Some organizations choose to put out an RFP (Request for Proposal) when looking to hire a capital campaign consultant. While this might seem like a good way to find a consultant, it might not be the best route for your organization.
While an RFP may create an equal footing and give the parameters for those who want to bid on your project, it isn’t the most complete picture of what your organization needs from a consultant. And you’re not guaranteed the right consultant for the job will even respond to your organization’s RFP. To find a consultant who has run a successful campaign, personal recommendations for candidates with a successful track record are best.
Andrea Kihlstedt of Capital Campaign Masters recommends organization skip the RFP process all together. “I have strong feelings about it [RFPs] - perhaps unconventional. I do not believe in RFPs. If you put together an RFP, you are doing the work of the consultant. Also, many consultants don’t respond to them,” Kihlstedt said
Consultants will definitely respond, but an RFP only gives them a set of questions to respond to. Proposals can be very two-dimensional, and don’t show the true personalities of the candidate. Instead meet with your prospective consultants in a meeting or a phone call, give them a brief history of your organization and let them tell you about how they work. They should be able to propose a plan without a formal RFP. A personal interview also lets you gauge how you and the prospective consultant will work and communicate together. You don’t need an RFP to set up a meeting.
Here is how you can find a campaign consultant:
Once you have your list, start making calls. Usually through talking with prospective consultants, you can get a feel for their company and their style. Most likely a phone interview will gather the same information an RFP would cover.
Once you’ve talked with all the potential consultants, narrow down your list. Once you have the finalists established, invite them to prepare an interview with you campaign committee and key board members. From there, you can meet the consultant and determine if they would be a good fit for your organization.
For more information on how to choose a campaign consultant, check out the following resources.