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Reviews of Business Debt Relief Grant Writers and Fundraising Consultants

Finding the Right Grant Writer or Fundraising Consultant for Your Business

Seeking grant funding or launching a fundraising campaign can be daunting for small business owners and nonprofit leaders. You may not have experience writing grants or running fundraising drives. Even if you do, finding the time to do it well amidst all your other responsibilities can be a challenge.

That’s why many organizations turn to consultants – either grant writers or fundraising professionals – to handle this important work. But not all consultants are created equal. Hiring the wrong person can mean wasted time and money.

So how do you find the right grant writing or fundraising consultant for your specific needs? Here are some tips:

Define Your Goals and Budget

First, get very clear on what you want to accomplish. Do you need help applying for government or foundation grants? Are you looking to launch a capital campaign or grow your annual fund? Define the scope of the project and how much budget you have to work with.

This will help you find consultants who specialize in your particular needs. A great grant writer may not have capital campaign experience. And a fundraising consultant who typically works with large nonprofits may not be the right fit for your small organization.

Ask for Referrals

Reach out to colleagues and peers in your industry or geographic area. Ask who they have worked with and if they were satisfied.

Personal referrals can help you find reputable professionals who understand your field and location. But make sure to still do your homework on them (see next steps). Just because someone had a good experience doesn’t mean it’s a match for you.

Research Their Background

Look for consultants with expertise in your specific industry and size of organization. You want someone who has successfully worked with similar groups before.

Check out their website and online profiles, like LinkedIn, to learn about their experience and credentials. Look for testimonials from past clients in your field.

For grant writers, you want someone familiar with the types of grants you’ll be applying for – government, corporate, family foundation, etc. For fundraising consultants, look for expertise in your type of campaign – annual fund, capital campaign, crowdfunding, etc.

Interview Multiple Candidates

Don’t just go with the first consultant you find. Take the time to interview several to assess which is the best match for your needs and style.

Prepare a list of questions ahead of time about their experience, grant/fundraising process, communication style, etc. Pay attention not just to their answers, but to their general demeanor and how well your personalities mesh. This is someone you’ll be working closely with for an extended period.

Ask for Samples of Their Work

Any experienced grant writer or fundraising consultant should be happy to provide writing samples and past proposals or campaigns they led.

Look at these closely to assess their skills and track record. For grant writers, make sure their writing style and grant language meshes with your organization’s voice and mission. For fundraising consultants, review the materials they produced and strategies they implemented for other clients.

Check References Thoroughly

Speaking with past clients is a must. Go beyond the referrals and testimonials already provided. Ask for several additional references you can contact directly to ask about their experience.

Inquire about their grant/fundraising success rate, follow-through, communication style, and overall satisfaction working with this consultant. Check for any red flags before signing any contracts.

Review Pricing Carefully

Consultant fees vary widely, from $30 to over $150 per hour. Make sure you understand exactly what is included for the quoted price, such as meetings, draft reviews, submission/mailing, etc.

Nonprofit fundraising consultants may charge a monthly retainer fee. Others require a percentage of funds raised. Get clear on the compensation model upfront so there are no surprises.

Also ask if they have additional fees for expenses like travel, printing, postage, etc. Compare pricing models of the candidates you’re considering. Make sure you’re comfortable with the value for the investment.

Start with a Smaller Project First

If possible, hire your top choice consultant for a smaller grant application or campaign as a trial run. Even if you check all the references, you never know how well you’ll work together until you do.

Starting with a smaller project reduces risk. You can see firsthand their work ethic, communication style, and results before committing to a larger effort. If all goes well, you can continue working together on more grants or fundraising drives.

Trust Your Gut

No matter how qualified a consultant looks on paper, always listen to your intuition. You’ll be working closely with this person and need complete trust and confidence.

If something feels off during the interview process or you don’t completely click with a candidate, don’t ignore those instincts. Keep looking until you find someone who feels like the right fit.

Focus on Long-Term Partnership

Ideally, if you find a great grant writer or fundraising consultant, you can establish an ongoing relationship. Frequent turnover means constantly training new people on your organization.

The longer you work with someone, the better they will understand your mission, programs, voice, and needs. This leads to more successful outcomes and less effort on your end.

Manage the Relationship Proactively

Even once you hire someone, you can’t just hand over the reins and expect perfect results. You’ll need to manage the relationship proactively:

  • Communicate clearly about timelines, responsibilities, and expectations. Put agreements in writing.
  • Provide all necessary background materials to help them do their job.
  • Review drafts and provide timely feedback.
  • Celebrate successes and have open conversations about any issues.
  • Continue monitoring results and getting feedback from your board/stakeholders.

By investing the time upfront to find the right grant writer or fundraising consultant – and managing the relationship effectively – you’re setting your organization up for the best possible outcome.

Just remember, even the most experienced consultant needs your guidance and participation to understand your organization fully and bring in the revenue you need. Finding that perfect consultant match is just the first step to grant and fundraising success.

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