Once your board has discussed the project needs and desired skills you seek, it helps to draft an informal "job description" for your consultant-to-be. Job descriptions describe the consultant's role and eligibility, and give candidates a clear idea on what your foundation wants to accomplish.
Then, identify a number pf potential consultants to interview. Most small foundations identify consultants through colleagues or word of mouth, or by asking membership associations. (To find member-nominated consultants, search the Exponent Philanthropy Directory of Foundation and Philanthropy Advisors.)
Then begin screening potential candidates by finding out if they would be a good fit for your needs.
Once you’ve narrowed down your pool to a few choices, meet with the consultants in person. Make sure you (or whoever the consultant will be reporting to) are comfortable with the person(s) you may hire. And no matter how confident you are of your favorite candidate, it is always a good idea to check references.
When it comes to drafting a contract, some consultants will work on a simple letter of agreement, others will want detailed contracts. Contracts often include a description of services to be performed, costs, timetables, reporting requirements and processes for changing the scope or any other elements of the contract. It may be a good idea to have your lawyer look over the contract.