There are many benefits to working with the fund raising consultant not to mention the fact that you earn substantially more funds for your favorite charity organization. If you do not possess the proper skills of planning and working with local community leaders you may benefit greatly by hiring a fund raising consultant. This article looks at some key aspects hiring the right person or company for your project.
What Is a Track Record?
Obviously one of the first aspects to consider is how well established the fund raising consultant or company is within your community. Also you want to make sure that they do have a clear vision of where you plan to go in the next year, five years, and ten years down the road.
There Are Ready in the Door
The number one benefit of working with a fund raising consultant is the fact that they will often have open door relationships set up with many of the local private foundations in your area. Private foundations are set up to help area groups with their funds. However if you approach them inappropriately you may lose the opportunity to have their support.
Funds for Future Projects
The benefit of having well-established donors is that you will be set up to launch new projects with ongoing support already in hand. This type of relationship can be well handled by fund raising consultant, who knows there stuff.
Organization and Planning
Another wonderful benefit to the well-trained, fundraising consultant can bring to your organization or group is the fact that they will have the ability to work with each of you were volunteers to put them in the right positions of responsibility. This one fact will help you reap benefits many times over for future fund raising events.
I know that it’s very tempting. They place ads on the Internet explaining how they can save you thousands with their expertise. They will look at your program and recommend different ways to make things better. Some will offer to redesign your ads with improved layouts, headlines, and graphics; all at a cost. So, can they really be trusted to create a radically fresh approach that will increase your results that dramatically?
First, there are never any guarantees. If they say they guarantee a certain number of sales or profits, run away from the offer. They are lying. The truth is that advertising is part science, part art, part guesswork, and mostly trial and error. Each account is unique and requires individual consideration. Many of these so-called “experts” have a stockpile of standard ads that they rotate through the headings. Suppose you are a plumber. They have dozens of basic plumbing ads and pictures where they can swap the headlines or art, at will. Or they can adapt the ads to any repair business, from electricians to heating and cooling.
Yet, for these “custom”ads, they charge ridiculous amounts of money. And again, without being able to guarantee you will get one additional customer more than the old ad received. But, how about some insider information? There are actually two types of consultants out there, of which you need to be aware.
The first one will survey your current program and reduce the size or drop the color to save you money. They then charge you a percentage of what you saved. These are called cutters and they are the parasites of the directory industry. They thrive on your notion that the Yellow Pages is always overpriced. Therefore, when they say that you are probably paying too much, they will show you why and you will jump at the chance. But the downside is the fact that they are the hit-and-run type that slash your ads down to an ineffective size and reap the rewards. You are left with pathetic advertising that costs you customers. But they have already made their commission and don’t actually care that they help destroy your company. Besides, you’ll probably never see them again.
The second are either ad designers or true consultants. The ad creators charge by the size and complexity. The consultants charge by the scope of the program or by the hour. There are many legitimate consultants that do want your program to succeed and would like you to use them year after year. The issue is that they make very minor changes after the initial revamping and still manage to charge a huge ongoing fee. The other difficulty lies in the fact that they claim to be the experts and you should do whatever they recommend. Remember that this is not an exact science and that, in most cases, they are simply guessing what will work. Yet you pay them whether it did or did not succeed.
In summary, should you pay someone $100 an hour to look over your Yellow Pages or $1000 for a half-page ad redesign? Don’t forget that you local Yellow Page representative has an art department at their disposal and you should be able to request a few different ad layouts from them. But I ran an ad agency and made my living off people needing design help, so I understand the dilemma. In addition, I was a Yellow Page rep and consultant for nearly 25 years. I also have a degree in marketing and I’ve been designing Yellow Page ads for the past three decades. But you cannot hire me and I’ll tell you why. It’s because (a) I’m retired and (b) I think you can spend your money more wisely.
Before you break down and decide you still need to hire that consultant, please do yourself a favor and educate yourself. There is far too much money at stake. Like I mentioned, some will just rip you off. Luckily, there are methods to fend these people off before getting caught in their trap. One way is to read everything you need about the industry, what a rep can do for you and how the consultants work. I would advise you to start with one of the best-selling books on Amazon regarding the Yellow Pages. It’s a small investment and a great place for any business to begin. Yes, I wrote it and I’m proud to say, it will save you thousands (just go to poweradbook.com). Finally, whether you buy my book or do your own investigation, realize that it’s your business on the line and the book is printed for a year, so you can’t change it once it comes out. So be proactive and let that next consultant that sees you beware; you now know how they operate.
