4 Ways a Fundraising Consultant Can Benefit Your Campaign
Fundraising is the backbone of every nonprofit organization. While your organization may be able to handle the day-to-day work of raising money, outside help can immensely benefit larger, more complicated fundraising campaigns. Before you dive headfirst into to your next campaign, consider hiring a fundraising consultant for your organization. Consultants aren’t just a luxury for large nonprofits; their guidance is important for the fundraising campaigns of small to mid-sized organizations as well.
The work of fundraising consultants can help to strengthen your current fundraising campaign as well as prepare for future campaigns to raise more money. Fundraising consultants can help your organization:
- Conduct a feasibility study.
- Assess your fundraising campaign strategy.
- Find prospective donors.
- Strengthen your internal fundraising team.
If you want to learn more about hiring a fundraising consultant, read through Aly Sterling Philanthropy’s hiring guide. Let’s jump in to see what hiring a consultant can do for you!
1. Conduct a Feasibility Study.
Feasibility studies are standard procedures that can help determine whether or not (or how) your organization should proceed with a fundraising campaign to support a specific large project.
As a third party and outside resources, consultants are ideally suited to meet with your stakeholders to get honest feedback about public perceptions of your organization as well as potential donors’ likelihood to give to or lead the campaign.
They can guide your feasibility study to answer questions regarding community and board support of the project, the size of the donor base in relation to the fundraising campaign goal, any concerning external factors and available resources to launch and promote the campaign.
After the study has been conducted, your consultant can interpret the data and help you determine next steps based on the information collected.
Nonprofit feasibility studies do more than just determine your readiness for a project, they are also useful tools for:
- Creating early awareness. Because key stakeholders are invited participate in feasibility studies, they are the first to learn of a potential campaign and its related project. Early inclusion gets people excited; and these are the people who will lead and champion your cause.
- Requesting feedback. Who is better to ask for feedback about a proposed project or campaign than the people closest to, and sometimes the most critical of, your organization? A feasibility study provides a great platform for discerning challenges and opportunities for your effort as well as the larger organization.
- Setting goals. Donor data can tell you a lot about potential giving, but donors themselves can tell you much more. Ask good questions and listen to the answers. Then use that information to refine your project’s budget and set overall fundraising goals.
Your major projects can be improved immensely when you work with a fundraising consultant to conduct a feasibility study for your next fundraising campaign.
2. Assess Your Fundraising Campaign Strategy.
What better way to make your current fundraising campaign a success than by studying up on your old campaigns? Your old fundraising campaigns show plenty of information about what fundraising strategies have been successful in the past and where there may be holes in your planning.
You probably have a management system that has helped keep track of information from each past campaign such as:
- Donor retention rate
- Returns on past investments
- Email click-through rates
- Success rates of past campaign goals
While it can be incredibly difficult to analyze and identify our own weaknesses in each of these areas, the outside opinion of a fundraising consultant brings fresh eyes to your organization and to your upcoming campaign.
Armed with accurate historical information, your fundraising consultant can help your organization formulate or revise your strategy for your upcoming campaign.
For instance, if you have experienced a repeated issue establishing effective online donation tactics for past fundraising campaigns, your consultant can first help identify the problem. Then, they can make suggestions about how to remedy it, such as investing in new software to encourage higher engagement rates.
Once these general gaps in past planning have been addressed, your fundraising consultant can turn their attention to your current campaign and develop an effective strategy. They can help develop an effective fundraising goal and gift range chart for the campaign, identifying the target number of gifts you need and the donation amounts necessary to reach your goal.
This chart and other campaign strategies developed with your fundraising consultant will guide your campaign to maximize your fundraising efforts.
3. Find Prospective Donors.
One key element of your campaign strategy (and on your gift range chart) is the identification of major prospects for various donation amounts. Your fundraising consultant can be a big help with this task.
Prospect research is an extensive undertaking to embark upon without the assistance of a professional. The identified prospects may include
- Individual donors
Your fundraising consultant will use your past data in addition to resources providing indicators such as wealth indicators, philanthropic indicators and demographic data to evaluate these prospective donors and their giving capacity. This information can be identified by reviewing historic supporter information and by using prospect research software like DonorSearch.
Profiles should be created for each of these prospects in your organization’s CRM in order to keep them organized. Don’t forget to clean up your CRM every now and again in order to eliminate any duplicate profiles and outdated information. This will make the job of finding major prospects that much easier for your fundraising consultant.
Once these prospects have been identified, your fundraising consultant can assist your organization even further by helping comb through the extensive list and narrow it down to the prospects who have the greatest demonstrated potential for giving and support for your cause.
4. Strengthen Your Internal Fundraising Team.
By strengthening your internal fundraising teams, your upcoming fundraising campaigns will see a boost in engagement and profitability. Choose a fundraising consultant who can provide training and related resources to strengthen the skills and focus of your team.
Many top nonprofit consulting firms offer training and opportunities to assist your team with skills such as:
- Fundraising relationships. Deepen your understanding of donors by learning more about how they think, why they give and how your nonprofit can raise more money through relationship-building.
- Board governance. Help your board members and executive staff learn more about the role of the board member and what it means to govern with a focus on fundraising.
Using fundraising and leadership training to create a “culture of philanthropy” in your organization will serve you well whether you’re engaged in a multi-million dollar campaign or conducting your annual appeal.
This is because training is professional development that serves as a confidence builder, improving the overall functionality your organization—as well as its fundraising program. A win-win for everyone!
If your nonprofit is ready to embark on a fundraising campaign, start researching fundraising consulting partners. You’ll be amazed at how much improvement you will see in your current and future fundraising efforts.Your next fundraiser could be even more effective if you hire a fundraising consultant! Check out these five benefits a consultant can bring to your campaign.