What sort of work do charity fundraising consultants typically do?

Fundraising consultants typically offer a range of services. This can include strategic support such as fundraising strategy development and audits of an organisation’s activities and performance. Some also provide support in practical, day to day fundraising. This can include areas such as grant-writing, database work and funding resarch. Whatever kind of support you need, always do your homework first and make sure you take references before engaging with any fundraising consultant.

We need practical fundraising support, not strategic advice - do you do this?

Yes we do. This ‘hands-on’ fundraising support includes writing trust applications, doing prospect research, drafting a copy for an appeal or 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  your charity, so that you don’t  become dependent on external support in the longer-term.

Fundraising consultant or freelance fundraiser - what's the difference?

‘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. The other thing to bear in mind is that with a freelancer, you don’t get the benefit of them being part of a multidisciplinary team.

Fundraising Consultants Ltd sometimes employs freelancers for specific projects, working alongside others in our core 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 other reputable charity 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!

Selecting a fundraising consultant - what to look for?

Finding an excellent charity consultant or freelance fundraiser requires an investment of time. 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.

Then Identify some charity charity 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 fundraising 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 charity consultants across the UK. They also provide some useful guidance on commissioning a fundraising consultant.

Do we need a formal contract for engaging a charity consultant?

Yes you do. The Fundraising Regulator stipulates that it is a legal requirement for charities to have a written contract with any external party which is helping them raise funds 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. If you decide to work with us, we will send you a scope of services and contract to sign. 

Fees - how much do you charge?

The cost will depend on a number of factors including the experience of the charity consultant who will work with you, the 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. Most of the charities we work with pay on a day rate basis.

Small charities and CICs - do you offer discounted rates?

Yes. We want charities of all sized to be able to access our services and we offer a reduction on our day rate to charities with a turnover of less than £250,000.

Do you work with overseas charities?

Unfortunately not. Our team of charity consultants only support UK-based charities that are registered with the  Charity Commission and UK-based Community Interest Companies (CICs). We do however support UK charities that work overseas. 

What sectors do you work in?

We work 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?

Our team of charity consultants live across the UK. We cover a broad geographical area, working with charities across England and Wales. Recent clients are based in Wiltshire, Gloucestershire, Hampshire, Oxfordshire, Surrey, Cornwall, Cambridgeshire, London and Surrey

The Fundraising Consultants office is based in Chippenham, Wiltshire (between Bristol, Bath and Swindon). 

Income generation: 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.

We always make clear to our clients that 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.

We will review with you what a good fundraising return on investment might look like; this will include looking at benchmarking data, reviewing sector trends and measuring these against recent fundraising results. With some areas of support, such as developing a fundraising strategy, there won’t of course be a direct correlation between our input and your fundraising results.

Commission-based fundraising: can we pay you on a results 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.

Consultancy fees - how do the costs break down?

Fundraising consultancy is an investment which should repay itself many times over.  You get a highly experienced charity consultant without the time investment and costs you bear with an inhouse member of staff . With a fundraising consultant or freelance fundraiser you do not have the time or cost burden of:

  • buying and maintaining equipment, including laptops and phones
  • training and professional development
  • pension and national insurance
  • Organisational support: HR, health and safety, safeguarding and line management support

Christian charities - what's your experience of fundraising for churches and Christian organisations?

Fundraising Consultants Ltd understands the unique fundraising challenges facing Christian charities and those founded on Christian principles. We have worked with many churches, Christian charities and faith-based causes over the years. Clients include Oxford-based leadership charity, Innovista, international charities Bible Society and BMS World Mission,  Salisbury-based foodbank charity, the Trussell Trust, Reach Community Projects, a small church project in Suffolk, the Religious Society of Friends (Quakers) and BMS World Mission. Please take a look at testimonials from some Christian charities we have worked with. You can also check out some case studies on faith-based organisations we have worked with.

Fundraising strategy or support with hands on fundraising? I'm not sure which one I need.

Our team of charity consultants can help you develop a fundraising strategy and can also support with you with hands-on fundraising (such as bid-writing, prospect research and help with CRM implementation). Some clients opt purely for help with fundraising strategy; others want support with hands-on fundraising implementation and some have a mix of both strategic and hands-on support. We will talk through the options with you and help you decide where best to start.

International fundraising: Can you help us raise funds from US and international funding sources?

Yes, our fundraising consultant Ethan Kuhn, who is a US national, leads on our international fundraising work. With extensive experience of working with grant-making foundations in the US and Europe, we can help you identify international fundraising opportunites.