Often, small business owners are unaware of the real consequences of their problems or the profound potential benefits of utilizing a management-consulting firm. It is common for these owners to assume that all the other businesses in their industry share the same problems or, conversely, that their situation is unique. In fact, neither of these scenarios is hardly ever the case.
Small and mid sized business owners are in a constant daily struggle to survive, let alone grow and prosper. They operate in a fiercely competitive marketplace and the great majority of them are attempting to manage without the operational and financial policies and procedures large organizations take for granted. These business owners are at a loss to maximize their profitability and ease their management burden.
As a result, they never have the time or the opportunity to focus on the important activities necessary to implement the strategic programs necessary for long lasting growth and stability. They are the classic case of spending so much time fighting the alligators that they never have the time or ability to fulfill their original objective of draining the swamp!
Although many problems may be pervasive with a large number of companies facing the same challenges, there are always some that thrive in the face of adversity. Business owners’ work so hard just to survive they often “Don’t see the forest for the trees.” This is one reason why the third person perspective that a management consultant brings to a client is so valuable. Part of the consulting firms mission, therefore, is to convince these owners to honestly confront their problems and the actual, very real and substantial costs resulting from a lack of control.
The basic strategy is to bring fundamental management techniques and systems generally only available to major corporations to the small business owner at an affordable price. This is accomplished by addressing three major concerns of all small businesses: Sales, Profits and Quality of Life. This requires that the consultant provide a full range of management services to their clients including the installation of basic accounting systems, cash flow management, production control systems, computer installations, budgeting, expense and cost control, and human resources program.
Additional areas of operational improvements consultants provide to clients on an as needed basis are as follows: Cash Management, Business Valuation, Investment Banking Services, Job & Product Costing, Inventory Management, Succession Planning, Operational Planning, Sales Management and Financial Management.
Mr. Harvey K. Orens is the Managing Director of Structured Management, Inc., a business management consulting firm. Mr. Orens has in excess of thirty-five years experience acting as a consultant to small and medium size businesses as well as an instructor and mentor to business owners and executives, CPA’s and accounting and consulting professionals.
It seems that everyone either has a consultant or a coach. I wear the title of Life Coach/ Hypnotherapist a.k.a Metaphysical Healer–Mind, Body and Spirit. I am often asked what the difference is between a coach and a consultant–how to know which is needed.
To answer this question we need to define the terms–Coach and Consultant. These words have become as common in today’s business world as Kleenex is to facial tissue.
Having been a consultant to Fortune 500 companies and a Coach, I give a first-hand definition. A consultant is a professional with specific areas of experience and expertise, who facilitates management and organizational change and/or provides subject matter expertise on technical, functional and business topics during development and/or implementation. In other words a consultant seeks to provide answers to business problems for their clients using a systematic analysis process, then offers solutions and is often retained to implement those solutions.
The consulting process may involve a team of experts. The analysis phase can be extensive and take several months. Employees, systems, and processes are assessed. Once complete, solutions are recommended and the company decides what if any recommendations will be implemented. A single project can take months or sometimes years to complete depending on the nature of the endeavor.
A Coach is a professional who is trained in a particular discipline or modality to foster individual internal change whereby that individual can achieve specific goals, improve relationships and become a more effective person overall. Like an athletic coach, a business or life coach fosters change, inspires, encourages, is a sounding board for ideas and holds the person accountable for achieving their goals and implementing change.
Business or personal coaching has become more popular in recent years and is what I consider the most effective approach to personal and professional change. Like the consulting process, there are assessments made, discoveries revealed and solutions recommended.
With coaching, the changes come from within. You explore your strengths and address issues unique to you vis-à-vis your career, relationships, etc. that are affecting your success and wreaking havoc in your work or personal relationships, your processes and your inner being–Mind, Body and Spirit. From this perspective the coaching process empowers you to create the changes you desire.
The coaching process is direct, focused and combines creating the future while healing the past with measurable results. Through this process your personal and professional life is synergistically rewarded with positive transformation.
Coaches often specialize in a specific area–personal coaching or business coaching. Some coaches address both. The coaching process can be a one-one-one or small group experience and often focuses on a specific perceived issue, such as management skills, assertive communication, decision making, planning or development.
Consulting is a series of systematic and specific changes implemented by a professional, whose experience and expertise is congruent with the perceived needs.
Coaching is the process of exploring personal strengths and weaknesses to make the necessary changes in your behavior, beliefs and being held accountable while you implement the series of steps to create specific changes.
How do you determine which one you need? You may need both. It depends on your objective and the level of skill needed to achieve your desired goals. Most people do not need a coach to implement technological, management or organizational changes within their company. However, you may need coaching to support your decision making, problem solving and/or building stronger relationships and the developmental changes required to effect these changes.