The past couple of years have been tough for nonprofit fundraising, with higher donor expectations, more competition, increased regulation and cuts to traditional funding streams. Additionally, the rise of the Internet has brought about a high degree of disruption to almost all industries – and the nonprofit sector is no exception. While the rise of giving via online fundraising platforms is a brilliant and empowering way for people to give, it also fundamentally changed the game for nonprofit organizations.
Now more than ever, nonprofit organizations need to invest in diversifying their income streams and strengthening their fundraising capacity in order to ensure their long term financial sustainability.
Nonprofit fundraisers are increasingly under pressure to raise more funds, retain donors, innovate, and satisfy all stakeholders. The heavy workload, demanding grant requirements and donors, under-staffed teams, and strenuous budgets can all take a toll on the well-being of your nonprofit team. Sometimes, regardless of how good and zealous your fundraising team is – it can be hard to juggle all the responsibilities and demands.
This is when fundraising consulting firms can come to rescue! Fundraising consulting firms can help your nonprofit organization meet your fundraising goals through a variety of skills, tools, insights, and fresh perspectives.
We’ve compiled a list of the top 17 nonprofit consulting firms with the expertise to help your nonprofit meet your fundraising goals:
Top 17 Fundraising Consulting Firms for Nonprofits
1. Averill Fundraising Solutions
Averill Fundraising Solutions is a full-service fundraising consulting firm. They have more than 75 years of experience raising over $3,000,000,000 combined. The Averill team works with nonprofits in all sectors: elementary, secondary, and higher education, hospitals and medical centers, academic medicine, faith-based organizations, global health organizations, human service organizations, professional and membership societies, and civic and social groups.
Averill provides fundraising counsel, strategic direction, and institutional capacity-building through the following service offerings:
- Campaign Direction
- Campaign Planning & Feasibility Studies
- Annual Fund Direction
- Embedded Staffing
- Leadership Learning
- Executive Search
Averill subscribes to the ethical principles and standards of industry associations.
Averill Fundraising is headquartered in New York, with other offices based in Chicago, LA, and Toronto. Some of their clients include the American Red Cross and The Nature Conservancy.
2. Aly Sterling Philanthropy
Aly Sterling Philanthropy is a partnership-driven consulting firm powering fundraising, strategic planning, and board leadership solutions.
They offer the following services:
- Fundraising Solutions
- Strategic Planning
- Board Catalyst
Their Philanthropy Blueprint is a process and a product that helps nonprofits successfully grow and sustain their development programs. The Philanthropy Blueprint allows for a greater emphasis on major and legacy gifts, in addition to diversifying and increasing event and annual fund donors through strategic stewardship and communications.
As a part of their fundraising consulting, the Aly Sterling team can help you determine if your organization is ready for a capital campaign, how much you can expect to raise, and how to prepare. They can also help ensure success by building a sound infrastructure for your campaign and serving as your accountability partner.
Their offices are located in Toledo, Ohio. Their clients include the Legal Aid Foundation and Habitat for Humanity.
3. Bristol Strategy Group
Bristol Strategy Group focuses on helping mid-sized nonprofits improve and strengthen their fundraising and financial strategies.
Ellen Bristol, the founder of Bristol Strategy, says that her mission is to improve nonprofit management disciplines worldwide to strengthen the sustainability and financial health of the sector.
Their approach is simple, yet comprehensive:
- 1: Assess
- 2: Build
- 3: Grow
Their team uses their Leaky Bucket Assessment (LBA) methodology to understand what’s going wrong with your fundraising or selling. Then, in Step 2, they help you build an evidence-based fundraising “infrastructure” for all fundraising efforts – major gifts, capital campaigns, grant-seeking, and corporate giving. Finally, they offer support in implementation. The team helps you grow further with planning, campaign and technical assistance, and state-of-the-art supportive technologies.
There are headquartered in Pembroke Pines, Florida.
4. Big Duck
Big Duck propels nonprofits towards their goals by transforming how they communicate, particularly during times of significant growth or change. The Big Duck team has worked on many capital campaigns with financial goals ranging from 15 million to over a billion dollars.
They help nonprofits in several ways:
Big Duck can help your nonprofit develop or refine your brand strategy, visuals, and messaging, and help your organization’s communications advance your mission. Their team helps provide a clear plan detailing how you can achieve any goal (e.g. recruiting new monthly donors or cultivating donor relationships) by communicating more strategically.
