Professional Fees

Posted by David G Phillips on Aug 9, 2018 5:00:10 PM

There are not many barriers to entry to the fundraising consulting profession.  New people hang out a shingle every day. Some have considerable experience, yet many do not.  All you need is a phone, and/or a website, a laptop and voila, you are and expert—perhaps working in the neighborhood Starbucks as your office.  That is what is great about America.  If you can convince someone that you are an expert, you can earn a good living advising people as to the best course of action.

Fundraising consultants charge fees that run from a low of a few hundred dollars a day, or per project, to as much as $5,000 per day.  Why the disparity?  Because you tend to get what you pay for, and those who have long been successful in this business, command fees commensurate with the demands on our time.  People new to the profession usually charge far less, and often it is because they do not have a body of work that speaks to years of experience, successful outcomes and strong references from past clients.

We don’t really bill for our time or service, although that is the way it is expressed on our contracts and invoices.  We are paid to help bring transformational change to an organization.  We create transformational change by helping them build a solid, growing and sustainable source of funding through a solid major gifts solicitation program that begins with a capital campaign.  That is why we command large fees.  We build them a bigger pipeline, through which millions of future dollars will soon flow.

Our firm, Custom Development Solutions, Inc. (CDS), charges what seem like very expensive rates, when compared to some of our competitors.  Our full-service capital campaign direction runs anywhere from $25,000 to $30,000 per month.  Some firms charge half to two-thirds of what we do, and they seem ‘cheaper’ by comparison.  Our competitors promise to be on site from three, four or six days per month.  We are there onsite a minimum of four days per week, and that campaign director is devoted to the same client on the fifth day of the week, but they are simply working from their home office, so that they get more time in their own community and with their family.

By ensuring that our professionals devote 100% of their work responsibility to ensuring the success of their clients, we have much better rate of success in reaching and exceeding our campaign goals than do most firms.  That is accountability and we are putting together and extraordinarily talented group of fundraising professionals at CDS—professionals that can help you plan and manage a winning capital campaign.

Matthew 6:24, The Bible says, “No one can serve two masters; for a slave will either hate the one and love the other, or be devoted to the one and espies the other. You cannot serve God and Wealth.”

In South Carolina, and many other states, we have laws on the books that prevent someone from freelancing or ‘moonlighting’ while employed by another, unless they are given specific and express approval by their employer.  Why is this? Because someone who is devoted only to you, and concerned only with your wellbeing and success will do a better job.  For the same reasons, we marry one person.

David G. Phillips is President/CEO of Custom Development Solutions (CDS).  David has personally run campaigns which have raised over $750 million for nonprofits all over the world.  He has built a team of professionals at CDS that have raised over $2.5 billion the world over.  He has written, taught and lectured extensively on major gifts fundraising and capital campaigns.  David and his family live in Charleston, SC.  You may contact him at: or 800-761-3833.  Learn more at:

Custom Development Solutions, Inc. (CDS) is among the most sought after fundraising consulting firms specializing in the strategic planning and tactical execution of capital campaigns for non-profits throughout the United States and Canada.  If you have a fundraising question, please call CDS at 800-761-3833 or send an email to


Topics: Campaign Feasibility and Planning Studies, capital campaign, capital campaigns, Capital Campaigns, CDS, Custom Development Solutions, fundraising, Fundraising Principles, Major Gifts, professionals

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