AFC Sessions 2021

Join Us at The Groucho Club and listen, learn, share & network while enjoying fizz and canapés.

Tickets are £35.00 – https://form.jotform.com/212621167656355

Please see below for further information on our guest speakers.

Saul Annett
Saul is Cause for Change’s founder and all-around tech nerd.
In his past life, Saul was a leader in the digital sector. He helped one start-up grow to become the largest digital UX agency in Europe. He has spent over a decade since applying his commercial experience in corporate fundraising and consultancy, before launching Cause for Change.

Leah Annett
Leah is Cause for Change’s creative director.
In her past life, Leah set up and ran commercial divisions specialising in creative brand partnerships. She has helped some of the world’s biggest brands (e.g. Carlsberg, LEGO, Amazon) create partnerships with heart and soul. Saul & Leah speech is titled – Nobody’s and everybody’s business – What our research with company leaders taught us about corporate partnerships. Insights to inform how you approach and work with business.

Chris Gethin
Chris is Director of Philanthropy at Cancer Research UK. Chris has over 25 years’ leadership and fundraising experience, within the charity and higher education sectors. Chris currently heads up the high-value relationship team at CRUK. Previously, he led the Advancement teams at the University of Surrey and City University of London. Chris has just completed his MA in Philanthropy Studies at the University of Kent. Chris’s speech is titled – ‘Reflections on the pandemic – impact, response and learnings, particularly in relation to Cancer Research UK’s high-value fundraising’

It will be so nice to see everyone so please book your tickets and spread the word.

The dangers of putting your professional development on the backburner

When you’re hitting fundraising targets, donor retention is stellar, and your board is giving kudos, it can be tempting to rest on your professional laurels.

When everything is ticking along smoothly, we often think, “If it’s not broken, don’t fix it.” However, just as a car that’s running like a dream still requires regular maintenance to operate at peak performance, so does your fundraising skill set.

Well, well. What do you know?

Reflect on how much professional development you participated in during the year prior to Covid.

How often did you attend trainings? Which conferences did you sign up for and why? Did you head off to the same events you’ve been to for ages to catch up with your fellow fundraisers and listen to a few of your favourite presenters? Or did you completely commit yourself to attending a full programme of sessions that stretched your knowledge and tangibly helped you move the need on developing your fundraising skills?

Remember that going to a conference is not the same as actively participating in your learning. Once while I was attending a session at a fundraising conference, a woman scrolled through the ASOS website for an entire 40-minute presentation. She didn’t look up from her iPad once.

If you’re not fully 100 percent present at conferences, you’re selling yourself short (and wasting the money of whoever paid for your registration).

Now, let’s talk about fundraising webinars. Are they something you have on in the background while you clear emails and text your partner about weekend plans?

Or do you turn off your IM, shut down your email, and grab a notebook so you can fully absorb the content? If you’re not completely committed to taking in the information, there’s a good chance it won’t stick.

Prioritizing your professional development

When deadlines loom and works feels chaotic, it’s easy to push professional development off as something you’ll tackle “when things calm down.”

Not so fast. When work is at a fever pitch is exactly when you need to be armed with the most cutting edge knowledge possible.

Setting professional development goals you’ll adhere to no matter what gets thrown your way is paramount. Commit to attending a set number of webinars or trainings every month and stick to it.

The world is moving at a faster pace than ever. Charities and their needs are changing faster than ever. What worked 10 years ago may not work today. Professional development helps ensure that knowledge and skills stay relevant and up to date. I think of it as sharpening the tools in my toolbox.

Robert Thomas of Morgen Thomas Fundraising.

If your professional development budget is thin, seek out free or low-cost events.

One common pitfall is to only attend trainings hyper relevant to our immediate work. Future-proofing your skills is one of the most effective ways to stay resilient. For example, if you’ve never dealt with a legacy programme, consider participating in a webinar on building an effective bequest toolkit. It’ll give you insight into your legacy team members’ work while giving you a deeper understanding of this income stream.

This may seem counterintuitive. Yet, in 2021 everyone on your team needs to be prepared to pinch hit.

