Sunday, June 23, 2013

New study finds most fundraising consultants consult other consultants about consulting

Consultant who consults other consultants

Researchers have found that most US fundraising consultants hire other consultants to complete most jobs.

The study by the Center for Cool Fundraising Research at the University of Eastern West Virginia found that 77 per cent of the time most fundraising consultants wind up consulting with at least one or more other consultants about their work.

More than 1,000 fundraising consultants were asked how they did their work and who they did it with. Researchers say they were surprised to find out that most fundraising consultants consult with other consultants about consulting.

“We wanted to see what the typical fundraising consultant does all day,” said lead researcher Dr. Dibble Brewer. “We found the obvious things – they make up most of the stuff they say, they like to afternoon naps at the office, that sort of thing. But we were totally surprised that most of them actually consult with other consultants on most projects. Who knew?”

Of those consultants who consulted other consultants, more than half did so on a regular basis. A further 30 percent said they did so once in a while “just for fun”. And the rest said they never in fact did any of their own work.

Even more surprising, a small, but significant number of consultants who say they were consulted by other consultants in turn consulted a second set of consultants about the consulting they were doing for the first set of consultants. About one-in-four consulting projects involve three or more different levels of consultants.

“The consultants that consultants used often consulted with their own consultants,” said Brewer. “In one case, one consultant had five different sets of consultants that they consulted with. In another, one consultant consulted with another consultant who consulted with another consultant who unknowingly consulted with the original consultant. That ended up in litigation.”

The League of US Fundraising Consultants says the report is misleading and paints an unfair picture of the sector.

“We’ve consulted widely about the activity our consultants consult on and there is no problem of over-consulting in the US fundraising industry,” the League said in a written statement released to their 50 million members.