So you want to hire a fundraising consultant. That’s great! Not only are fundraising consultants uniquely skilled at boosting donor dollars, they also provide a fresh and valuable perspective on your fundraising strategies overall.
It can be a very scary thought to put the power of fundraising for your organization in the hands of someone else. So before making any rash decisions, do your research and make sure you find the perfect fit.
In the videos below, Salsa’s VP of Strategy and Business Development, Blake Groves, gives a detailed (and very colorful) look at five important questions you should ask any potential fundraising consultants before you make your final choice.
1. Do you get that warm, fuzzy feeling?
No matter the circumstances, even the best client/consultant relationships are a delicate balance of give and take. At the end of the day, you want to make sure you’re working with a person or group of people whose opinions you value and respect...even if they’re different than your own. When you meet a potential consultant, don’t forget that all-important gut check: Does it feel right?
Do these people seem like the kind of people you would want to work with long term? Do they mirror the values of your organization? It may seem cheesy, but it can really save you a lot of grief in the long-run.
2. How do they handle change?
There’s no doubt about it. You know it’s going to happen - change.
So do NOT take a ‘wait and see’ approach. When interviewing consultants, ask how they deal with revisions, edits and unforeseen changes during the process. Is there an existing change order process or a standard way in which your request for edits should be sent over to their team? If so, what does it look like? Does it work for you?
3. Who’s doing the work?
Services work ultimately comes down to the people who are performing it. The person you were most in contact with before signing a contract with a particular consulting firm, may not be the contact who is assigned to you to carry out your project afterwards. It’s very important that you know who will ultimately be responsible for getting your work done. Where does the buck stop?
4. What are they measuring?
How is success measured? Before you even begin a project, make sure you and your consultant are fully aligned on your definition for success. This can be a tricky discussion, but if you don’t know where you’re going, how will you know when you get there?
5. What’s their track record?
Find a company that has experience in the problems you’re trying to solve. How can you best leverage their past work to advance your goals? Also, ask which area of fundraising they specialize in? Does this match up with your needs?
Bottom line: Do your research; don’t go into this completely cold. Be prepared to ask questions that are truly going to give you some accurate insight into whether this is a company you can work with long-term and can help give you practical fundraising solutions.
Special thanks to our fundraising partners, Charity Dynamics, PowerThru Consulting, and CDR Fundraising who helped us compile this list of questions.