What would you do if half of your fundraising department were made redundant and you were tasked with picking up the pieces? Do you have enough understanding of your colleagues’ work to step into their shoes with little notice?

If not, it may be time to brush up your skills in some areas you haven’t needed to delve into recently.

Get qualified

The idea of attending a random smattering of fundraising conferences and webinars may seem like a haphazard way to sharpen your skill set.

That’s where a qualification or certification can come into play. Certifications have a trove of benefits, including:
– Measuring your knowledge against industry-accepted best practices
– Covering knowledge proven to make a difference to fundraising success
– Helping you identify and address gaps in your fundraising knowledge
– Enabling you to stand out on the job search
– Providing tangible leverage when negotiating your salary, title, and responsibilities

A solid certification’s structure is designed for professionals who need to use what they learned straightaway in their day-to-day roles. Before you’ve completed a certification course, you can begin applying what you’re learning along the way to your work. How’s that for an immediate pay off?

The upfront cost of a certification may instill momentary sticker shock (especially if your employer won’t cover the cost). Remember, the price of professional development is an investment that will pay dividends over the length of your career.

Certification holders often command premium salaries and packages, making time spent getting certified well worth the effort.

A global fundraising certification

For fundraising professionals with a global focus on their career or who work for a charity with branches abroad, earning an internationally-recognised certification is a savvy step. This can also be a smart avenue if you want assurance your fundraising approach is aligned with internationally accepted best practices.

No matter what your motivation is, a global certification can help you stand head and shoulders above others in your field.

The Certified Fund Raising Executive (CFRE) certification is one option and currently held by over 7,000 fundraising professionals worldwide.

The CFRE process consists of an application and exam. The 200-question, multiple-choice exam measures your knowledge across six key knowledge domains:

  • Current and prospective donor research
  • Securing the gift
  • Relationship building
  • Volunteer involvement
  • Leadership and management
  • Ethics, accountability, and professionalism

As a fundraising consultant, achieving my CFRE enabled me to benchmark and boost my knowledge. In a fast-changing world, it’s ensured I am in the best possible position to help my clients.

Sian Newton – Craigmyle Fundraising Consultants

Make a start

Whether you’ve been fundraising for five months or 15 years, making time for your professional development is wise. After all, our industry isn’t static.

Fundraising professionals who have taken the time to keep their knowledge fresh will be the leaders best equipped to help their clients and organisations thrive long into the future.  

Written by Ashley Gatewood – CFRE International

Why join the AFC?

With the Covid-19 pandemic directly impacting UK philanthropy across multiple sectors – including the arts, education, heritage and churches to name just a few – many donors have stated that they are currently directing their limited resources towards supporting their existing grantees, and are not considering new applications. Furthermore, numerous trusts and foundations have already diverted a significant proportion of their available funding towards emergency grants to address immediate relief efforts related specifically to the pandemic; at the same time, many prospective corporate supporters are conserving their financial resources in the face of an uncertain global economic outlook.

This situation has put additional pressure on professional fundraisers to continue to deliver the same level of results for their clients, who need help more than ever during these highly unusual and uncertain times. Coupled with the recent loss of EU funding following Brexit, the UK donor pool has become saturated with requests for funding, with competition for limited resources becoming fiercer than ever before.

The need for fundraising consultants has therefore never been more urgent.

Charities are always looking for creative and new ways to raise funds; accordingly, the appetite for professional help continues to grow exponentially. Yet, as the pool of fundraising consultants in the UK also steadily expands, it is becoming crucial for prospective clients to be able to distinguish between those consultants that have the right experience and who follow good practice, and those that don’t. Membership of the Association of Fundraising Consultants (AFC) therefore serves as the best way of distinguishing yourself. The AFC takes enormous pride in accepting only the most experienced and qualified fundraising companies and individuals into its ranks, so this membership will provide assurance to prospective clients that you represent a safe pair of hands: the AFC’s ‘stamp of approval’ which can be included on its members’ websites and client pitches provide testimony to the high quality of services you are offering. The AFC provides the vehicle to make your consultancy stand out!

