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News You Can Use

News You Can Use
Issue 115/July 2012


“Beware”  Hiring an Unethical Fundraising Consulting Firm Can Cost You Your Reputation and Results

By Jeffrey D. Byrne
President & CEO

Recently it came to my attention that a competitor was misrepresenting their firm to potential clients. I was appalled by the allegation, and I asked what this consulting firm was doing that caused alarm.

I was told that the consulting firm was claiming victories for clients who were, in fact, not their clients. I was also told that the firm engaged in “bait and switch”. That’s where the principals of the firm “promise” that they will be the consultant for the project, but as soon as they are engaged, they place “junior” consultants into the client relationship while charging the same price. Lastly, I was told that the firm identified individuals as references, but that these individuals had never been asked for their permission to do so.

Fundraising consultants and consulting firms too often get a “bad” rap for such things as charging outrageous prices; poor attention to detail and the inability to perform for the client. These are avoidable if the consultant and consulting firm are paid value for their experience(s) and appropriately invest the time needed to achieve success; plan properly before and after a consulting engagement; and work diligently with the client in providing innovative, creative and proven strategies that have worked before. And you can be certain that the price we have quoted for our services will remain at that level.

Jeffrey Byrne & Associates has provided the non-profit sector with quality counsel for the past 12 years. During that time, we’ve represented our clients and engagements to the public in an open forum, always careful in representing our achievements factually and careful to share successes about our clients. We believe in the old saying “what you see is what you get”, which is to say that whoever we are putting forth to serve as assigned counsel is the consultant who will guide the project from start to finish. And, you can be certain that there will be no “adding on” to our costs; whatever amount was set for the agreed upon services, it remains the same.

Furthermore, we are proud of our past relationships with nonprofit executives, directors of development, donors, and volunteers and are respectful of those relationships by seeking their permission when addressing successes that occurred as a result of our partnership.

Here are some “best practices” if you are considering interviewing and hiring a fundraising consultant.

Choose someone who…

  • Understands client readiness for input
  • Assures client capacity to sustain results
  • Can redefine the problem in innovative ways
  • Customizes tools to client’s specific needs
  • Is a trailblazer in their chosen field
  • Doesn’t just know the state of the art, but is the state of the art

Finally, Jeffrey Byrne & Associates is the only Missouri and Kansas firm that has been vetted extensively for membership into the Giving Institute, the nation’s oldest and most respected association for fundraising consulting firms. For the Giving Institute’s ethical guidelines for fundraising consulting firms, go to

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