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What to consider before hiring a fundraising consultant

May 06, 2022
This fundraising consultant is talking to a nonprofit professional.

The thought of hiring a fundraising consultant has probably crossed your mind. After all, who better to help bring in revenue than a team of highly skilled fundraising professionals?

Fundraising consultants can help you refresh your nonprofit organization’s strategy and suggest ways to make giving more convenient for donors. For instance, a consultant can help you find software that will improve your fundraising efforts

However, there is much to consider before hiring a consultant. To help your nonprofit find the right consultant for your next fundraiser, this guide will walk through a few essential considerations.

Is hiring a fundraising consultant worth the investment?

Hiring a consultant is an investment, and your nonprofit should be sure your chosen consultant will help you earn enough to more than make up their fees. Any decision about spending should begin with careful evaluation.

Not every nonprofit is in a place where hiring a consultant will be valuable. You can determine if working with a fundraising consultant will be worthwhile for your nonprofit by answering questions like:

  • What are my nonprofit’s fundraising goals?
  • How much money does my nonprofit hope to raise, and how many donors do we expect to have?
  • What is the most effective and realistic use of our resources?
  • Do our projects need to be completed by a consultant, or can they easily be done by someone our organization is already employing?
  • Do we have the skills necessary to ensure fundraising success?

Your answers to these questions will boil down to three criteria for hiring a consultant: the resources to pay the consultant’s fees, projects that will benefit from a consultant’s expertise, and a need to seek external help. If your nonprofit meets all three of these points, then hiring a consultant will likely be the right choice for your organization. 

Should my nonprofit hire an external consultant or rely on in-house expertise?

There are pros and cons to both hiring a professional fundraising consultant and relying on in-house expertise. Consultants are highly experienced in what works in your field and can help craft a fundraising plan that guarantees results across your websiteemailsocial media, and other platforms. But their expertise can be expensive. 

The argument for utilizing your in-house expertise is simple: you save money. If someone already at your nonprofit can get the job done, there’s no need to bring in an external consultant. For example, having an in-house creative team that focuses on fundraising can save you money on marketing costs. 

However, saving money only matters if your team is able to produce the results you need. If your internal team lacks the time, skill set, or resources to develop high-quality campaigns that engage donors, then you might want to consider consulting companies. Weigh your options to decide if the upfront cost of hiring a consultant will be worth it in the long run. 

Should my nonprofit hire a local or remote fundraising consultant?

If you’ve decided hiring a consultant is the right choice, you have one more big decision to make before diving into your consulting research: Do you want to hire a local or remote professional? 

Each choice has its advantages and disadvantages. To illustrate those factors, imagine that your organization is headquartered in Detroit, Michigan. A consulting firm that’s located nearby is most likely familiar with your organization and has plenty of connections in the city to help you raise more money for your cause.

However, while Detroit is a big city and likely has multiple consultants to choose from, nonprofits located in smaller communities may have more limited options if they stick to local consultants only. Additionally, remote consultants can give you a fresh outlook on fundraising that may inspire you to consider your organization's strategy in a different way.

Ultimately, deciding on a local or remote consultant depends on your organization’s needs and resources. Make sure the fundraising consultant route is really for you, and ensure you have a clear vision of what hiring a consultant will accomplish. After all, a consultant can only deliver results if you know what results you expect to see!

Find the right consultant for your nonprofit

Once you’ve decided that hiring a fundraising consultant is the right choice for you, it’s time to start researching your options. Ask nonprofits in your field for recommendations or continue your search online using referral lists from trusted organizations. From there, you’ll be able to start reaching out to consultants and find the best potential fundraising partner. 

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