Hiring a Consultant for a Campaign Planning Study…

Sections of this topic

    An email I received not long ago asked: “What can a small non-profit, looking to raise about $5 million for a Capital Campaign, expect to pay for a consultant to conduct a study and then (guide) the Capital Campaign?”

    The size of your non-profit relates to the question only in the context of whether you have the constituency that can support your campaign.

    The actual cost of a Campaign Planning Study would be based on:
    (1) The amount of time needed to conduct the preliminary discussions …
         the getting to know you meetings between the consultant and your
         Study Committee;
    (2) The time needed to construct the questionnaire for the interviews;
    (3) The number of interviews that would have to be done and the time
         required to generate the Study Reports; and,
    (4) The expenses the consultant would incur (travel, lodging, etc.) during
         the process.

    Pre-Campaign Planning Studies run anywhere from $12,000 to $20,000, depending on the combination of the above factors, the number of individuals conducting the interviews, and the extent to which a consulting firm feels its reputation entitles it to charge more.

    You can get a good idea (not a firm figure) by calling and talking with a number of fundraising consultants. You can also get a good idea of whether the folks you talk to are the kind of people with whom you (and your constituents) would be comfortable working.

    As to the cost of counsel to work with you through a campaign, since the Study will suggest how long it will take to conduct a campaign, that figure can only be determined after the Study is completed.

    BTW, the preparation for a capital campaign can take a year or more. In essence, the Planning Study begins the preparation process. Then, if that preparation is done properly, the actual campaign should only take a few months.

    And, you should not feel that you have to hire the same consultant/firm for the Study and for the campaign. If your planning process is adequate, you’ll need minimal help from counsel for the actual campaign.

    Talk with a number of consultants, check their references, have them meet your leadership, select the one who is the most comfortable to work with.

    Related Reading/Blog Postings:
    The Feasibility Study is Obsolete
    Another Reason I Object To Feasibility Studies – Part 1
    Another Reason I Object To Feasibility Studies – Part 2
    The Planning Study – Part 1
    The Planning Study – Part 2
    The Planning Study – Part 3

    Have a comment or a question about starting, evaluating or expanding your fundraising program? Email me at AskHank@Major-Capital-Giving.com. With over 30 years of counseling in major gifts, capital campaigns, bequest programs and the planning studies to precede these three, we’ll likely be able to answer your questions.