Big Duck can also develop creative concepts, case statements, and other materials (print and digital) that place your donors at the heart of your narrative—motivating them to give.
Their offices are located in New York. Some of their clients include the Center for Constitutional Rights, the Multiple Myeloma Research Foundation, and the Women Donors Network.
5. DNL OmniMedia
DNL OmniMedia helps nonprofits with all things digital. They empower nonprofits through custom technology solutions and strategic consulting services.
Here are only some of the services they offer:
- DIY/Third Party Fundraising Strategy
- Peer to Peer Communications Calendars
- Sustainer Program Development and Enhancement
- OmniChannel Fundraising Campaign Development and Execution
- Automation of Donor Touch-Points and Stewardship
- Donor Acquisition Campaigns
- Constituent Relationship Management (CRM) Solutions
- Nonprofit Website and Content Management System
- Reporting and Analytics Tools
- Nonprofit Website Architecture and Design
- Quality Assurance Testing
They also have expertise in Blackbaud, Salesforce, WordPress, Drupal, and other leading nonprofit software.
They are based in New York and some of their clients include the Asthma Society of Canada and Earthjustice.
6. Campbell & Company
Campbell & Company have been helping nonprofits succeed for over 42 years. They work with nonprofits from all sectors: Arts & Culture, Associations, Environment, Healthcare, Higher Education, Human Services, and more.
Their team can help you:
- Build your fundraising program
- Launch a big fundraising campaign
- Refine your strategic vision
- Recruit the right talent
- Analyze your database
- Develop lasting relationships with donors
- Identify new prospects
- Craft the story that inspires giving
They pair qualitative and quantitative methodologies to improve your fundraising practices and can help you with planning, annual giving, campaigns, leadership transitions, online giving, planned giving, and more.
They have offices in Chicago, Los Angeles, Portland, the San Francisco Bay Area, Seattle, and Washington, DC. Some of their clients include the San Francisco Opera, German Marshall Fund, and Indiana State University.
7. Graham – Pelton
Graham – Pelton works across the entire philanthropic landscape and provides sector-specific expertise tailored to each client’s unique needs.
They work with nonprofits in Higher Education, Healthcare, with Independent Schools and Professional Services, Faith-Based Organizations, and more.
They offer consulting services in:
- Giving and Philanthropy
- Organizational Effectiveness
- Business Intelligence
The Graham-Pelton team can help propel your fundraising further and ensure a brighter future for your nonprofit by offering tailored services such as annual giving, planned giving, major gifts, campaign strategy, communications, donor relations, member relations, etc.
Graham-Pelton is a particularly good choice for educational institutions.
They have offices across the United States and Europe and some of their clients include the University of Oxford and American Psychiatric Association Foundation.
8. Ter Molen Watkins & Brandt
Ter Molen Watkins & Brandt is a nonprofit consulting firm that provides expert counsel to help nonprofits realize their visions of the future. While their services also include Planning & Leadership, Research & Analytics, and Executive Recruitment, their Fundraising Counsel really stands out.
Their Fundraising Counsel service helps with:
- Campaign Planning
- Campaign Counsel
- Development Assessment
- Annual Giving
- Major Giving
- Planned Giving
- Corporations and Foundations
- Government Funding
- Development Communications
- Volunteer Training
Ter Molen Watkins & Brandt uses their expertise as fundraisers and consultants to provide actionable and realistic recommendations that are specific to each of their clients.
They are particularly great at helping launch successful capital campaigns by helping you develop a thoughtful strategy and strengthen your development program.
They are based in Chicago, Illinois and some of their clients include CARE and St. Louis Symphony Orchestra.
9. Brian Lacy And Associates
Brian Lacy and Associates is a fundraising and data services firm with more than 30 years of experience. From annual giving solutions to major and principal giving strategies, they have helped more than 400 nonprofits raise more than $1 Billion in philanthropic support.
They can help your nonprofit team regardless of your size and budget. Brian Lacy and Associates offers consulting services in:
- Consulting and Audits
- Data and Wealth
- Solicitations and Appeals
- Marketing and Communications
- Constituent Services
When it comes to fundraising, they help nonprofits with donor acquisition lists rental and purchasing, online fundraising, text to pledge services, phone messaging, silent auctions, annual giving, and more.
