There are no shortcuts. I screen all requests for consulting time, usually by email or via a pre-booked brief phone/Skype chat. My PA does not make my appointments. I wish she did, but I have had too many people over the years arrive for a paid session, only to find, seven minutes in to the meeting, that they are not going to get what they are paying for. Hence my policy of establishing the purpose of a consultancy session.

The list of declined meetings’ topics grows by the week:

  • A for-profit company or sole trader with a product or service for which people within the target market are impoverished, wanting to fundraise to pay for their offering.
  • Founders of an in-formation (or yet to be formed) NPO wanting to know how to raise millions within a few months.
  • Managers or trustees of an organisation in severe trouble seeking emergency funding within a few weeks – generally lots of it. Scary!
  • Requests for me to make personal introductions to key donors (and recommend their organisations). Never!
  • Young (under a year old) organisations’ founders wanting to, ‘skip over local donors and raise millions overseas’.
  • Wanting to engage us to be fundraisers on a commission basis – despite our website clearly stating that we never have and never will take a percentage of money raised.

There are no quick fixes and short cuts. Fundraising is tough. It’s a process. It must begin early and donors’ timelines must be appreciated.