Hiring a Fundraising Coach

If you’re looking to raise more money this year, you might want to consider hiring a fundraising coach. 

Why would you need a coach? Well, for starters, too many fundraisers are left out to dry. They have to figure out how to engage with donors with limited time and few resources. If that sounds like you, a coach can help save you time and make the most of your resources—as well as help you raise more funds.  

There are some amazing coaches out there who can help, but how do you know if you need a coach? And how do you figure out which one is right for you?

Here are some great questions to ask yourself before hiring a fundraising coach.

Do you have a manager, supervisor, or mentor who is teaching you how to fundraise and supporting you along the way?

No? A coach is a great idea.

Do you find that your fear, assumptions about donors, and general icky feeling about fundraising hold you back?

Yes? Definitely time for a coach. 

Do you struggle with imposter syndrome and question whether you have what it takes?

Yes? You’re past due for a coach. Life doesn’t have to be this way. And you do have what it takes!

Do you need a strategic thought partner and someone who’s been there to bounce ideas off of?

The right fundraising coach can be that person for you.

Do you have the money to invest in a coach or, more importantly, are you willing to do what it takes to get the money for a coach?

Yes? Then do it. Pull from the consulting budget. Pull from the in-person events budget that you’re not really dipping into right now. The right fundraising coach can help you generate funds that surpass your investment.

Are you determined to grow, change and become a better version of you?

Time for a coach! 

How do I know if a fundraising coach is the right one for me? 

Here are some questions to ask yourself when evaluating your options:

  • Do I aspire to be more like them? Are they a respectable, trustworthy, and kind human being?
  • Do I enjoy being in their world? Do I enjoy reading their content, watching their webinars, and following them on social media?
  • Do I aspire to accomplish the fundraising results that they have accomplished? Are they steps ahead of where I wanna be? Have they walked the walk?
  • Do I learn from them already—even before I’ve hired them? Are they insightful? If the answer is no, don’t even consider them.
  • Do they inspire me? When I’m around them or take in their content, do I want to become a better version of myself? Risk more? Step up? Am I more excited about my work?
  • Do they give me the kick in the butt I need? Or do they tell me what they think I wanna hear (in hopes of closing a sale)? Fundraising coaches are there to help you grow as a leader, fundraiser, and human being—not necessarily to be your friend. Sometimes they will need to say things that risk the relationship or what you think of them in order to help you get to where you wanna go. Leveling up requires truth telling in love.
  • Do we have the same values? Or do you just want the results they have? Let me tell you from personal experience: The fact that a coach has gotten good results is not enough of a reason to hire them. Why? They can have results and lack integrity. It’s best to pick a coach that has similar or the same values as you. If it’s not clear, then you probably aren’t aligned. If you have to ask or dig around to find out if someone believes Black Lives Matter when that’s something that deeply matters to you, then you probably already have your answer. By the way, Black Lives Matter. Period. Here’s more about where I stand
  • Do other people I respect also learn from them and have good things to say? Sometimes social proof is everything.
  • Do I feel pressured—like I should work with them? Do they have icky sales tactics that make me feel uncomfortable? If so, run for the hills. Going off the point above, social proof doesn’t matter if you feel gross about how they work or at the thought of working with them. Trust yourself. Work with someone you want to work with. 
  • Do they invest in coaching themselves? If they don’t, why would they ask you to invest in one? The “practice what you preach” adage comes to mind here.

You should have a high bar when it comes to hiring a coach. You’re trusting them to guide and lead you, not just professionally but personally too. Your fundraising coach needs to be someone you hope to become more like as a human being, not just in professional accomplishments. 

Do a search of your own. Ask around. Make it your mission to invest in yourself so that you can invest in others on an even greater level and not burn out in the process. 

No matter what you do: Take doing nothing completely off the table. If you know it’s time to get a fundraising coach and level up personally and professionally—then take action right now. Your organization, your mission, your community, and you are worth the investment. 

If you’re interested in working with me as your coach, you can check out my flagship group coaching program, CourageLab™. It’s a 6-week program that will help you get the mindset, internal courage, and strategy to raise major gifts that make major change. Plus, you’ll get to connect with and learn from other ambitious nonprofit leaders like you. And when I say major gifts, I mean $10k+ from individuals. 

If I’m not the coach for you, all good. Here are a few other recommendations: 

Kishshana Palmer is an incredible leader, and I couldn’t recommend working with her enough. She is an organizational leadership coach. Sabrina Walker Hernandez is a fundraising pro and coach. Or you can work with me as your major gifts coach in a group setting or 1:1, given my availability. 

Need a place to start to find the right nonprofit consultant for your organization? Check out our nonprofit consultant directory!

Julie Ordoñez
Julie Ordoñez is the founder of CourageLab, a 6 week group coaching accelerator for nonprofit founders, EDs and fundraisers ready to double their individual giving. Learn more at julieordonez.com.