Although online forums continue to provide a useful resource, fundraising consultancy can often be a lonely and siloed job. Personal interactions tend to mostly be client focused, with limited opportunities for collaboration among peers, or the sharing of ideas and fundraising trends, or learning about new client opportunities. This can especially be true when you are just one of thousands of members of an online forum! However, membership of the AFC does provide this much-needed personal interaction. Under the leadership of Caroline Hutt, Managing Director of Hutt and Co, who serves as the chair of the AFC, the AFC has been reinvigorated with new leadership, new members, and new ideas. It is a lively and cooperative association which champions and supports its members.

Apple Fundraising Consultants, which joined the AFC in 2018, is a boutique consultancy specialising in high-net-worth international fundraising, campaign management, bespoke event management for local and global clients, and tailored philanthropic advisory services that help high-net-worth individuals make the most of their charitable giving. As a fundraising consultancy with a unique niche in the market, Apple Fundraising has seen the benefits of AFC membership first-hand, having had the opportunities to work alongside our fellow AFC members on large scale international campaigns, and having made numerous top-rate professional contacts among other fundraising consultancies whose work complements our own. We frequently benefit from the knowledge and experience of the other members who specialise in different niches, and have learned a great deal from the AFC’s sessions and workshops which are scheduled regularly throughout the year.

More than anything since the onset of the Covid-19 pandemic, the AFC has provided an important professional support network in these most isolating and challenging times. At the start of the lockdown in March 2020, the AFC immediately pivoted to online networking and information events, enabling its members as leaders in the industry to frankly discuss the immense challenges facing the charitable sector. Now that the UK has set a roadmap to emerge from the lockdown, and restrictions are beginning to ease, the charitable sector is seeing a ‘reawakening’ with new fundraising campaigns and initiatives in the pipeline. The AFC stands ready to support its members as we all help our clients achieve their aspirational fundraising targets while navigating our businesses towards the post-lockdown future.

If you believe you or your company share the AFC’s ethos and commitment, and if you meet the criteria for joining, we would be delighted to discuss membership of the AFC with you. Full details can be found on our website at https://afc.org.uk, or by contacting our administrator Karen Harkin on karen@afc.co.uk.

We do hope you will join us.

Written by Apple Fundraising Consultants

Apple Fundraising Consultants

UK Fundraising Professional Sian Newton on the Value of Earning a Fundraising Certification

Sian Newton became a Certified Fund Raising Executive (CFRE) in early 2020 and has had a two-decade career fundraising in the UK.

The CFRE certification is the only globally-recognised, accredited certification for fundraising professionals. By holding the CFRE, each certificant shows they have demonstrated their understanding of globally-accepted best practice fundraising principles.

Sian has worked for some of the UK’s most well-known charities, including the British Red Cross. Here, she shares her insights on the value of consultants holding their CFRE and why seasoned professionals can benefit from earning a fundraising certification.

How did you enter the world of fundraising?
I left university knowing I wanted to work in the not-for-profit sector. I did a research internship for a charity and also some fundraising volunteering and decided that fundraising was right for me!

What is your favorite part about being a fundraising professional?
Working with people from all walks of life to make charitable giving happen. After more than 20 years, it still gives me a great buzz.

What is the best career advice you’ve ever received?
Be tenacious and persistent.

What is your personal philosophy about investing in yourself and staying active in your professional development?
I’ve always been proud to be a fundraiser, it’s something I take seriously. One of my favorite phrases is: Onwards and upwards!

How did you first hear about the CFRE certification and what made you decide to pursue it?
I heard about CFRE through my fellow Directors at Craigmyle Fundraising Consultants. There’s a real emphasis on professional standards and excellence and all the other Directors have been through the CFRE process. So, when I became a Director, I decided I wanted to follow in their footsteps. It was a personal challenge.

You’re currently a fundraising consultant. Why do you think it is valuable for consultants to hold an accredited fundraising certification?
Clients come to you for your expertise, knowledge, and experience. Having the certification is another way to demonstrate both the breadth of your knowledge and that it reflects up-to-date best practice.

There are two parts to the CFRE process: an application and exam. When you passed your CFRE exam, how did you feel?
Relieved and very proud.

