Goals are usually defined in two ways – fundraising programme growth and income budgets. Targets for programme growth often consist of a defined number of new donors on the database, or the implementation of a properly planned major gifts component, or perhaps the introduction of bequest promotion. Financial budgets are usually measured in additional net income.
What are the various roles that the consultant can fill? Too often there is a misconception within non-profit organisations that the consultant whom they see on a day-to-day basis is the only person involved in their campaign.
Nothing could be further from the truth – especially in a direct mail fundraising programme. Within the consultancy, a team of at least four people, typically the account executive, media director, copywriter and creative director, meet to discuss and plan strategies for the coming year. Once the creative brief is decided and the number of mailings agreed, the next step is the selection and negotiation of rented mailings lists. This too requires specialist knowledge and often a longstanding relationship with list brokers.
Envelope, print and computer bureau prices are negotiated and compared with the previous and other recent quotations. Where necessary, competitive quotations are sought. A timing schedule is drawn up to ensure that each mailing mails on time.
Once the mailing is over and the responses are in, another person within the consultancy team compiles and analyses statistics – comparing results and preparing the conclusions that will lead to the right decisions to increase responses and income in the future.
Apart from the whole range of skills that go into strategising, designing and providing a successful mail appeal programme, there are many other roles which professional counsel can fill. These include:
Counsel lists four main reasons to use outside consultants:
Consultants increase the efficiency and productivity of the organisation by allowing the not-for-profit staff to concentrate on their true role — that of service delivery.
Outside consultants see the organisation more objectively than permanent staff and can often raise concerns and suggest solutions that internal staff may be reluctant to discuss.
Fundraising consultants are experts at working with all kinds of programmes and institutions. As a result they bring many options for the client to consider and can advise on what works and what doesn’t. Counsel can also help recruit top business people to assist in not-forprofit cause – as corporate representatives often applaud the employment of consultants as a good ‘businesslike’ move.
4. Cost control
When these are in place, then your fundraising programme is virtually assured of successful growth and sustainability.With acknowledgement to the late Terry Murray.