Fundraising consultants are hired by large and small organizations to help with their campaigns. If you think your organization may benefit from working with a fundraising consultant, there are several things to consider:
What Is a Fundraising Consultant?
A fundraising consultant is an individual (or firm) whom your organization can contract with to run a fundraising campaign, capital campaign, or other campaign for you. The exception to this would be if your organization is investing a salary into a full- or part-time employee whose position is created expressly for fundraising, perhaps even grant development, should your organization have such a need.
A fundraising consultant can analyze your organization’s needs, suggest appropriate fundraisers, and/or conduct the entire campaign, including marketing your fundraiser.
Consultants do not partake in the actual fundraising; they simply direct the volunteers who carry out the fundraising efforts. Typically fundraising consultants are paid a fee for their work. The fee paid can be either be a flat rate or a percentage of the campaign’s profits (though this may raise ethical questions).
What Are the Advantages of Hiring a Fundraising Consultant?
Fundraising consultants are experts at raising funds; that is the number one advantage they have over lay-volunteers. In addition, your organization will benefit from:
* Unbiased, professional assessment
* Ability to set realistic goals
* Having an unbiased, professional assessment
* Being able to clearly set realistic goals
* Vast knowledge of fundraising options
* An experienced professional who can help volunteers make effective phone calls, draft letters, and more
* Streamlined volunteer assignments which promote efficiency
* Fewer mistakes which can translate into higher profits
* Fewer mistakes which may translate into higher profits
* Well-designed campaign materials
* Targeted marketing techniques
* Skilled negotiations with product or service suppliers
* Educational direction that can be passed on after the consultancy has ended
* Education and direction that can be passed on after the consultancy has ended
What to Consider When Hiring a Fundraising Consultant
Be aware that your fundraising consultant will be quite visible to donors, group members, and companies involved in the fundraising campaign. Your consultant will be a face for your organization – hire accordingly.
When choosing the right consultant for your group, take several factors into consideration:
* What size, type, and scope of fundraiser can the consultant handle?
* Does the consultant have a good reputation (talk to references and other groups)?
* What ideas do they have for your group? Do they have suggestions for your specific situation? (For ex., what if your main supporters aren’t giving at the rate you have counted on?)
* Can they back up their claims with financial data from past campaigns?
* Is the consultant insured or bonded?
* Does the consultant check out with state, federal, or better business agencies?
* What is the bid on the job?
Of course, your first concern is whether a consultant is really needed or financially feasible: On the one hand, a consultant will cost you a portion of your proceeds, but on the other, a failed fundraising campaign may not earn you anything at all. Decide if your group can handle the task ahead. If your situation indicates that you can make money by spending money, hiring a fundraising professional may be just right for your group!