Ruthellen Rubin
& Associates

Consulting for Nonprofits and Philanthropies

nyuLearn more about graduate programs
in Philanthropy and Fundraising at
New York University.
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have any questions.

What's New

Professional Development

We offer the expertise, resources and personalized attention to help your nonprofit organization realize its full potential. Our team also works with philanthropies to help build strong partnerships.



Frequently Asked Questions


What is a fundraising consultant?

A fundraising consultant is a professional who can bring experience with a wide variety of fundraising issues to your organization.  A consultant will bring an objective perspective to your initiative.  Through coaching and unbiased assessment, your consultant will help with processes and systems to impart a sustainable fund development program and/or successful campaign.   

Why should our organization hire a consultant?

A consultant can:

  • Bring objectivity and an external perspective to your organization.
  • Make an unbiased assessment of your current fund development program and your potential to raise funds.
  • Help to create a plan and budget for your fund development initiative.
  • Identify new constituencies of donors.
  • Motivate your staff/board and introduce a level of confidence.
  • Keep your organization focused on the task at hand.
  • Introduce a level of professionalism that will have a positive impact on a specific initiative as well as your organization as a whole.

What are the most common ways to use a consultant?

A consultant can: 

  • Hire development staff; create job descriptions.
  • Mentor your Development Director. (This is particularly effective with enthusiastic, but inexperienced staff.)
  • Help your staff create a development program.
  • Recruit/train board members.
  • Communicate “challenging issues” to your board. (Such as:  Their responsibility to make a financial commitment to your organization.)
  • Respond to special situations with guidance and coaching.
  • Research donors/ write proposals.
  • Work with you for a few hours a week, a few days a month, or a number of months.

What is the role of a consultant in a
time-limited campaign?

A consultant can:

  • Conduct a feasibility study/campaign assessment.
  • Create job descriptions and help identify candidates (professional and volunteer) to lead a campaign.
  • Help you create a vision and design effective campaign materials.
  • Help your board understand their responsibilities during a campaign.
  • Train volunteer solicitors.

Consultant Do’s and Don’ts:

To ensure success you should:

  • Start with an assessment interview:  This may be a phone call or meeting.  There may or may not be a charge for this service depending on the scope of the initial assessment and the time involved.
  • Engage the consultant to give guidance – not to carry out day-to-day fundraising.
  • Be sure the consultant’s proposal is specific to your organization.
  • Always do a Reference Check.
  • Ascertain his/her track record/experience with similar issues and organizations.
  • Determine whether consultant is a personality match for you, your staff and your board.
  • Not expect a consultant to bring donors with him/her; he/she should help you with ways to approach your own donors.
  • Be sure your consultant is certified by an accrediting organization:  AFP, CFRE
  • Be honest and open with your consultant about your challenges.

How are fundraising consultants paid?

  • A consultant should never work on a contingency or percentage basis. (Code of Ethics of the Association of Fundraising Professionals)
  • Most charge by the day or the hour; some charge by the job.
  • Expenses (hotels, meals, phone, travel, postage, photocopying) are usually reimbursed.

    And finally…

Be sure you have a clearly written contract/ agreement clarifying the consultant’s role, fees and expenses as well as the client’s responsibilities.  Use built in evaluation points, if desired.

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Frequently Asked Questions