Ruthellen Rubin
& Associates

Consulting for Nonprofits and Philanthropies


nyuLearn more about graduate programs
in Philanthropy and Fundraising at
New York University.
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have any questions.

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Professional Development

  • GetDonors.com
    Complimentary video series with Ruthellen Rubin
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We offer the expertise, resources and personalized attention to help your nonprofit organization realize its full potential. Our team also works with philanthropies to help build strong partnerships.

FUNDRAISING STRATEGIES | BOARD DEVELOPMENT | COLLABORATION | TRANSITION

FAQ

Frequently Asked Questions

USING A NONPROFIT CONSULTANT: 

What is a fundraising consultant?

A fundraising consultant is a professional who can bring experience with a wide variety of fundraising issues to your organization.  A consultant will bring an objective perspective to your initiative.  Through coaching and unbiased assessment, your consultant will help with processes and systems to impart a sustainable fund development program and/or successful campaign.   

Why should our organization hire a consultant?

A consultant can:

  • Bring objectivity and an external perspective to your organization.
  • Make an unbiased assessment of your current fund development program and your potential to raise funds.
  • Help to create a plan and budget for your fund development initiative.
  • Identify new constituencies of donors.
  • Motivate your staff/board and introduce a level of confidence.
  • Keep your organization focused on the task at hand.
  • Introduce a level of professionalism that will have a positive impact on a specific initiative as well as your organization as a whole.


What are the most common ways to use a consultant?

A consultant can: 

  • Hire development staff; create job descriptions.
  • Mentor your Development Director. (This is particularly effective with enthusiastic, but inexperienced staff.)
  • Help your staff create a development program.
  • Recruit/train board members.
  • Communicate “challenging issues” to your board. (Such as:  Their responsibility to make a financial commitment to your organization.)
  • Respond to special situations with guidance and coaching.
  • Research donors/ write proposals.
  • Work with you for a few hours a week, a few days a month, or a number of months.

What is the role of a consultant in a
time-limited campaign?

A consultant can:

  • Conduct a feasibility study/campaign assessment.
  • Create job descriptions and help identify candidates (professional and volunteer) to lead a campaign.
  • Help you create a vision and design effective campaign materials.
  • Help your board understand their responsibilities during a campaign.
  • Train volunteer solicitors.

Consultant Do’s and Don’ts:

To ensure success you should:

  • Start with an assessment interview:  This may be a phone call or meeting.  There may or may not be a charge for this service depending on the scope of the initial assessment and the time involved.
  • Engage the consultant to give guidance – not to carry out day-to-day fundraising.
  • Be sure the consultant’s proposal is specific to your organization.
  • Always do a Reference Check.
  • Ascertain his/her track record/experience with similar issues and organizations.
  • Determine whether consultant is a personality match for you, your staff and your board.
  • Not expect a consultant to bring donors with him/her; he/she should help you with ways to approach your own donors.
  • Be sure your consultant is certified by an accrediting organization:  AFP, CFRE
  • Be honest and open with your consultant about your challenges.

How are fundraising consultants paid?

  • A consultant should never work on a contingency or percentage basis. (Code of Ethics of the Association of Fundraising Professionals)
  • Most charge by the day or the hour; some charge by the job.
  • Expenses (hotels, meals, phone, travel, postage, photocopying) are usually reimbursed.

    And finally…

Be sure you have a clearly written contract/ agreement clarifying the consultant’s role, fees and expenses as well as the client’s responsibilities.  Use built in evaluation points, if desired.

All rights reserved by Ruthellen S. Rubin, CFRE

 

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