Finding an accurate count of fundraising consultants in the United States is tough, but I would guess that it is in the thousands. Of course there are the ‘big guys’ that most of us who have been in the fundraising trenches for a while have worked with or heard of. More prevalent are the many individuals out there who have hung their proverbial shingle as a sole proprietor.
Additionally, the AFP, Chronicle of Philanthropy, and Foundation Center offer training, articles and best practices on various forms of raising funds from individuals, foundations, corporations, and government agencies. It would seem that all of these available resources would allow most, if not all, non-profits to have high functioning, successful fundraising shops.
But as we all know, many don’t. Why?
For many non-profits, certain aspects of fundraising are a mystery. An organization can prepare a 50 page, in-depth proposal for funding a health clinic in Tanzania, but have no idea of how to ask their board members to make a personal contribution. And other organizations are so sexy that they receive thousands of small, unsolicited individual gifts, but view the foundation funding community as a foreign country -- one they want to visit one day, but not sure when.
And even if you follow the TED talks and musings of Dan Pallotta regularly, you might not even know how many donors you have in your database and if you are even communicating with them regularly.
So how do you translate all of this available information into actionable steps for your organization and unique mission?
The funny answer is: Probably with the help of a consultant! So as I hang my own shingle with over 15 years of fundraising experience, I am looking forward to helping organizations navigate the morass of fundraisingese that can overload us into a best practices coma, and provide guidance and solutions.
What has been your experience with fundraising consultants? Please leave a comment or email at firstname.lastname@example.org and follow me on twitter @jeffrey_gannon