Adding clout to your fundraising – Six ways in which a consultant can help you get the most out of trusts and foundations?
Hank, a travelling salesman, is driving his Cadillac across the desert when the engine sputters, coughs and gives up. He’s stuck by the side of the road miles from anywhere. Eventually, a pick-up truck draws up alongside and an unshaven man in a vest gets out.
“You OK?” he drawls.
“I’ve broken down,” Hank replies, nervously.
“Wan’ me to take a look?” the man in the vest asks.
“Sure,” responds Hank gratefully.
The man lifts the bonnet, studies the engine for a moment, then goes to his pick-up and pulls a mallet and a bolt out of his tool box. He delicately positions the bolt on the engine, gives it a thwack with the mallet and the engine miraculously coughs into life.
“Amazing!” says Hank. “What do I owe you?”
“Two hundred dollars,” says the man.
“Two hundred dollars? For a bolt?” replies Hank.
“OK,” says the man, scratching his chin thoughtfully, that’s 50 cents for the bolt and one hundred and ninety nine dollars and fifty cents for knowing what to do with it.”
Charity leaders often question the value of consultants. “We need to raise more money, not spend more!” This anecdote explains why fundraising consultants are worth their weight in gold.
Here are six valuable advantages that an experienced consultant will bring to your fundraising.
There’s a range of databases and other resources to help fundraisers find the best match between funding and funder. A full-time fundraising consultant will have access to the best of these and will know how to get just the information you need as efficiently as possible.
A consultant makes a point of staying on top of the latest news and information, of finding out about new trusts and which trusts and foundations have changed their policies and of understanding the changing economic and political landscape and the impact that might have on your chances.
So much time can be saved by knowing from years of experience how to hit that bolt with just the right amount of force.
A consultant has people they can go to for advice and knows which trustee or gatekeeper to sound out about an application.
Specialist consultants are focussed on their particular area of expertise and don’t spread themselves too thin across a variety of fields or activities, like CEOs often have to. You’re trying to keep plates spinning but a good consultant won’t have taken on more work than they can handle and will be giving your project the attention it needs.
A consultant is a critical friend; they root for you, they work for you, but they’re not inside your organisation so they can see things you might not be able to, or get the funder’s perspective and make helpful suggestions on how to present your organisation to them.
So, if you find yourself broken down in the desert and a consultant offers to help get you moving again, it could be the best investment you ever make.
Does your fundraising need a kick start? Action Planning has the experts who can help. Call 01737 814758 or email firstname.lastname@example.org
Photopgraphy credit - Jonny Gios (Unsplash)
Primavera Moretti is a freelance fundraising consultant. She has worked with a large number of charities and public sector organisations in the last 30 years and observed a huge number of leadership styles. One of the best pieces of advice she ever heard was from a Cambridge professor: “Don’t try to be clever – we’re all clever round here. Just try to be nice.”