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Career Story: Fundraising Consultant

Fundraising Consultant

Job Title: Fundraising Consultant

Type of Company: I am a consultant with a Fund Raising Consulting firm that specializes in helping Christian organizations reach their funding goals. We serve schools, colleges/universities, churches, camps and other non-profit organizations with a Christian focus. Our service includes all aspects of the development/fundraising side of our clients.

Education: BS, Accounting, Mississippi College (Clinton, MS) •• MS, Physical Education, University of Tennessee

Previous Experience: I was a college coach for nine years, an international coach for two years before becoming a development officer at Furman University. I also have done work in the private sector as a specialist in the life insurance industry and spent 8+ years as the President/CEO of the Special Olympics in my state. I have also worked as a major gifts officer for a large Christian not-for-profit. I have also been a consultant for two different consulting firms.

Job Tasks: As a fund raising consultant I represent our firm to potential clients by presenting proposals to them. These proposals spell out for the potential client what our services will be in helping them achieve a particular fundraising objective or administrative objective for their organization. Should they become a client my work with them would depend on what objective(s) were addressed in our proposal. Most of the time we are either conducting feasibility studies or capital campaigns for clients. A feasibility study is a process whereby we interview a select number of donors and friends of the client to determine if a particular project the organization wishes to complete is feasible from a funding standpoint. If we are serving the client in a capital campaign our job is to advise and assist the client in implementing the proper activities that will help them raise the funds needed for their capital needs project. Sometimes we also assist them in creating programs that will help them gain more students in a school setting or gain more volunteers in a church or other organization. Each client pays us a consulting fee for our work with them. This fee is usually paid over a number of months under the terms of a formal contract between the client and our firm.

Best and Worst Parts of the Job: The best part of the job is the interaction with clients and their donors and staff. It is the part that sees them achieve success in raising funds they never expected to raise.

The worst part of the job is presenting proposals to a potential client and finding out that they decided not to move forward with a project or that they decided to go with another competing firm.

Job Tips:
1. A consultant in fundraising must have the ability to manage time and details related to the project.

2. While there are some courses of study in college that relate to fundraising consulting, for the most part a well-rounded liberal arts education is probably the best.

3. A consultant should be a people-type person and have an extroverted personality.

Additional Thoughts: For someone seeking to enter the fundraising consulting field, the most important factor is to be a positive, people-oriented person. Experience gained from interaction with a variety of people in all walks of life is valuable. It never hurts to have a good sense of humor and a zest for life in general as well.

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