You Need To Like Your Consultant

Amy Eisenstein recently interviewed Andrea Kihlstedt about capital campaigns. Andrea has written the Bible on capital campaigns--my copy has highlighting throughout the 400 plus pages. She knows what she is talking about. Click here to watch the interview. Andrea Kihlstedt on Hiring a Capital Campaign Consultant*

One point Andrea made particularly resonated with me. She said, "Get somebody you like."

While a church campaign is about a five month process, a capital campaign for a non-profit will last from 12 to 24 months. This is a long time to spend with someone you don't really like. If they rub you the wrong way in the interview process, keep looking.

This doesn't mean you hire just any ole boy or girl. Experience and skill are essential. Hiring the wrong consultant can cost you hundreds of thousands of dollars. 

But remember--hire somebody you like.

Just last week I drove away from a client's facility for the last time. We have been engaged with them for over two years, enduring the highs and the lows of a campaign. I well remember the Wednesday afternoon the CEO called to tell me of the $1 million pledge just received. I also think back on numerous conversations about our difficulty in getting a meeting with a key donor. We have gone through every aspect of the campaign together.

I drove away that day filled with a sense of sadness and satisfaction. I like my client, and I will miss seeing them. They are doing a great job and are fulfilling a wonderful mission in their community. I look forward to returning in several months to tour the new facility.

I helped them do something they could not have done on their own. And I made several new friends along the way.

Get somebody you like. 

* Amy and Andrea make frequent references to RFP. This stands for Request For Proposal. This is the practice of making specific requests to various companies for a proposal.