What sort of work do consultants typically do?
Fundraising consultants typically undertake reviews or audits of an organisation’s activities and performance, appeal feasibility studies; fundraising strategies; cases for support and advice-based work. Most consultants also specialise in one or more areas (such as major gifts, trust fundraising or individual giving). Fundraising Consultants Ltd offers both strategic support and ‘hands on’ fundraising services.
Do you raise funds directly for the charities you work with?
Yes we do. This ‘hands-on’ support can include writing trust applications, doing prospect research, drafting a copy for a Christmas appeal or planning and managing a fundraising event. In doing this our goal is always to fundraise with rather than for the client. This ensures that learning, skills and confidence are embedded into the organisation, preventing them in the longer-term from becoming dependent on external support.
What is the main difference between a fundraising consultant and a freelancer?
The terms ‘freelance fundraiser’ and ‘fundraising consultant’ are often used interchangeably. The main difference is usually that a freelancer works alone. Freelancers also tend to have lower day rates, but with a freelancer you don’t get the benefit of them being part of a multidisciplinary team. Freelance fundraisers sometimes work with us on specific projects, but always as part of the Fundraising Consultants team. This gives clients the flexibility they need and means that they benefit from the combined skills and expertise of two or more fundraising specialists.
Are you insured?
Yes, like most reputable consultants, we have professional indemnity and public liability insurance. You should ask what cover your consultant has arranged and who with. Since setting up the business over 10 years ago, we are pleased to have never needed to make a claim on this!
What should a charity look for when selecting a fundraising consultant?
Begin by preparing a written brief, outlining your needs, challenges, fundraising targets and timeframe, and the type of help you think you need. Clarity at this stage will make all the difference. Identify some consultants or freelancers and send them your brief. We recommend that you speak to at least three consultants before making your decision. Word of mouth recommendations can be hugely helpful, so don’t be afraid to ask around. We get much of our work through repeat business and word of mouth – personal recommendations work well for everyone!
Before commissioning a consultant you should get a good grasp of their track record and experience, particularly in the specific field in which you are looking to use them. Which other clients have they worked for? Can they provide references and examples of their work? What is their approach? What values will guide your working relationship? Is the scope of work clear? The Chartered Institute of Fundraising’s Directory of Fundraising Consultants lists hundreds of freelance fundraisers and consultants across the UK.
Do we need a formal contract?
Yes. It is a legal requirement for charities to have a written contract with any external party which is helping them raise funds https://www.fundraisingregulator.org.uk/code/third-parties
This needs to set out the scope and terms of the assignment, including the nature of the work and the way it will be charged. Simplicity and transparency are important values to us and you’ll find our contracts simple and straightforward, something which many of our clients tell us they appreciate.
What fees do you charge?
Charges vary, according to type and scale of work and the level of complexity and expertise required. Work is charged either by a fixed fee (e.g. to develop a fundraising strategy or draft an agreed number of funding applications) or on a day rate basis.
Do you offer a discount for smaller charities and CiCs?
Yes. Grassroots charities and small, local organisations do amazing work in communities up and down the country. We are passionate about supporting smaller charitable causes and offer a reduced rate of £325 per day for charities and CiCs with a turnover of less than £250,000.
Do you fund overseas charities?
No. We only support charities and CiCs that are based in the UK.
What kinds of causes do you work with?
Charities often get in touch with us because they see we have got experience with their particular sector or field. Whilst experience in a specific sector (such as mental health or homelesses), can be helpful, the principles of good fundraising can be applied across all charitable causes. This means you don’t necessarily need to rule out a freelancer or agency because they don’t have experience in your specific field.
We have worked with clients across most of the main areas of charitable activity, in particular:
- Children & young people
- Community and social welfare
- Health and medical
- Religion and faith-based causes
- Mental health and well-being
- Vulnerable groups e.g. disabled people, homeless people and the elderly
- Education, training and employment
What regions of the UK do you work in?
Although we’re based in Wiltshire, between Bristol, Bath and Swindon, our clients range from Cornwall to Cambridgeshire, Westminster to Wigan and from the Tyne to the Thames. We’re just over an hour from London and Cardiff and two hours from Birmingham and Exeter. Some of our previous and current clients are based in far flung places such as Guildford, Brighton, Bristol, Truro, Plymouth, Cambridge, London and Leatherhead!
How much income can you raise for us?
This is a question we sometimes get asked, particularly from very small organisations and those that are new to fundraising. Whilst we always deliver to the very highest standards, we simply cannot guarantee outcomes. We can for example help you develop an outstanding funding application that is an excellent match for the charitable trust’s funding priorities and criteria, but if the outcome is that the funder decides to support a previous grantee running a similar project to yours, that is of course not something we can control. There are however lots of ways you, your fundraising team and the wider organisation can increase your chances of fundraising success, and we’ll talk these through with you at our first session.
Do you work on a commission basis?
This is a question that smaller charities often ask us. Although commission-based fundraising is legal, it is widely considered to be bad practice, including by the Chartered Institute of Fundraising and the Fundraising Regulator. Like other reputable consultants will not accept work on a commission basis and for good reasons.
Isn’t fundraising consultancy really expensive?
A common assumption is that consultancy fees are simply too expensive for most charities. This is partly based on a misunderstanding of what costs are actually involved and also a failure to recognise the cost of alternatives (e.g. to do the work in-house, or the consequences of not doing it at all). In fact, fundraising consultancy is an investment which should repay itself many times over. You get a highly experienced fundraising professional without the time investment and costs you bear with an inhouse member of staff (such as IT equipment, training and professional development costs, pension and on-costs, health and safety etc).