So You Want to Be a Fundraising Consultant?
In my career I have worked or have known a very long list of fundraising consultants. These individuals come in various shapes and sizes. Some are very young in the profession while others proudly point to the color of their hair, which is code for "I am very experienced." Many consultants work for large firms and have specialized functions. Others are solo practitioners and have to be super generalists. In many cases, consultants have an interest area such as religion while others focus on an area such as Boys and Girls Clubs. If you ask consultants how they became one, their answers cover a spectrum. I find it interesting that many practitioners believe they can easily step from an institutional role to consultant role. What do you think the requirements are to be a good consultant?
Research shows that in order to be a fundraising consultant you should have at least a bachelor's degree. You should have width plus broad functional experience in all facets of the development department, from the front of the store to the back of the store. You should have volunteer experience with organizations like the Association of Fundraising Professionals. A Certified Fundraising Executive (CFRE) designation would be a plus with clients. One must be prepared to work with various types of clients and understand what techniques, culture and types of organizations provide different challenges. Is your personality flexible, and do you have the ability to understand and absorb research?
According to Silas Reed in "What it takes to be a Fundraising Consultant," a fundraising consultant works as an expert in the domain of understanding the specific concern of society to a particular fundraising drive and which specific group of society could be most involved with it. It is essential to know what inputs an individual needs to become a successful fundraising consultant. A good consultant should work on a long-range vision of his or her objective rather than just trying for an overnight success. He or she should be good at public relations and, of course, sales. The clients should be able to feel the confidence the consultant radiates with his experience and the knowledge to effectively guide the organizers to the success of a program.
Duke has extensive experience as a nonprofit practitioner, author, lecturer and consultant. He has been a contributing author to NonProfit PRO for the last 11 years. He has been a long-standing member of the Association of Fundraising Professionals where he was previously named the AFP Indiana Chapter Fundraising Executive of the Year and has held the CFRE designation for many years.
He received his doctorate degree from West Virginia University with an emphasis in education administration, master's degree from Marshall University with an emphasis in public administration and a bachelor's degree from West Virginia University with an emphasis in marketing/management. He has also completed post graduate work at the University of Louisville.
He is currently executive director of development for The Salvation Army Indiana Division in Indianapolis, Indiana. Contact Duke at firstname.lastname@example.org or 317-224-1029.