Part 2: Does Your Fundraising Program Need a Personal Trainer?
Last week, I wrote about times when hiring outside counsel could benefit your fundraising program. Much like a personal trainer can help you get your workout on track, a "personal trainer" for your fundraising program can help you stretch beyond your comfort zone and increase the probability of success.
But bringing an outside consultant to the table isn't always the right decision. Following are a few times you may not want to hire a personal trainer for your fundraising program.
Internal problems are causing fundraising failure
Even when you work out with a personal trainer, you still need to eat a healthy diet. An hour with a personal trainer a few days a week won't negate your daily 10,000 calorie diet of chocolate and pizza.
It's the same with hiring a consultant for your fundraising program. He or she, no matter how smart and talented, will never be as successful if internal issues are holding your fundraising back. If your executive director won't talk to major donors, if your board won't contribute, and if your receipting and donor management system is in shambles, you need to consider solving those problems before (or at least in conjunction with) hiring a personal trainer for your fundraising program.
You want to abdicate all responsibility
Maybe you're tired of being shot down, or just plain tired. Hiring a consultant may sound like a good way to let someone else take the heat for a while. Or maybe you think your stubborn CEO or dysfunctional board will listen better to a new face at the table.
There's nothing wrong with having your consultant share in presentations and help you prepare recommendations. But you are the employee; you are still responsible. Giving a consultant a blank check is risky for your nonprofit — and a disservice to your employer.
Pamela consults with nonprofits, helping them develop their fundraising strategy and writing copy to achieve their goals. Additionally, she teaches fundraising at two universities, hoping to inspire the next generation of fundraisers to be passionate about the profession. Previously, Pamela led the fundraising programs for nonprofit organizations. Pamela is a member of the Advisory Panel for Rogare, the fundraising think tank at Plymouth University’s Hartsook Centre for Sustainable Philanthropy, a CFRE, a graduate of Wheaton College (IL) and Dominican University, and holds a Doctorate in Business Administration from California Southern University. Contact Pamela at firstname.lastname@example.org or follow her on Twitter at @pjbarden.