You’ve got big goals for your nonprofit’s future. But you have a few questions and roadblocks in your way.
If this sounds like you, it might be time to consider hiring a fundraising consultant.
To help with the hiring, here’s a simple series of steps to follow when bringing on a fundraising consultant:
- Assess your current situation.
- Do your research.
- Take the leap.
You’ll be on track to hiring the best consultant for your organization in no time.
1. Assess your current situation.
First, spend time thinking about which services your organization will require.
Typically, fundraising consultants offer the following services:
- Fundraising solutions — Consultants can help your organization build stronger donor relationships and ultimately raise more money.
- Strategic planning — Consultants can help your organization align its goals with a plan of action through careful assessments.
- Executive search — Consultants can help your organization find the right development professional to suit your needs.
- Leadership training — Consultants can help you energize your board and develop strong leadership skills throughout your organization.
- Accounting and financial planning — Consultants can help you manage your fund accounting and plan out your budget.
Then, consider whether your nonprofit board is on board for bringing on that type of help. Since they’ll be the ones funding your project, you’ll need their approval!
The bottom line: Once you figure out if you’re ready for a fundraising consultant, the first step is to decide what services are going to be of most value.
2. Do your research.
You’ve gotten the go-ahead from your board, and you know what services you’re looking for.
Now it’s time to get down to business.
Your professional networks are great initial resources to turn to for advice and recommendations. Often, the top candidates are discovered via word-of-mouth.
Additionally, take a look at directories put forth by prominent professional or community organizations. Such listings will usually include successful consultants within your nonprofit’s focus.
Keep a few key considerations in mind as you research:
- What is this consultant’s founding philosophy?
- Is this consultant local or remote?
- Does this consultant have any specialty areas (and are they applicable to your needs)?
- Does this consultant have experience working with projects or organizations like yours?
- Can this consultant provide client testimonials and referrals?
- Will this consultant fit in with your nonprofit’s team and work environment?
Since a consultant can’t guarantee success (even though they can increase your chances!), hiring an experienced professional is one way to ensure a return on your investment.
Keeping these questions in mind will ensure you’re hiring the right person for your nonprofit while also getting the most bang for your buck.
Once you find a consultant you like, request a proposal that outlines the consultant’s process and approach to your project.
A good proposal should include:
- An understanding of your organization’s needs.
- Suggestions that seek to address your stated challenges.
- A projected or sample timeline.
- Estimated costs.
The bottom line: Leverage professional networks and connections to find consultant recommendations. Remember to keep your organization’s needs in mind as you research, and once you find a good fit, request a proposal.
3. Take the leap.
If everything checks out and you feel like you’ve found a good fit, go for it!
Review your consultant’s proposal and make any necessary tweaks. Cost consideration will be a key factor here. Then, work together to create a contract that will satisfy you both.
Make sure your contract includes:
- Clearly stated goals and objectives.
- The project’s time frame.
- A division of responsibilities and clearly outlined expectations.
- A detailed description of services the consultant will provide.
- Your consultant’s cost and how they will be paid.
- How success will be measured.
Once you’ve both signed, you’re free to begin work! Be sure to involve your consultant in all major decisions and prioritize regular communication. The better you communicate, the more likely your project will succeed!
The bottom line: Once you’ve found someone that feels right, design a comprehensive contract
and get to work!
There you have it! Follow these 3 simple steps to ensure that you’re hiring the best fundraising consultant possible to help your nonprofit reach its goals.
About the Author
Ryan Woroniecki is the Vice President of Strategic Partnerships at DonorSearch, a project research, screening, and analytics company that focuses on proven philanthropy. He has worked with hundreds of nonprofits and is a member of APRA-MD. When he isn’t working, he is an avid kickball player.