They create solutions propelled by data to help with donor outreach and engagement.
They are located in Houston Texas and have worked, among others, with MIT Alumni and The University of Iowa.
10. Aspire Research Group
Aspire Research Group is a fundraising research consulting firm specializing in major gifts and campaigns. Their work focuses on prospect research, strengthening relationships with donors, and navigating through data, information, tactics, and strategies to raise the funds your organization needs.
Aspire Research Group is an excellent choice if you’re looking to build up or better understand your donor base.
Their team can assist you during a major gift initiative or a fundraising campaign with services such as:
- Prospect Identification
- Relationship Mapping
- Donor Profiling
- Prospect Management
- Wealth Screening
Their programs provide you with flexible research services by offering three different tiers: Monthly Research Support, A La Carte Support, and Essentials for the Successful Fundraising Research Program. Each one of these tiers differs in services provided and the level of support given.
They are located in Tampa, Florida.
11. Westfall Gold
Attracting major donors usually means organizing great events. And if you’re looking to get support with organizing a major fundraising event, Westfall Gold is the right consulting firm for you.
Westfall Gold is an implementer of major donor events with a proven history of 375 events that have generated over $830 million.
Westfall Major Donor Events average a 5:1 return on investment—some lower, many much higher. They help you turn your newly acquired donors into major donors over a course of a single weekend and deliver incredible value in terms of building community with and among your donors.
Specifically, their services include:
- Creative Services
- Event Consulting and Production
- Speaker Recruitment
- Event Management
From live scripting, designing powerpoints, animated presentations, banners, giving portfolios and powerful videos, coaching your speakers and hosts, negotiating with resorts, curating the right gift bags, meal planning, sourcing speakers, and managing the lights – this consulting firm has got you covered.
They are headquartered in Atlanta, Georgia, and have worked with clients like Cure and Oakland City University.
12. Thompson | Habib | Denison Inc
Thompson | Habib | Denison Inc., or THD, has been helping top nonprofit organizations navigate the challenges that come with modern fundraising since 1989!
THD is a fully integrated fundraising agency with expertise across a variety of nonprofit fundraising channels. They help nonprofits achieve their fundraising goals by executing multi-channel fundraising campaigns that increase lifetime donor value, acquire new donors, and advance their client’s missions.
They are committed to helping organizations in a variety of ways including:
- Digital and Direct Mail Fundraising
- Analytics & Modeling
- Monthly Giving Optimization
- Mid-Level Fundraising Strategy
- Lapsed Donor Recapture
- Advertising Creative Design and Production
Their team of experts design fundraising strategies tailored to fit each client’s distinctive needs and expectations.
They are based in Boston.
13. CCS Fundraising
CCS is a strategic fundraising firm that partners with nonprofits for transformational change. They plan, manage, and implement programs that achieve fundraising goals and mission impact, and have been doing so for over 70 years.
They have worked with a variety of nonprofit organizations: academic medicine, research, hospitals, children’s hospitals, cancer centers, voluntary health organizations, hospices; primary, secondary, and higher education institutions; conservation organizations, animal welfare organizations, zoos, national parks, and more.
Their services include:
- Campaign Management
- Strategy, Evaluation & Planning
- Data Analytics
- Interim Development Management
- Learning and Leadership Development
CCS Fundraising has offices across the United States and Europe and some of their clients include Jazz at Lincoln Center (JALC) and ASPCA.
14. Heller Consulting
Heller Consulting is a team of 35+ experts fully versed in the most complex aspects of cross-departmental cloud-based integrated systems. They are an excellent choice for local organizations (which is how they started), but today Heller also guides national and international organizations.
They help nonprofits develop system roadmaps and marketing plans utilizing sophisticated CRM platforms and multi-channel communications strategies.
Heller Consulting offers several key services, most of them focused on nonprofit technology – particularly CRM:
- CRM Strategy and Design
- CRM Implementation and Support
- Online Engagement Strategy
- Higher Education CRM and Fundraising Strategy
When it comes to fundraising, Heller has rich experience planning and implementing marketing automation systems for effective fundraising and communications. They have a clear process for getting nonprofits to use new tools for their automated fundraising and marketing efforts.
