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You are here: Home > Resources & Articles > Why Use A Consultant?

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Involving professional fundraising counsel in your campaign will always seem at first to be an expensive proposition. Keep this important decision in perspective by focusing on outcomes.

A consultant brings skills and expertise that may be lacking in your organization. Counsel can be used on a short-term basis to teach staff, or on an as-needed basis to work with the board. The consultant-as-coach can be a useful model for developing a knowledge base of fundraising principles and techniques. Long-term relationships build trust and dependable results.

While there are fundraising principles that hold true in almost every instance, fundraising is a relationship-based art not a by-the-book science. Having worked through various situations with a variety of people and needs, your consultant brings a range of options to draw on in order to achieve an objective.

Counsel brings both authority and integrity to your fundraising needs. Free to observe organizational dynamics, a consultant tells the truth about your situation and what campaign victory will require. S/he is a messenger who is concerned not with popularity but with your success.

It is natural for staff and volunteers to become emotionally attached to their organizations in ways that sometimes make it difficult to evaluate challenging situations and make good choices. To help you view your organization from the perspective of a potential donor, counsel will diagnose problems and assess strengths and weaknesses.


When staff are consumed with completing daily tasks, counsel can consider the overall strategy. Remaining focused on long-term objectives is a challenge for every organization. Your consultant will assist in developing clear, coordinated plans for fundraising that identify tasks, timelines, and responsibility.

When you pay a consultant you can expect that things will happen. Onsite meetings that are scheduled with a consultant have an urgency to them. Staff and volunteers are conscientious about completing assignments. The consultant keeps organization attention focused on actions that will accomplish goals. S/he will ask the hard questions that others within the organization may be hesitant to push.

A consultant working with development staff generally produces greater results. A study of fundraising by Catholic schools published by Rev. John A. Flynn and Dr. Larry A. Thompson showed that those employing both a development director and a consultant raised 2.6 times more than schools with a development director only.

(This article was inspired by Partners in Philanthropy)

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