Frequently Asked Questions
- Does the cost of a professional consultant increase our costs?
The benefits of using an effective consultant can outweigh the costs. In fact, in fund raising, the net amount raised should be higher with counsel, making the cost per dollar raised (which is the most important factor) lower with counsel than without. And, there is nothing more costly for a non-profit organization than a failed campaign. In organizational development, the benefit of having a more effective board, membership campaign or marketing plan will be worth it in the long run.
- Will the consultant do an effective job — what if we fail?
While success is never assured, it is much more likely if the professional consultant is involved. Even the most highly talented and well-trained musicians make more beautiful music when under the direction of a competent conductor. If your constituents do not care about your organization or if the board is unwilling to make the organizational changes or campaign a priority, you will likely struggle whether a consultant is involved or not. A consultant has a contractual obligation to give you competent direction—otherwise you are not required to pay the fee.
- Will the consultant push too hard, alienating our members, volunteers and even our donors?
This is a good question, but it is highly unlikely. Ethical considerations in the organizational development and fund raising consulting industry long ago made working on a contingency or percentage basis unethical. A consultant has no incentive (financial or otherwise) to risk antagonizing volunteers or potential donors by pushing too hard. While a consultant wants to motivate all parties to work toward success, they do not want to “bite the hand that feeds them,” so to speak.
- When we use an outside consultant on this organizational development or a fund raising campaign, how will we manage when they are gone or when we need to do our next campaign?
By working closely with a consultant, you will learn much about managing, planning and running your organization or fund raising campaign. Most importantly, you will learn how to grow your organization more efficiently and effectively and/or how to build a successful fundraising campaign organization. When we at WCA leave a client, we leave them with a “historical file” or scrapbook, which contains all important materials and documentation in chronological order. This file can serve as your roadmap for future actions and campaigns.
- Will this campaign require the large majority of management’s time? How will we find the time to show our consultant everything and to teach them about the organization?
No! If board members and top management are willing to give the organizational change and campaign several hours per week, on average, that will be more than enough time. And, with regard to spending time training the consultant, relax. We are quick to study an organization to learn what we need to know. What we cannot learn from reading your marketing and internal material, we will learn from talking to management and board members and asking questions. We will not need you to “hold our hands.”