After identifying a pool of fundraising consulting firms as the first step, the second step is to refine and narrow the list to those that you deem to be good potential fits with your organization and your specific needs.
A good staring point is to explore the websites of the firms.
- What is each firm’s approach and range of services?
- Who are the clients the firm has served?
- Who are the consultants affiliated with the firm and what is their background?
- Are the consultants’ backgrounds relevant to your institution and/or particular consulting needs?
- Are the consultants full time or only part-time because of other responsibilities?
Based on the information you gather from the websites, preliminarily prioritize the firms either into tiers (A, B and C) or ordinals (1st, 2nd, etc.). Based upon that prioritization, reach out to several of the firms to discuss your needs and interests and understand their previous experience and approach to the service(s) you desire.
Ask each firm about some current or recent clients they have served. Use this conversation as an opportunity to gather information that can be helpful in the development of your request for proposal, establishment of timelines, or refined description of services needed for your organization.
Finally, consider reaching out to one or more of the firm’s current or recent clients to determine those clients’ satisfaction with the firm and the consultants who have served them. What are the strengths? Are there any shortcomings?
Based upon the information you have gathered, determine those firms that should receive your RFP, doing so with confidence that you thoroughly completed the initial due diligence.