I often speak with social enterprise leaders like you about how you would like to improve your business. I know you have a lot of ideas, and when you realize there's a project that will increase your social impact and increase your access revenue or funding, you feel the urgency to get it done.
But I can understand the question that comes up: Should we implement the project completely in-house, or do we need some external support to help us with this project?
Like many other social enterprise leaders, you need to balance your budget with how much time you realistically think you, or you and other key staff can dedicate to the project. I can understand this balance, and I know you're the only one who can really decide what is best for your business.
There are three ways you could implement your project: completely internally, completely externally (with internal support), or a balance of the two.
Based on my own experience with other organizations, I've got a few recommendations about how you can decide which kind of implementation is best for you:
Key question: Does your team have a lot of time or a little time to devote to a project?
You intuitively know whether your team has the time for a large internal project or not. You might be finding it hard to get to tasks that are important for your business until something is on fire. If that's the case, it might be a sign that you need some external support for the project.
Key question: Does your team currently have the content and/or process expertise required to execute the project?
For some projects, you'll have all you need in-house. Even so, gaining some insight from someone externally may be wise. Or you may have confidence that your staff has the interest and ability to gain the new skills and knowledge they need to really knock this project out of the park. This needs to be weighed against the amount of time each team member has available.
3. PROJECT MANAGEMENT SKILLS
Key question: Does your team currently have the organizational and project management skills to execute the project efficiently?
Your team might not have a lot of extra time for a project, but that might be because they have a lot on their plate, or it might mean they need some extra help getting more organized. Project management skills can be developed (see this list of tips on how to better manage your projects). But if there's a project that you really want to execute quickly, having some external support to help you get it done could be worthwhile.
PUT IT TOGETHER
The different combinations of these factors are what can help you decide what kind of implementation you should consider. I've created this quiz to help you really quickly uncover which option will be best for you. Here's a quick overview, but more information is provided through the quiz.
External Project Management and Implementation
This option is best if you don't have the time and expertise you need to complete the project. The cost of the project could also vary. I've worked with clients on projects that are implemented in multiple phases that spread out the cost, and allow the team to do more or less work on the project depending on the season they're in.
Internal Project Management and Implementation
This option is best if you have the time, the expertise (or the time to develop it), and the project management skills you need for effective implementation. If you don't have the project management skills that you need, the project can cost more (in terms of staff time, opportunity cost, etc) than going the external route.
Hybrid Project Type: Project Coaching for Social Impact
When you have the time, but you either don't have the internal expertise or the organizational/project management skills (or both), you can still implement that important project. I created the Project Coaching for Social Impact service for people exactly like you.
Project Coaching for Social Impact provides you with weekly project coaching to help you and your team stay on target and organized, and also provides you with social impact expertise that you may not have on staff. It also is more affordable than external project management and implementation and can save your business money by helping your staff to be more efficient and effective with the time they do have.
If you'd like to learn more about Project Coaching for Social Impact, you can sign up for a complimentary consultation here to find out if it might be right for you.