You earned your CFRE after more than 20 years in the sector. Sometimes professionals believe that with that much experience they don’t need a certification. What advice would you have for fundraising professionals who have been in the sector for years and are on the fence about whether or not to pursue their CFRE?
Learning is a life-long thing. You can build on the knowledge and experience you already have. Go for it!

Remember as an AFC member you receive substantial reductions of fees for CFRE examinations and recertification.

The environment remains tough for charities but raising funds is still key

In the aftermath of the 2008 financial crisis charities have been squeezed. In fact, austerity delivered a double whammy to the sector. Just as central and local government grants were being cut, public organizations were also reducing the level of services they provide to groups such as the homeless, disabled, children, domestic abuse victims or families needing extra support. Charities were then expected to step in and take up the slack.

Volunteers are being put off by the increasing legislative burden such as safeguarding, data protection and GDPR, accounting rules and paperwork.

Politicians now jockey for position as a General Election approaches and claim that austerity is over. Unfortunately, there’s been a lag between promises of more money and delivery. In fact, councils are still having to find savings and introducing new charges for some services to make ends meet. This is why fundraising is still so critical to all charities.

Stefan Lipa, head of Stefan Lipa Consultancy, provides some helpful tips on how a charity can continue to keep funds flowing in his latest blog ‘ The environment remains tough for charities but raising funds is still key’.

Solidifying your fundraising knowledge with a credential

Do you value doing a job properly, thoroughly, and without shortcuts?

If you’re a fundraising professional, this means you’re likely to be the team member consistently adhering to the highest professional standards. You show up to work each day with a commitment to go above and beyond—grounding yourself in donor-centric fundraising principles that help your donor achieve her philanthropic goals.

Since 1981, the Certified Fund Raising Executive (CFRE) credential has stood for confidence, ethics, and professionalism in fundraising. It is a natural choice for fundraising professionals who consistently strive for excellence in all aspects of their work.

“The CFRE is the only globally-recognized, accredited certification for professional fundraisers,” says Eva Aldrich, Ph.D., CAE, (CFRE 2001-2016), President and CEO of CFRE International.  “For those working in the UK, holding your CFRE signifies you have proven your understanding of best practices that apply nationally and internationally.”

Currently, there are more than 6,600 CFREs in over 20 countries.

The CFRE journey

The online CFRE application is the first step. There are three sets of criteria you must meet and document on the application:

1) Education: Need to have participated in 80 hours of continuing education in the most recent five years (hours can be a combination of attending education and presenting sessions, as well as authoring fundraising articles). Points can also be awarded for university degrees earned in any year in any field of study.

2) Professional Practice: Need to have worked a minimum of 36 months in a paid professional fundraising role in the last five years.

3) Professional Performance: Need to have 55 points in this category. 1 point = USD$25,000 raised by your fundraising team. Fundraising professionals in the UK can convert the funds they’re raised in GBP to U.S. dollars at https://www1.oanda.com/currency/converter/. Points can also be earned for communications and management projects.

Demonstrating your fundraising knowledge

Once your CFRE application is approved, you will have one year to sit for the 200-question multiple-choice CFRE exam at any of the Pearson VUE testing centers around the globe.  There are 30 testing centers in the UK.

On average, CFRE candidates study 40 – 60 hours and tell us they learned practical information in the process that they then began applying to their jobs straight away. If studying might feel like a dreaded task you haven’t had to tackle since university, flip that thinking so you view it as an opportunity to upskill and verify your knowledge.

Upon passing the exam, you are a CFRE! Recertification is due every three years but does not require sitting for the exam again.

Cost

The initial application fee for first-time certificants is US$875. As a CFRE Participating Organization, members of AFC save 20% and enjoy a rate of US$700. Recertification is US$510 at the standard rate or US$408 for AFC members.  

Over half of CFREs report that their employer covers part or all of the cost of CFRE certification.

Get started

More than 93% of CFREs say they have gained increased recognition from peers by earning their certification, so why wait to get started?

There is no cost to begin your application. Once you start it, you’re welcome to log in and out of it as many times as you need to input your details. You only pay when you are ready to submit it.  

