I recently accepted an invitation to attend the 3rd Annual Summit on Philanthropy held at Colorado College in Colorado Springs. I was curious because my book, THE COMPREHENSIVE GUIDE TO A SUCCESSFUL FUND RAISING GOLF TOURNAMENT, does not aggressively recommend contracting with a professional fundraiser. My expectation was that I would find independent fund raising professionals who make their living raising money for organizations. This was not the case.
Now, this is not to reflect negatively on this group at all. Before I scheduled my attendance, I visited their website, http://www.afpnet.org. "The Association of Fundraising Professionals (AFP) represents more than 30,000 members in 206 chapters throughout the world, working to advance philanthropy through advocacy, research, education and certification programs. The association fosters development and growth of fundraising professionals and promotes high ethical standards in the fundraising profession."
What I found was that those in attendance represented organizations dependent, in large part, on donations and funding from both public and private sources. There were huge organizations, like the Penrose-St. Francis Health Foundation (hospitals and health care) and Care and Share as well as smaller ones like the Colorado Springs Chamber Music group.
I am sure there are fund raising individuals and firms out there willing and able to take on nonprofit and charity organization fund raising projects. It might not be a bad idea to ask if they are certified members of the AFP as well as being active in the Chamber of Commerce and Better Business Bureau. Spend some time reviewing the AFP web site http://www.afpnet.org and then contact your local chapter to recommend a contact or confirm membership. If your organization has a director and a staff, look into joining the AFP if you like what you see.