A fundraising consultant is an independent contractor engaged by a nonprofit organization to develop and implement a strategy for raising capital. Typically, reporting directly to the executive director and/or board of directors, the consultant may be responsible for raising funds for any of a variety of purposes, such as for the operating budget, a budget deficit or a specific program. A fundraising consultant works on a project by project basis.
The fundraising consultant meets with the executive director of an organization to outline fundraising goals, timeline, and so forth. Based on these criteria, the consultant researches potential sources of funding, including grants, past contributors, new donors, corporate contributors and foundations. A short-and long-term fundraising plan of action is created and presented to the executive director and the board for approval. Once approved, it the nonprofit's staff is not sufficient, the consultant may also recruit, train and manage paid staff and volunteers to implement the plan. Other aspects of the consultant's job include creating all promotional materials and liaising with members of the external community.
The best place to look for available fundraising consultant opportunities is through the Foundation Center website. Such positions can also be found on traditional job search boards such as Monster.com and CareerBuilder.com. Additionally, niche job sites such as Idealist.org advertise open positions specifically geared toward those in the nonprofit community. Certain staffing and employment agencies focus on the placement of job seekers in the nonprofit sector as well.
To be successful as a fundraising consultant, a candidate must be a strong salesperson, possessing the ability to negotiate, build and maintain relations and inspire others. He or she must also have a keen understanding of a varied of fundraising techniques including: committed giving, direct marketing and corporate giving. Exceptional problem solving and decision making skills are imperative, as is the ability to think analytically. A candidate must be an excellent oral and written communicator. Additionally, he must be able to manage a budget.
A four-year degree is not mandatory to obtain a job as a fundraising consultant. What is required, however, is a successful professional track record in the raising of funds for an organization of similar scope and size as the one for which the candidate would like to work.
As of September 28, 2009, the average fundraising consultant employed in the United States of America earned an annual salary of $41,000, according to Indeed.com. The United States Bureau of Labor Statistics believes that employment within the advocacy, grant making, and civic organizations industries will grow by 13 percent through 2016 as a result of social and demographic shifts that will increase the demand of social services agencies.
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