I recently spoke at APRA’s Prospect Development 2015 conference in New Orleans in response to a request from APRA to present a session on what it’s like to be a consultant and how to plan and make a move from front-line work into consulting. There was a fairly strong desire on the part of attendees to learn more about this, which did not surprise me. I remember the things I wondered about when I first entertained the notion of becoming a consultant; in particular, the lack of a clear understanding of how to get from where I was to where I wanted to be.
Whenever I speak at conferences I try very hard to provide attendees with useful takeaways they can implement right way at their organizations. Given the requested subject matter, this was a bit harder than usual – presumably, some participants would be more interested in finding their way to a new career, rather than bringing something back to their current one!
But as I thought about the things I have learned about the actual work of consulting – things I didn’t know before I became a consultant, I realized that many of the strategies and tactics I employ every day would have really helped me when I was a front-line fundraiser, advancement services practitioner, and manager. This became the focus of the first third of my session. My PowerPoint presentation has been included here in PDF format (APRA 2015 – BF). I hope you’ll find it useful, and if you’d like to explore any of the ideas further, I’m happy to talk.
Brandon Ferris, Senior Director of Strategic Services and Fundraising Counsel