In this current economic climate, many nonprofits find themselves endeavoring to raise funds in new and innovative ways. Some organizations may find themselves engaging fundraising consultants to assist with special fund drives or emergency campaigns. Others will consider selecting a new consultant to help the organization develop top notch grant proposals for foundations or public sector sources that they have never approached in the past.
As the Standards for Excellence: An Ethics and Accountability Code for the Nonprofit Sector® states, “When using the services of a paid professional fundraising consultant, organizations should only use the services of professional solicitors and fundraising counsel who are properly registered with applicable regulatory authorities.”
You will need to pay careful attention to the definitions of professional solicitors and fundraising consultants in your state. For instance, it may be that the individual whom you hire to help with your annual campaign must be properly registered with your state, but your grant writer is exempted from those requirements. In some cases, special disclosure requirements and reporting may also apply. At any rate, it is important for you to learn as much about individuals who you plan to engage as fundraising consultants at the front end, prior to the start of the engagement, and this includes inquiring as to whether the individual you are considering is indeed properly registered in your jurisdiction. You may even wish to request a copy of their current registration certificate or letter.
Did you know? The Standards for Excellence® program’s educational resource packet, “Employment of Fundraising Personnel,” includes a detailed discussion on this subject. The packet is free and available to Standards for Excellence Institute® members. It is available through the members only section of our website. Hard copies are also available upon request.