This article is by Linda Lysakowski, ACFRE (The Advanced Certified Fundraising Executive) who is a “knoweldge” partner of Your Funding Network and Susan Schaefer, CFRE.
So, what are the latest trends in consulting? Well, most clients are seeing less of a need for “resident consulting.” Many organizations have more professional staff, less money, less time to spend with a consultant, or some combination of these three. Therefore, there may not be a need to engage a consultant that will literally live at the organization for the entire duration of a campaign. Most organizations feel more comfortable with a consultant that is on-site for a day or two at a time, or even a week at a time than those who have the consultant in the office daily.
And, an even more interesting turn of events is the “Virtual Consultant” who is never, or rarely, on site. Several entrepreneurial consultants have come up with ways to provide low-cost but experienced and knowledgeable consultants to these organizations who need help in specific areas, cannot afford a consultant, or perhaps are in remote areas where consultant travel expenses would be prohibitive.
The New Model
Fundraising the SMART Way model, developed by Bristol Strategy Group, is new model. This program is a system to increase efficiency and effectiveness of the fundraising process by using metrics and key performance indicators. The program is delivered online through a series of sessions with the leadership team of nonprofits, either individually or in a cohort. The program is followed by a series of coaching sessions.
Using Fundraising the SMART Way, consultants and nonprofits from as far flung as Mexico and Scotland have been able to improve fundraising results without spending a cent on travel expenses.
At the end of any consulting arrangement—no matter how stellar, or not—an organization is well-served if staff analyze the process with an eye toward future outsourcing. When staff records lessons learned, that documentation can serve as key reminders next time consultant candidates march in for interviews. The more employees learn from each experience, the more equipped they become to help lead the engagement.