For our fourth EUConsult interview we talked with Holger Menze. He shared his experience about working in fields that are in need of consultancy. Why consultancy is important for fundraising, Holder told us from his personal experience.
Can you briefly say something about yourself?
I’m a typical career-changer and have been a classical ballet dancer before I entered the not-for-profit sector. I started with commercial telephone marketing and quite soon switched to telephone fundraising. I worked my way up in that field and am managing director of the FRC Spenden Manufaktur GmbH since 2009.
What does consulting mean to you?
Consulting for me means enabling my customers to live up to their vision and execute their mission the best possible way. There are two main important aspects in consultancy for me: Often, consultants have an expertise in fields that is absent or underdeveloped with their customers. Additionally, there’s always the outside view on the way organizations work that reveals their lack of institutional readiness. The fine art of consulting then is to guide your customers in finding out about that lack themselves, so they won’t put the blame on you.
Some organizations think that they don’t need consultants – why have you been hired?
Mostly I’m hired for my expertise. Telephone-fundraising in Germany still is a niche and not many people are knowledgeable on that field. There is a lot of insecurity due to the data-privacy regulations, because the use of telephone and also internet fall under the e-privacy regulation which isn’t ready yet and the current draft at this point widely differs from the daily practice.
What has been your biggest success as a consultant?
To my knowledge, I co-introduced legacy calling in the German market. For some odd reason, the Spenden Manufaktur is the only telephone fundraising agency that does legacy calling in Austria as well. Also I was chair of the Quality Circle Telephone-Fundraising that introduced quality standards for telephone fundraising that still are valid today.
Would you like to share something that did not succeed?
We tried a member-get-member campaign once that worked well in the USA and also did okay in the Netherlands. It required a little investment (ca. 8000 EUR) and we promised the organization to take over the investment in case of failure. And it failed big time. We still managed to turn it into a success for the organization because we called several other campaigns for them and didn’t charge for that service until the lost investment paid off.
What type of organizations are your main clients?
Mostly organizations with a good institutional readiness where fundraising is well established. Telephone-fundraising can be a tool by itself, but can also be combined with mailings or F2F-campaigns.
What did you learn from the Corona pandemic?
Strangely enough, there were ethical concerns on whether or not organizations should ask for money in times of a pandemic, especially on the phone, and even more specifically about legacy campaigns. Meanwhile, it’s very clear that the opposite is true; people have been at home a lot being emotional and wanting to help. As for the un-ethicalness: If you think fundraising is unethical in a pandemic, you might want to check on your mission and vision up to the point that maybe you’re in the wrong profession. The Corona pandemic clearly helped to raise momentum for telephone fundraising.