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BlogWhen Should I Hire a Fundraising Consultant?

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When Should I Hire a Fundraising Consultant?

Your nonprofit organization needs to raise more money than in previous fiscal years. If the need is short-term or project-specific, hiring a fundraising consultant is the route to pursue. Assessing your organization’s needs and readiness is crucial to maximizing this significant decision and investment.

Below are some situations where hiring a fundraising consultant rather than utilizing a staff person makes sense for your development team:

Build an infrastructure for your nonprofit

Fundraising consultant shaking hands with client.A change in focus from a strategic plan, modification of services or staff transitions may warrant the need to look at your fundraising operations to see if current fundraising activities can sustain your need to support your nonprofit’s operations. An outside consultant can provide an unbiased view and can assist in finding solutions for your fundraising program through a development office audit or assessment. How is your organization raising funds? How can you expand? Do you have updated policies and procedures for accepting gifts such as in-kind, stock, real estate, etc.? Who are your prospects and how are you reaching them?

In the event you have a key person from your leadership or fundraising team leave to pursue other endeavors, you may want to reevaluate the needs for the position and pursue candidates with skill sets that will help advance your mission. You don’t want to feel rushed to fill a position so fundraising activities can continue. A development office assessment can help you determine what skill sets are needed for your fundraising staff to help advance your mission and strategic initiatives. A consultant can also help with drafting job descriptions, suggesting a department structure and filling in the gap to perform fundraising activities in between a new hire starting at your organization.

Expand reach through state fundraising registrations

Is your nonprofit expanding its geographic reach and looking to expand your donor prospects in other states outside of your current headquarters? Nonprofits need to register to fundraise in each state of the U.S. to solicit donations or organizations may be subject to fines. Every U.S. state has its process, timing and fees to register. Enlisting a consultant to manage your fundraising registrations will ensure you are eligible to solicit funds outside of your current state.

Launch a capital campaign

Organizations that need to raise a large amount of funds for a capital campaign should also consider help from a fundraising consultant. Many nonprofits have never conducted a capital campaign before. If they have, there have likely been leadership changes since the last campaign or development staff that have never been involved in a campaign. A fundraising consultant can conduct a feasibility study, build a campaign plan, organize your campaign volunteer structure and provide marketing tools and strategies for implementing a campaign. Your development team can work alongside the fundraising consultant during a campaign and benefit from a consultant’s experience in capital campaign work.

Train staff and volunteers

Do you have employees, volunteers and board members who are new to fundraising or could use a refresher on how to fundraise? A fundraising consultant can provide fundraising training, whether in making gift asks or sharing ways to support others within the organization’s fundraising efforts.

Grant writing

You may have an opportunity to apply for a large grant, but does your team have the expertise to craft a compelling narrative for your grant application or the capacity to administer the grant once funded? Particularly for large or federal grant opportunities, you may want to consider an experienced grant writer who has a track record of grant writing success.

Prospect research

Software to conduct wealth screening or find prospective donors can be expensive. For nonprofits with a small development office budget, consider reaching out to a fundraising consultant with the capabilities to perform a wealth screen or identify potential giving prospects. A fundraising consultant can conduct a search of your prospects and help determine your approach for most effectively reaching your target audiences without the long-term software investment that may not get utilized to its full potential.

Does your nonprofit have a future fundraising need? Hiring a fundraising consultant may benefit your nonprofit’s development at various stages. Contact AMPERAGE Marketing & Fundraising or call 877.932.3279 for more information.

Written by:

Melissa provides fundraising counsel for AMPERAGE’s nonprofit clients, leading feasibility studies and providing solutions that drive successful fundraising campaign results. A Certified Fund Raising Executive (CFRE), she uses her experience and extensive skill set to continually advance her fundraising practices and develop campaign-specific strategies, materials and training to help clients reach their campaign goals and advance their mission. Melissa has vast experience working in the nonprofit sector, having served in development and leadership roles with Sisters of Mercy and the Alzheimer’s Association. In addition, she has served as a volunteer and board member with local nonprofits, such as the Catherine McAuley Center. Faith-based organizations and causes are of particular interest to Melissa. Melissa moves the needle by always looking for new opportunities and ways to improve professionally. She is currently president of the Eastern Iowa Planned Giving Council and a past president of the Association of Fundraising Professionals-Eastern Iowa Chapter. Melissa holds a Master of Strategic Leadership degree from Mount Mercy University. This busy professional, wife and mother enjoys sports and live music in her free time. A fan of Cubs baseball and Iowa Hawkeye football, Melissa and family enjoy football tailgating, where she’s known for her breakfast burritos. She enjoys the local band scene but says a Foo Fighters concert is her all-time favorite.