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The Unknown Benefits of Working With a Fundraising Consultant

Excellent consultants bring immediate and long-term value to their clients. This all starts with a clear, written scope of work with SMART goals to set expectations for both parties. For nonprofit fundraising consultants, this is even more critical, since dollars, missions, and clients are ultimately on the line. A written, shared understanding provides an obvious and easy way to track results on a regular basis, too. Yet it’s what’s not in the scope that often creates incremental value well beyond actual dollars, revenue, or fundraising plans for nonprofit organizations.

It’s What’s NOT in the Scope that Sets the Best Fundraising Consultants Apart

We frequently ask for feedback from our clients and overwhelmingly hear in these surveys that they are pleased with our actual results relative to our scope. Years later, they are using our dashboards, revenue models, training modules, and best practices. But what is so fascinating are the other answers we also receive when we ask “What was the best thing about working with us?”

Our most recent survey told us that these things were as valuable or more valuable than the technical expertise we bring to the table:

“Energy, Fun, and Enthusiasm”

“A love of the art and science of fundraising itself”

“Thought partnership”

“Responsiveness”

“More confidence in my or my board’s ability to fundraise”

“Moral support and emotional validation

“Being a part of the larger community of clients of The Olympia Collective

And my favorite: “Someone to call when I need a lifeline”

We closed out on a long-term nonprofit client earlier this year because a full-time employee was hired, which was the entire intent of our engagement. I still remember our closeout meeting after the two-year scope was completed. The CEO looked at me directly and said, “Olympia, this is what I will miss.”

So, How Will You Know You Have the Right Fundraising Consultant?

No matter what, you should be sure that potential fundraising consultants you speak with always put everything in writing. Make sure the scope has SMART goals and becomes the format for your check in agendas. But beyond that, ask yourself if they are someone you could or would call in a professional emergency. And if you did, would they respond?

If you don’t know, find one of their current or former clients and ask them that same question. If the answer is crickets, regardless of whether or not the technical expertise is there, you may be missing an opportunity to change your nonprofit organization, and yourself, even more for the better.

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