Your organization has a worthy cause, your team is full of dedicated and passionate members, and together you’ve brainstormed where you want to take your nonprofit from here. But how can you get from point A to point B?
There are many different ways to revitalize your fundraising strategy to help you reach your goals, but one of the most individualized approaches you can take is hiring a fundraising consultant.
If your nonprofit is thinking about hiring one for your upcoming fundraising season, consider these five benefits that you’ll gain from including a consultant on your team:
- Unparalleled experience in nonprofit fundraising.
- A third-party perspective.
- Improved use of existing fundraising resources.
- A dedicated leader for your fundraising campaign.
- A proven blueprint for future fundraising efforts.
Read on to learn more about the advantages you’ll gain by including a fundraising consultant in your strategy for your next campaign.
When you’re searching for the right fundraising consultant to partner with, there are a lot of factors to keep in mind. Everything from fundraising consultant fees to how he or she meshes with your team needs to be carefully considered.
But if you’re selective with your choice, you could end up with a consultant who can offer your team unparalleled wisdom of experience.
To find the right consulting partner for your nonprofit, consider the following factors about your organization:
- Staff size
- Member or volunteer base
- Current fundraising capacity
If you’ve chosen well, your fundraising consultant has worked with other organizations similar to yours. Your consultant will be able to apply their previous successes with similar organizations to your nonprofit in order to optimize your fundraising strategy.
Think about your fundraising capacity, or the maximum amount of money you’ve raised in earlier campaigns. Your consultant will be able to analyze your past struggles and victories with you in order to eliminate unhelpful strategies, overcome barriers, and strengthen existing best practices.
When you’re picking a consultant, make sure to ask about their previous experiences with different sizes of constituent communities. Are they used to making the most of a small community, or leveraging a large group into all making small gifts so that an organization can reach their goal?
By choosing a consultant with an understanding of how to best motivate and mobilize a community of the size you have, you won’t need to waste time on strategies that will only work for other groups.
Remember to ask your potential consultant about their experience with taking on challenging tasks. You don’t want a fair-weather sailor; you’re looking for someone who will stick with your organization through thick and thin and help you pull ahead despite challenges or setbacks.
You may think that bringing a new person to your table may create issues with group cohesion or priorities, but never fear! Adding a fundraising consultant to the mix can actually improve group creativity and critical thinking.
Why is adding someone new a good thing? Fundraising consultants are:
- A new set of eyes to view old problems with.
- Unconnected to organizational politics or biases.
- Not trapped in “the way things are done”.
So what do these look like in practice?
Say you and your group have dealt with the same problem for ages: your contributors are very supportive during the winter, but tend to dry up in the spring. You’ve started to just plan around this ebb and flow, instead of striking at the root of the problem.
Your fundraising consultant might have just the thing to inspire your supporters to contribute more regularly through ideas that have worked for other groups, like new software or a fun new incentive.
A consultant, because her or she is outsider, isn’t entrenched in the organizational politics that sometimes hinder an organization’s growth. The consultant doesn’t know about any of the previous roadblocks or issues that have kept certain solutions from being considered.
This freedom will allow them to bring these solutions up in discussion, and can push for them from an unbiased external viewpoint.
Sometimes you and your team might ignore your own innovative ideas just because your current standard operating procedures are just fine. However, the issue here is that those solutions are just fine. They’re not groundbreaking.
Your consultant isn’t stuck in these habits, and therefore he or she will be able to help you break these bad habits and try new things for the betterment of your organization!
If you’re interested in seeing a breakdown of the hiring process for a fundraising consultant, check out Averill Fundraising Solutions’ fundraising consultant hiring guide. This is a great place to start if you want a more detailed list of what to look for.
Your fundraising consultant should be all about innovation, innovation, innovation! He or she is not going to be able to create something from nothing; instead, the consultant is going to help you create something better from what you’ve already achieved.
If you bring on a fundraising consultant, he or she can help you revitalize your contributor base by reaching out to untapped supporters and encouraging them with new fundraising techniques. There are endless ways to inspire your partners in giving to work harder for your organization.
A good fundraising consultant will bring new ideas to the table to optimize your recurring fundraising campaign tactics. Just a few of these new ideas include:
- Text-to-give campaigns, to make giving that much easier
- Peer-to-peer fundraising, to turn your volunteers into team members
- Gamification techniques, so that your contributors are engaged and energetic about raising money for your cause
Your fundraising consultant will be able to help you make the most of these techniques.
He or she will also be able to help you make the most of your supporters by getting their employers involved with giving, as well. Corporate philanthropy frequently goes underutilized, just because nonprofits or their members don’t know that these policies exist!
If you’ve never heard of matching gift policies, or you don’t know how to leverage them for your own gain, check out Double the Donation’s matching gift database to get started.
We know as well as you do that every member of your team is as busy as can be running your organization.
Your fundraising consultant is here to help. Their real-world expertise makes them the best person for the job to help carry out your campaign, and relieves the stress of asking someone with less experience to run one of the most important aspects of your organization’s operations.
Their knowledge of what works for other similar organizations can help on many levels, from advertising campaigns to choosing the best online giving tools for your goals.
Hiring a nonprofit consultant for your campaign has multiple benefits. Let’s take a look as just a few:
- Someone with experience can plan your campaign to ensure success.
- Someone with experience can direct your campaign from start to finish.
- Someone with experience can embed experienced fundraising staffers into your team.
These are just some examples of how your fundraising consultant’s experience can work for you and your organization. Their understanding of the ins and outs of running a fundraising campaign from the ground up will allow you and your staff to focus on doing what you do best.
Allowing your fundraising consultant to take the lead can free your mind to work on other issues, and their ability to delegate tasks to your team and their embedded staff will ensure that everything gets done, with nothing slipping through the cracks.
The presence of a fundraising consultant has long-term benefits for your organization as well as immediate gains. First, by building a relationship with your consultant, he or she gains insider knowledge of your organization and do even more good for you in the future.
Their expertise, once combined with the understanding of your day-to-day operations and individual challenges and advantages, gives them a unique understanding of what it takes to create a successful campaign for your organization.
Their presence in your organization and on your team also gives your staff the opportunity to learn from an expert. They can be trained in fundraising best practices by your consultant, which will allow them to use that knowledge in all aspects of their work.
Once your team learns from an expert, they carry that knowledge onward! The lessons that they’ve learned from your consultant can be used for anything from your next big holiday drive to planning next year’s annual fund campaign.
Using a fundraising consultant to build the best possible campaign for you has benefits for future campaigns as well. Because of their work with you analyzing previous campaigns, you can take those lessons and create a more successful template for future fundraising endeavors.
Finally, maintaining a relationship with your fundraising consultant can be a mutually beneficial, long-term relationship. While you may not need them for every single campaign, checking in with the consultant every so often can keep your organization on track for a long time.
Your organization will continue to grow, and your consultant will continue to learn from working with other nonprofits. An extended relationship only stands to benefit you both, as you continue to work with and learn from each other.
You may have thought that you didn’t need a fundraising consultant. That might even be true. But even if you don’t need one, you should definitely want one.
Whether your trouble areas are from not taking full advantage of the donors you have or because of systematic inertia, a fundraising consultant is just the thing to shift your nonprofit into a new gear.
By choosing one with previous experience with similar nonprofits and a willingness to work with you through any challenges that arise, you could take your organization to the next level.
What are you waiting for? Start searching for your perfect consultant today!