Consulting Services Grant Program

ACSO's Consulting Services Program provides affordable and professional consultations to member organizations to strengthen their organizational capacities.

Through generous support from the Clarence E. Heller Charitable Foundation, ACSO supports requests for professional consultants by member organizations in the areas of board development, organizational structure, diversity and inclusion work, fundraising, artistic planning, program development, marketing and audience development, financial management, and strategic/long range planning.
ACSO intends these consultancies to be a learning opportunity. The consultant should not do the organization's work and won't solve all of an organization's problems. Rather, the consultant’s role is to listen, teach, suggest, and help assess or diagnose their current situation and develop strategies to get on the road to resolving the root of any problems, not just the symptoms.

Members may use consultants recommended by ACSO, or research a consultant on their own. Consultants may provide the following services that include, but are not limited to:

  • On-site workshops or consultations in a specific area;
  • Facilitated assessment of the organization with board and staff;
  • Examination of an organization’s participation issues regarding audience, artists, and community engagement;
  • Facilitate a staff or board retreat;
  • Consultants may also be available for phone consultations.

Award Amount

Member organizations may request up to the maximum award of $2,500. Size and scope of the consultancy will determine the final award amount. Funds may only be used for consultant honoraria and there is no match required for this program.

How to Apply

  • Grants are available to member organizations on a first come, first served basis and are subject to approval and availability of funds.
  • Before applying, applicants MUST consult with ACSO staff on the current status of your organization and the type of assistance needed. To set that up, contact us at 800-495-2276 or [email protected].
  • After the consultation with ACSO, applicants may use the below link to fill out the online application form, which must be completed at least four weeks prior to the consultation date.
  • A final report (submitted via an online survey) must be turned in within 30 days of the completion of the consultation. Grant funds will be paid to the organization after the final report is submitted. Funding may be subject to cancellation if the final report is not received. 

Awards are made to the member organization receiving the consultation; it is the responsibility of the organization to pay the consultant. All consultants and organizations will be responsible for negotiating terms and fees with prospective clients. ACSO will not be involved in this process in any manner.

Per our agreement with the Clarence E. Heller Charitable Foundation, applicants must complete an online application to apply for the Consultant Services Program Grant.

Update as of July 10, 2019: Applications for FY19 have been closed as all the funding has been distributed. Funding for FY20 will open in late spring/early summer 2020.

You will be asked a series of questions about your organization, scope of the consultation, and a simple project budget. Once you begin the application, you will need to complete it in its entirety, as the portal will not allow you to save partially completed information or edit your response once it is complete.

If the Consultant Services Grant Program is closed, please contact ACSO staff with any technical assistance requests. ACSO staff members answer questions and provide assistance to members in a variety of areas, ranging from general management inquiries, audience development strategies, strengthening fundraising, and/or achieve operating efficiencies. Contact us at 800-495-2276 or [email protected].