Begin your CFRE application at https://cfre.secure.force.com/siteregister.

Learn more about becoming a CFRE at http://www.cfre.org/certification/initial/.

How can charities expand and diversify their income?

Guest Blog – Written by Stefan Lipa Consultancy

 

Ensuring a healthy income stream is a key function for any charity that wishes to achieve its aims. All too often, charities facing a cash crisis have allowed old income streams to fall away or haven’t considered all options for new ones.

Diversifying income streams does require a deal of work, but relying on a few, dwindling sources of money is not a sustainable plan. Diversifying can make all the difference to your charity’s survival and will empower it to achieve, or even expand, its stated goals.

Step one: Refreshing current income streams

At Stefan Lipa Consultancy the first thing we do when we’re invited to carry out a fundraising audit for a charity is to review what they’re already doing, to make sure it’s up to date and efficient. Our principle is that our clients shouldn’t have to reinvent the wheel, so we look at all possibilities to realise the potential within their current range of activities.

Quite often, clients may have a number of income streams which they developed a while ago but they just assume it continues and they don’t maintain it. Clients say “Yes, we already do that,” but the people or organisations at the other end of the donation get forgotten and drop away and so the income decays over time. This should be the starting point.

A case in point is a parish church we support; 20 years ago they had a push to sign up members who would contribute regularly. But over years they hadn’t updated their campaign or added new people, so the number of donors was down to single figures and income was dropping off. The church council thought there was no more potential from that method of funding and assumed that the decline was just the way of the world, but all it took was a fresh effort to expand that income again.

Step two: new sources

Once we’ve optimised existing income streams we look at identifying new sources. These can come in a variety of shapes including:

  • Individuals
  • Businesses
  • Trusts
  • Grant-making organisations
  • Local authorities
  • Social media crowdfunding

When we start work with a charity, they often say “Oh, we don’t know anyone we can ask for a donation,” but when we drill down into the issue, we usually find many more connections or potential donors than they realise they had.

Gift Aid

Sometimes we suggest to clients something they’ve overlooked which may be as basic as applying for Gift Aid. This is a scheme whereby registered charities can reclaim from HMRC 25p on every £1 donated by a UK taxpayer. It effectively allows you to boost your income from donations by 25%.

All registered charities are entitled to join the scheme but you do have to register; some of our clients haven’t done this because they think it’s too much hassle.

There are strict rules about what you can and can’t claim for, but they’re explained on the HMRC website and it’s certainly worth investigating as a new income source. And you can go back four years to claim in arrears.

External fundraising advice

If you have a professional problem you may go to a solicitor or an accountant for advice and they will usually come up with suggestions, often simple ones, which you had never considered.

All too often, struggling charities are simply reacting to events and can get into a bit of a bind and it doesn’t occur to them that a fundraising consultant can also widen their vision.

Bringing in an external consultant will introduce fresh ideas, and that’s as true for fundraising consultants as it is for any other professional. We bring an external objectivity to focus on the problem and come up with new answers for expanding and diversifying income.

Stefan Lipa Consultancy helps charities to diversify their income

Stefan Lipa Consultancy helps charities to achieve their fundraising goals. We work in areas including heritage, religion, education, youth, culture, museums, the theatre, music, health and community services.

We offer bespoke, impartial and honest advice with consultancy and management services for capital campaigns and revenue fundraising.

We work on projects with targets from £100k to millions of pounds, mainly in Hampshire, the Midlands and the South of England, providing accurate, impartial and frank assessments, every step of the way.

Free initial consultation

Contact Stefan Lipa Consultancy or ring us on 01256 698090 to arrange a meeting for discussing your particular circumstances and the services we offer. This meeting is completely free of charge, with no obligation on either side.

 

Winning Business as a Consultant

Fundraising consultancy is a competitive market. There are several agencies competing for the same business; not to mention numerous sole traders, ranging from highly experienced consultants who have been working in the field for many years, to relative newcomers, either supplementing their day-job, or trying to establish themselves for the first time. Standing out and winning business is not easy. Below are my top tips for increasing your chances of success.

