accounting services
Technical assistance providers and consultants are basically the same. They can work as individuals, for-profit consulting firms, or nonprofit organizations. How they deliver their services will vary greatly, in terms of cost, complexity and oversight. Some nonprofit technical assistance providers will offer free or low-cost services.
Powered by Pro Bono: The Nonprofits Step-by-Step Guide to Scoping, Securing, Managing, and Scaling Pro Bono Resources is Taproot Foundation's how-to guide for bringing capacity building resources into your nonprofit.
Beyond Cash Guide for Nonprofit Boards is a guide on how nonprofit boards can tap pro bono and in-kind resources, co-written by Taproot Foundation and BoardSource.
Where can I find technical assistance?
Foundation Center does not recommend or endorse individual consultants or firms. Below are some ways to find technical assistance:
- Our regional offices in Atlanta, Cleveland, New York, San Francisco, and Washington DC have lists of technical assistance providers in their cities.
- Contact your nearest Funding Information Network location. Some may maintain lists of local nonprofit consultants.
- Ask for recommendations from your nonprofit colleagues and peers.
- Post your request for recommendations to online forums, like Linkedin or membership organizations to which you belong.
- Contact your state's nonprofit association, which may provide consulting or referral services, as well as a list of local nonprofit consultants.
- Recruit volunteers who can provide the skills/services you need.
- Find colleges and universities that have nonprofit management programs or classes in the specialty you need, e.g., grant writing courses. Professors sometimes match students with local nonprofits to provide practical experience.
- Search the term "online directories of nonprofit consultants" on the Internet.
See also our related Knowledge Base articles:
- Where can I find "pro-bono" tax or legal assistance for my nonprofit organization?
- Where can I learn more about hiring a consultant?
- Should fundraisers be paid a fixed fee or a percentage of the money raised?
- Where can I learn more about recruiting and managing volunteers for my nonprofit?