Thursday, May 3

When consultants and fundraisers break up

Tom Belford at The Agitator recently responded to Peter Panepento's piece in the Chronicle of Philanthropy titled Bad Consultant Confidential. Belford lists four reasons why fundraisers and consultants split ways:

* The agency/consultant gets intellectually lazy.

* The agency lets service lag. Maybe there's a turnover in agency staff, and the new folks are, well, inferior.

* The client changes leaders, and the new leader wants to rattle the cage, or bring in a trusted accomplice from their past, or just put their own stamp on things.

* The client genuinely outgrows their need for the consultant as in-house capabilities mature, or alternatively, more complex needs of the client outstrip the capabilities of the consultant.
He gives really good explanations of each reason - and I can honestly say that I've actually experienced each of the reasons in action during different "divorces" with consultants during my fundraising lifetime. But there are also a couple lesser known reasons consultant and fundraisers break up:

* If another prospective consultant sends a bigger basket of cookies during the holidays - it could lead to divorce.

* If the consultant destroys the client during a corporate golf outing - a break up could ensue.

* If the consultant is one of those people who complains repeatedly that the fundraising organization doesn't pay invoices within 60 days - they may get kicked to the curb.

* If the consultant has a name that is really hard to pronounce - the fundraiser may end the relationship just to avoid sounding stupid when trying to say their names.

* If the consultant has an ugly corporate logo.

* ...and finally, when cupid strikes between clients and consultants, sober heads often put premature ends to consulting relationships.

It's hard to tell if this list makes any recently fired consultants feel better to know it had nothing to do with their performance... but I bet there are current and former account executives out there that have really good stories to share in the comment section.

No comments: