Be sure to ask about:
How much fundraising has the firm done and how successful have the efforts been? Has the firm worked with organizations similar to yours both in purpose and strategy and in similar locales?
Ask for references from current and recently completed projects, then call and ask questions. Was the firm helpful in accomplishing your goals? Were they effective? Were they pleasant to work with? Did the consultant listen well and really understand the situation? What insights do you feel the consultant brought to the table? Would you hire them again?
Styles vary widely among fundraising firms. Great rapport between your organization’s staff and the consulting firm’s representatives is critical for a successful outcome, and it makes the task at hand more enjoyable. You’ll have a sense of the firm’s style and compatibility during the very first interview with the firm’s representatives. Make sure you have a face-to-face meeting with the specific person who will be working with your organization before making any commitments. Do not compromise here.
The consultant must be able to articulate the mission of your organization and believe in your vision. Capital campaigns are not all alike. Passion is important from every member of the team, including your fundraising consultant.
After weighing the resumes, references and fees for agreed upon services, it may come down to a gut feeling. Do you have confidence in this firm’s ability to make it happen?