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November 17, 2022

What the Heck Is Social Justice Consulting?

You may be familiar with the consulting industry, which has been around for a long time. The world’s first modern consulting firms were founded in the late nineteenth century. Since the 1960s, with the growth of organizational theory and management practices in the information age, the number of consulting firms has increased exponentially around the globe. 

Under the big tent of consulting firms, there are a wide variety of services, including financial, legal, engineering, accounting, marketing, public relations, communications, and advertising. As the entire consulting industry becomes one of the most mature sectors in the professional services sector from the past decade or so, a new subfield has been burgeoning–social justice consulting. 

The Science of Doing Social Justice

According to organizational behavior theory, there are enduring structures within organizations that either enhance or impede efficiency. Like consultants in other subfields, social justice consultants are organizational behavior specialists who analyze these patterns and suggest improvements. Their ultimate goal is not necessarily efficiency or productivity, but alignment with the social justice mission of an organization.

Consulting services can be effective because there are methods and rules in the businesses they operate to support. In the world of social justice work, the same applies. For example, foundations and nonprofit organizations with social justice-oriented missions have to engage in organizational development, including the need to have communication strategies to broaden their impact. 

Social Justice Consulting Aims at Systemic Change

Social justice consulting is becoming a new niche market within the consulting industry because American society has been plagued with historical patterns of inequities that were made especially visible in recent years by a struggling democracy and the pandemic. More and more philanthropic organizations want to leverage their power in pushing for systemic change. 

What makes social justice consulting appealing is also what makes it challenging. Like moving needles, this work requires consultants to stay committed to the goal of social justice while carrying out day-to-day tasks. The North Star of social justice consulting is remaining accountable to oneself, ,  one’s client partners, and ultimately those whom our clients wish to serve. 

An Expansive, Inclusive, and Intersectional View of Justice

Social justice requires an expansive and intersectional understanding about how societies and groups of people ought to operate. Consultants understand that we cannot justify the ends by inequitable means. This is why social justice consultants should value equitable processes as much as they value the outcomes. 

The team culture of a social justice consulting firm also needs to stay true to its mission of justice. Not only do they need to understand the multifaceted nature of social justice to include racial, gender, religious, and other identities, consultants also need to live out these values. This is important for modeling a socially just community in front of client partners. 

At Converge, our mission is to accelerate the creation of a radically just new world where communities of color thrive. This informs both our external work with partners and our internal practice. Our values of radical imagination, agency, and collective action are shown in serving our client partners including philanthropic funders and nonprofit organizations. While not perfect, Converge strives to model our values while working together and with our clients.

As social justice consultants, we excel in strategy development that is informed by an intersectional lens of equity and justice. We have served clients in sectors such as philanthropy, education, climate, health equity, reproductive justice, and government. Our most recent client partners include the American Civil Liberties Union, the American Medical Association, the Funders for LGBTQ Issues, etc. 

Converge commits to social justice values. We also offer stellar organizational consulting expertise to help your organization align with the mission of justice. Contact us at [email protected]