On March 23 and 24, EUConsult, the association of high-profile consultants of the European Third Sector, organized a series of meetings in Brussels with the aim of both increasing partnerships with public and private institutions, and broadening the discussion on relationships between consultants and clients. There were also scheduled meetings with various members of the European Economics and Social Committee and the Committee of Regions.
During the two days, many words characterized the events organized by EUConsult: social economy, civil society, third sector, consultant, challenges, policy, membership, European Union, partnership, connection, skills, communication, training, market, fundraising, funding, voluntary, foundation, solution, consultant, philanthropy, network, lobby, advocacy, digital innovation, and of course, future.
The study visit in Belgium strengthened my conviction that it is impossible to be a complete consultant in the Third Sector if one is absent or not “contaminated” by the European scenario.
A careful comparative analysis of the different markets of the European Community can allow the consultant to better understand some dynamics. For example, different strategies in fundraising actions give different results in different contexts. The use of the credit card, now a widespread system for donating in countries such as Germany, France, or the Netherlands, will change the situation in other European Union countries in the future. To understand what will happen and how best to prepare, looking at European examples can make the difference both for the consultant and for the third sector organizations.
Third-sector consultants should be more connected to European ones, as happens in many sectors of the profit world. There is no lack of representation of the interests of many categories in Brussels, but there is almost no trace of third-sector consultants.
It must be said that building networks takes time and investment. The term “investment” often scares people, but I don’t think it’s possible to do otherwise if you want to aim for professional growth.
For over thirty-two years, EUConsult has been faithful to its mission of providing a forum for consultants to the not-for-profit sector, encouraging and stimulating ethical and professional behavior, collaboration, and developing the technical and business skills of its members.
Its founders understood that the third sector has a strategic role in the development of a country, which is why trained and upskilled consultants were and are always needed. Even if they are not members, anyone who works as a consultant in the non-profit world has a duty to be part of Europe by sharing and contaminating their job with other European consultants. Otherwise, it makes no sense to belong to a community of over seven hundred and forty million citizens, sharing common currency, laws, civil rights, and transportation, and complain about being only the financial supporters.