While nearly every non-profit organisation can raise funds by itself – it is unlikely that individuals involved in the operations of the organisation will have the necessary experience or expertise to manage all aspects of a fundraising programme. If an organisation wishes to maximise funding, maintain good relationships with its stakeholders and manage the core activities of the organisation, the appeal needs to be handled professionally. It is a question of Return on Investment – for example, it makes no business-sense to save €10,000 by not hiring a professional fundraising firm if that ultimately diminishes what is raised by €100,000 or more.
Selecting the right fundraising firm can be a difficult decision.
WHY HIRE A FUNDRAISING FIRM?
WHAT IS THE MOST IMPORTANT CONSIDERATION IN SELECTING A FUNDRAISER?
Quite simply, the relevant experience and track record of the assigned fundraiser is crucial. When selecting a fundraiser to devise and/or implement a fundraising campaign, organisations often make the mistake of looking exclusively at the record of the fundraising firms rather than at the experience of the individual fundraisers themselves. Those key individuals may no longer be with the firm and, therefore, that relevant experience may not be available. The right fundraiser should have his/her own extensive experience of conducting successful fundraising appeals for organisations similar to your own. Consider the level of experience that is being offered, the record of success and weigh that against the costs that would be incurred by hiring that fundraiser. We recommend that you select a fundraising firm that is capable and willing to devise and implement a fundraising plan rather than a firm that will devise the plan but leave the implementation to others. As with many things, the proof of the pudding is in the eating.
WHY SELECT CHAPTERHOUSE CONSULTING?
Chapterhouse Consulting has an unrivalled reputation of reaching fundraising goals – 100% of campaigns have exceeded financial targets – in good times and bad. Moreover, the firm’s Managing Director, Brendan Phelan, has over 27 years’ experience of being a senior fundraising director on campaigns in Ireland, the UK and the USA, which have raised over €200 million for a wide range of projects. Chapterhouse offers a flexible fundraising service to clients, depending on their needs. This level of service can range from a full-time on-site fundraising staff to part-time executive consultation, with fee structures to match. Because of the flexibility and quality of our service, our fees are lower than our competitors, while our return on your investment is far superior.
WHAT FEES CAN WE EXPECT TO PAY?
Most consultants charge either a fixed fee (for the project or specific work) or a (daily/weekly/monthly) rate. Reputable consultants will not work on a commission basis as it leads to disputes, is a disincentive for donors to give, and is arguably unethical. It also causes problems as all campaigns require at least an initial period of planning and research, which would not be covered by commission payments (leading to a very short-term approach to fundraising). Those few individuals who do charge commission frequently charge a higher rate than would normally be required in fees. Nearly all fundraising or charity regulatory institutions, associations and commissions disapprove of the practice. The fees that we charge are wholly dependent upon the scale of work and the level of expertise required. Typically, our professional fees (including operational expenses) work out to be approximately 2-5% of actual sums raised.
WE ARE STILL UNSURE HOW TO PROCEED. WHAT DO YOU SUGGEST?
If you have not done so already, prepare a clear brief describing your organisation, a list of projects that you wish to fund, an estimation of the cost, and the timeframe. Draw up a shortlist of consultants and send them this brief. If these firms are interested, ask them to meet with you to discuss the matter further. Request a costed proposal from the firms and base your decision on the experience of the proposed fundraiser, the likely return on investment, and whether you feel you would be able to work with that person.