They are based in Oakland, California and they have worked with, among many others, American Red Cross and Goodwill.
15. Bentz Whaley Flessner
Bentz Whaley Flessner has been providing fundraising counsel to transform philanthropy for over 30 years. They have provided fundraising consulting services to colleges, universities, and academic medical centers.
The firm offers counsel and assistance for every step of the development process including:
- Alumni Relations
- Annual Giving Programs
- Development Audits
- Donor Relations and Stewardship
- Feasibility Studies
- Fundraising Strategies
- Prospect Development
Bentz Whaley Flessner can help you with developing a strategic and customized business plan including philanthropic priorities, endowment, capital, marketing and positioning, staffing, and implementation. They also provide coaching of major gifts staff, strategies for prospect management, review of fundraiser portfolio balance and management, communications and messaging strategies, campaign timing, and tools to support the overall goals of your nonprofit.
Their Annual Giving Program service helps you look at your strategic objectives, program planning and implementation, staff training, and benchmark research, to develop and help you implement annual giving strategies to reach your fundraising goals.
They have offices in Minneapolis, Minnesota, and Washington, DC.
At Pursuant, more than 100 professionals offer practice area expertise in integrated fundraising, donor analytics, insights and experience, and mid-level and major giving.
They are a full-service fundraising agency, and they work across the entire donor pyramid.
Their solutions help you:
- Acquire new donors
- Understand your donors
- Retain your donors
- Develop mid and major donors
- Increase digital engagement
- Integrate campaigns across channels
Before jumping into strategy recommendations, the Pursuant team takes a deep look at your data and then creates an approach that helps you deepen connections with your donors. They guide you to effectively segment your donors to ensure the best donor experience, discover new major donors and move mid-level donors up the donor pyramid, and meet donors where they are to make it easy to both give and engage in online channels.
Pursuant pride themselves in being both data-driven and human-centered. Their Analytics, Insight, and Experience practice goes beyond information and data and focuses on helping you take action by discovering new opportunities and challenging existing beliefs.
They work with nonprofits in four key markets including health and human services, education, athletics, and churches.
Pursuant is headquartered in Dallas, Texas.
17. Fired Up Fundraising
Led by Gail Perry, Fired Up Fundraising focuses primarily on major gift fundraising. With over 75 years of combined experience in the nonprofit world, the team has developed and guided comprehensive and successful organizational development, fundraising programs, and capital campaigns for organizations of all types, size, and culture.
They help nonprofits of all sizes, from local grassroots agencies to large international organizations.
In addition to consulting, they offer webinars, courses, and talks. For example, they’re currently running a 12-month program with 12 systems for fundraising success:
- Building a Culture of Philanthropy to Support Fundraising
- Donor loyalty – How to grow and build your donor base.
- Finding New Major Gift Prospects
- The Big Ask: Closing Major Gifts
- Highly Profitable Fundraising Events
- Building an Engaged, Successful Board
- Creating a Profitable Fundraising Plan
- Direct Mail Campaigns and Annual Fund
- Digital Strategies and Online Presence
- Building a Monthly Giving Program
- Planned Giving to Build Your Endowment
- Capital Campaigns That go Over Goal
They also offer a 10-month long major gift coaching program with a lot of emphasis on how to work effectively with your Board.
Some of their clients include the San Diego Zoo and Duke University.
We get it. Hiring a nonprofit consultant can seem like an unnecessary expense. However, a good consulting firm can make all the difference when it comes to the success of your nonprofit.
When choosing a nonprofit consulting firm, especially a fundraising consulting firm, take the time to review your priorities and to understand which challenges and issues are the most pressing for your nonprofit. You should define your proposed project as clearly as you can. Furthermore, before you proceed with nonprofit consulting, you’ll need approval from your board and development committee.
Take into account your budget, the firm’s expertise, and try to check if their culture would be a good match for yours. Also, request proposals and check references from your top candidates.
Now that you know the top fundraising consulting firms that can help your nonprofit, it’s time to choose the one that’s right for you. If you’re indecisive and trying to choose between a couple, go ahead and book calls with each one to make sure you’re making the right decision for your nonprofit.
Pair your nonprofit consultant with Donorbox’s online donation system to maximize your fundraising strategy and check out our post on how a fundraising consultant can transform your campaign.