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When considering a capital fundraising campaign, some community rec professionals may be unsure about whether to use a fundraising consultant. The decision to bring in outside counsel may seem intimidating. What does a fundraising consultant do anyway? Can it really help your organization achieve its goals?

The short answer is yes. Fundraising professionals work closely with you to get to know your community and mission, inside and out. Their priority is representing you positively to raise the funds you need for your strategic goals.

Fundraising is an important job — and a full-time one. You’re probably already wearing many hats, as are your board members, staff and volunteers. By engaging fundraising counsel to handle this important work, you can take time to focus on your priorities and responsibilities. A good fundraising consulting company can help identify prospective investors and donors, set goals, oversee campaign messaging and implementation, and even “make the ask” for financial support on your behalf.

Every capital campaign should start with a feasibility study. The consultant can help prepare the feasibility study prospectus and interview 40 to 60 prospective investors and donors confidentially to get a strong sense of public support — or lack of — for your organization’s strategic plan, board, accomplishments and more. A strong consultant uses these feasibility study interviews to also build consensus, uncover additional potential funding and identify campaign leaders.

The consultant then sets a realistic fundraising goal for your capital campaign, together with your community rec center leadership. Your organization’s investable outcomes and impact should also be highlighted by the consultant in this phase to ensure your campaign will secure long-term, major gift investors versus small, one-time donors.

During the capital campaign, the consultant works internally to develop the campaign calendar chronologically — outlining the essential processes — collaborate with your organization’s leadership, and provide campaign support to meet task deadlines for the project such as marketing, promotional materials and events. Externally, the consultant can provide a customized approach to solicitation, depending on the amount of support needed by your board and staff. Milestones and constant communication are the two benchmarks to ensure you will reach — and hopefully exceed — your fundraising goal with no surprises along the way.

Choosing to engage with a fundraising consultant for your capital campaign can have short-term and long-term benefits for you personally and for your organization. The right consulting firm should help you feel supported by a team of professionals with broad and deep experience, committed to helping you secure the ongoing funding sources that ensure a healthy future for your organization.

 

Rick Kiernan is a principal at Convergent Nonprofit Solutions, a nationwide fundraising firm. He can be reached at rkiernan@convergentnonprofit.com or by visiting convergentnonprofit.com.

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