Jackie & Me: When a Consultant and Development Director Really Click

By Sheldon Bart

Your working relationships can actually help you raise more funds!

What does it look like when the consultant and the Development Director really click?

For three years, I worked with Jacqueline Ross, VP of Advancement at an innovative Newark, NJ secondary academy serving disadvantaged kids, and the results were sparkling. 

Your own work with fundraising colleagues may benefit from hearing our story.

Teamwork

We conferred by phone constantly and were always on the same page as to what funders were in the pipeline, when the proposal was due, and what information was needed to get the application or proposal submitted. We knew we could count on one another. The work flowed smoothly, and the agency’s ROI (Return on Investment) grew each year to a high of $6.40 to every dollar spent with LAPA, twice the industry benchmark as set by the Better Business Bureau.  

Protective Firewalls

Jackie never felt threatened or nervous about working with a LAPA consultant. On the contrary, she felt liberated.  With me tackling grants, she was free to concentrate on other aspects of fundraising, such as major gifts and special events. That after all is one of the principal benefits of outsourcing in the nonprofit sector, which she well understood. When the financial stewards of her organization mulled cutting corners by canceling our contract, she wouldn’t have it and saved me the ordeal of being summoned for a star chamber inquisition.

Innovation

What I most enjoyed about our partnership (and I think Jackie would agree) was the many times we worked together to develop new programs. Creativity, after all, is said to be one of the key elements of job satisfaction. Most recently, we devised a pioneer program of social and emotional learning for a student population profoundly affected by poverty and shattered families. We pitched it to a funder that had not previously supported Jackie’s school but warmly invited an application and practically guaranteed us a $70,000 award.

I have an extraordinary happy ending to this story. Jackie Ross left that previous position because the school closed, and she is now LAPA Fundraising’s new Director of Grants, and she will bring her special magic to all of our client engagements. I hope that you will meet her soon.

We welcome your comments about this post on the LAPA blog.

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