  1. Specialise – No-one can be an expert in everything, so what is it you are good at? Is it Trust applications, Major Donors, Digital Campaigns, corporate partnerships or something else entirely. You need to be clear about what service you can offer, so you can meet the needs of those coming to you. There is often the temptation to say you can do everything, but unless you can surround yourself with a team of staff or associates who can bring other skills and experience, being specific about what you offer is important.
  2. Decide on your market – Do you want to work with education institutes? In the Arts and Culture sector? International Development? Are you trying to attract small charities, or the big international NGO’s? Again, without a large team of experts to call upon, forging a niche for yourself in a specific area could be a benefit. It will also help with the next step.
  3. Prove your credentials – Why should a client choose you rather than a competitor? How do they know they are going to get a top-notch service? Reassuring them that you know what you are talking about is crucial to turning interest into business. Testimonials from past clients and examples of work you have done can be extremely helpful. Of course, I would also recommend membership of the AFC, which vets all its members for quality and therefore offers clients a unique level of confidence.
  4. Marketing, marketing, marketing – How will potential clients know you exist to ask for your help? For some, all their marketing is focused on networking and word of mouth. For others, speaking opportunities and sponsorships are equally important way of getting your name known (did you spot the IFC-branded Volunteer T-shirts at Fundraising convention this year?) Either way, you need to be clear about who you are trying to target and what you want to say. As someone whose preference is to spend their time working directly with clients, marketing can be easy for me to side-line, but it is essential.
  5. Understand what clients are asking for and respond in kind. –Sometimes clients are very clear about what they need (they are also often wrong – but that is for another blog!) and present a detailed Call for Proposals. Other times they are unsure; just knowing they need help. In either case, nothing substitutes for spending time getting to know them, meeting with them in person – where possible – and really getting to the bottom of what their issues are. Only then can you tailor a proposal appropriately, which addresses their areas of concern, and demonstrates how you can help them solve their problems.

And finally

  1. Be very good at what you do. – Do what you say you will. Deliver on your promises. There is nothing more important to a consultant than their reputation!

Winning Business as a Consultant

Written by Bill King MInstF (Dip) – CEO – International Fundraising Consultancy

 

 

 

Why Leadership is important to a successful fundraising campaign.

All leaders need to have a clarity of purpose, buy in to the vision and, most importantly, make their own well-thought through personal gift to the fundraising efforts early in the process.  Their leadership by example will set the bar high and define the outcome of the campaign.  As Albert Schweitzer said: “Example is not the main thing in influencing others. It is the only thing”.

Certainly, if leadership of the organisation and the campaign is weak, negative and fragmented it will ensure that any fundraising ambition is doomed and risks damaging important relationships that have often taken years to build.

It is important that the internal leadership is tested before a campaign starts (often through a confidential feasibility study).  If there is not a universal commitment then to proceed with a campaign would be foolhardy.

Time and careful consideration needs to be taken to build the voluntary leadership board.   It provides the ‘heartbeat’ to a campaign and drives success. A board is made up of brave, bold individuals associated with the organisation who are successful in their chosen careers.   When asked to join the board, their first instinct is to say, “I’m far too busy to get involved”.  But they do get involved because they care passionately about the organisation and its vision and they are always people who ‘make things happen’ in their day to day lives.   They are people who have great integrity, are inspiring, flexible and, above all, have the ability to listen and embrace opinions of all around them.

With strong leadership campaigns rarely fail – the right leaders simply would not let that happen!

 

Is fundraising consultancy a profession and how can charities make sure they receive a professional service? Five questions you should ask.

Stefan Lipa from Stefan Lipa Fundraising Consultancy – I’ve been a fundraising consultant for nearly 30 years and, during this time, I’m proud to say that I’ve helped many charities achieve their fundraising goals and thus enhance the support they offer their beneficiaries. However, according to a recent discussion paper by a fundraising think tank1, fundraising is not a ‘profession’– an assertion which of course I take issue with!

Fundraising consultants provide services, solutions and expert advice to the fundraising sector and I believe that there is a clear distinction between the need for professionalism and the formal professionalization of fundraising consultants.

As with any profession, there are fundraising consultants who are leaders in their field; who set the bar high by offering invaluable skills and experience – promoting best practice and making a tangible difference to charities, their beneficiaries and wider society. I believe that every fundraising consultant should take a genuine interest in the long-term success of their clients and that nobody should be in the profession if their main objective is to make a quick buck.

Maintaining high overall professional standards within the fundraising consultancy sector is ongoing but the large majority of us are effective and offer great value and support to our clients. It is vital that charities base their fundraising consultant recruitment decisions on clear evidence of a consultant’s knowledge, skills and experience rather than relying on letters after their name.

At present, fundraising is governed by requirements in the Charities Acts and the Fundraising Regulator sets and enforces professional standards and a code of practice. In addition, the Association of Fundraising Consultants (AFC) gives accreditation to the highest professional standards available in the EU for fundraising consultants. The AFC’s Code of Practice works in tandem with the Fundraising Regulator’s Code of Practice. Therefore choosing a fundraising consultant who is a member of AFC will provide confidence to the ‘buyer’ of a certain level of professional standards maintained by the fundraising consultant.

In previous opinion pieces, I have talked to some extent about the roles that fundraising consultants can fulfil and the results that we can help achieve [add links to website]. In this article I have summarised some of the questions you might wish to consider when choosing a fundraising consultant and to make sure they have the relevant skills and experience, as well as the professional approach we would all expect from a fundraising consultant.

  1. Does the fundraising consultant take a holistic view of your charity?

Make sure your consultant appreciates how charities operate. Check that they understand how the fundraising project fits into your charity’s overall strategy; how different departments or components within the charity operate; and that they have a genuine interest and understanding of your charity and beneficiary needs.

  1. Do their proposals provide a fresh perspective and are they realistic?

Ensure your consultant provides a clear, costed, proposal about the work they will undertake and that the proposal has been well-researched to ensure it will deliver on your brief.

Avoid consultants that work on a commission basis, which can be a disincentive to donors and it can lead to conflict and practices that are detrimental to the charity, donor and fundraising consultant. (Click here to read my article on The problem with commission-based fundraising) [add link]

Be careful of consultants that rush in and promise the world based on very little understanding of your charity’s circumstances and objectives. Make sure you are confident that your consultant will deliver; their proposals are researched and well articulated and the outcomes are realistic; they will put your charity’s interests first and use the best fundraising practices.

  1. Do they have the knowledge and experience you are looking for?

Look beyond a fundraising consultant’s qualifications, client list and achievements to understand if they have the right expertise to either complement or plug skill gaps in your charity. Do your due diligence – has the fundraising consultant delivered similar projects in the past? Does he/she have experience in the sector you work in or with charities of a similar size or with similar strategic goals?

Understand how they operate and go about achieving results and their budget and resource parameters. Ask for them to talk you through case studies and past achievements.

  1. How do they work and what is their approach to client work?

Make sure you share the same work ethic. Take references. Don’t just take the consultants word for it, speak to their current and past clients about how the consultant embeds themselves in client work/the client’s organisation.

Ask the consultant about their personal involvement in the sector – do they practice what they preach? For example, I consider fundraising consultancy to be part of who I am. In my spare time I’m a school governor for the Godolphin School in Salisbury (Wiltshire), I’ve previously been a Chair and Board member of the AFC, and I was the founder trustee and chair of the Friends of the Dean Garnier Garden at Winchester Cathedral.

  1. Are they prepared to give constructive advice?

Nobody likes to be told that their strategy is wrong or their plans won’t work. However, it’s important that you are not just told what you want to hear but that your consultant can demonstrate how he/she uses his/her expertise and knowledge to help coach and navigate your charity through change in order to achieve the desired results.

 

If you’re about to embark on a new fundraising challenge or need some additional support with your fundraising plans, why not get in touch to find out a bit more about how we can help you? Please click here to contact us. 

 Less than my job’s worth: Is fundraising a profession? And does it matter if it isn’t?, June 2017, Rogare

Stefan Lipa Consult for Funds for Norwich Cathedral

Is fundraising consultancy a profession and how can charities make sure they receive a professional service? Five questions you should ask.