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Recruit Key Community Leaders to Your Capital Campaign Cabinet

The right capital campaign cabinet is one of the most important indicators of whether your campaign will be successful or not.

Recruit Community Leaders

Involving key community leaders in your project can make all the difference in the world. Your board and staff alone should not try to run a campaign without support of key community leaders. If they do, they miss out on a lot of talent, connections, and money these community leaders can provide to your campaign.

Before recruiting people to serve on the campaign cabinet, your campaign steering committee should review a list of potential donors and try to get those with the greatest potential to give to also become involved in the campaign. A list of corporate and individual donors will be developed through the planning study process and this can serve as the basis for recruiting campaign leadership. It will be vital to include key community leaders in the planning study process. It is much easier to invite these leaders to serve in a campaign capacity if they’ve been included in the planning process.

Recruit Volunteers

Volunteers will also be able to expand the scope of your prospect base and will be far more effective at soliciting their peers than anyone within the organization can be on their own. They may, in fact, be the only ones who can open doors to major donors.

What will the volunteers do? You may need hundreds of volunteers to run a capital campaign. Starting with the campaign leadership, it will be important to find the right person to do the right job. Some volunteers will be needed for planning campaign and events and coordinating campaign publicity, but the majority of campaign volunteers will be involved in the important tasks of identifying, cultivating, and soliciting, and stewarding donors. It is critical to have an organization chart and position description for every volunteer job within the campaign.

How Do You Recruit Volunteers?

The planning study report is the first place to look for potential volunteers. Also, ask your board members, other volunteers, and staff for their suggestions about people who can help. And of course, most campaign volunteers will be inviting other volunteers to join their committee or somehow get involved.

Volunteer recruitment will need to be handled with extreme care. Often, organizations want to jump the gun and start recruiting campaign leadership before they have a clear idea of the expectations for these volunteers. It will be vital to have a campaign plan in place that includes, among other things, position descriptions for all volunteer roles and timelines for each committee.

Trying to fit volunteers into roles after they are recruited is like hiring a staff person and then deciding what the organization wants the person to do. The volunteer recruitment process must be handled just as carefully as one would handle hiring a staff person, with due diligence and thoughtfulness of the best role for this volunteer.

The Campaign Plan Is the Foundation

The campaign plan is the foundation for a successful campaign and will help you get things off to a good start.

The plan should include a brief overview of the process taken by your organization that led to the campaign.

A key ingredient of the plan is the campaign organizational chart showing all the various divisions of the campaign and the number of committee people that will be needed to staff all the divisions.

Position descriptions for all volunteers should also be included in the plan along with a timeline for each committee and an overall time schedule.

Volunteers should not be recruited until the plan is completed. It will be critical to show your volunteers that a well-thought-out plan, including expectations of volunteers, has been developed so they understand their role and the time and monetary expectations that will be asked of volunteers.

The principle groups of volunteers that will be involved are members of the campaign cabinet, which includes chairs of all the various committees that will be involved in the campaign.

I’ll write more about the categories of volunteers in a future article.

Linda Lysakowski, ACFRE

About the Contributor: Linda Lysakowski, ACFRE

Linda serves as Acquisitions Editor for CharityChannel Press and For the GENIUS Press. In this role she has edited dozens of books.

In addition to her role as editor, she is an accomplished author. Linda is the author of:

Recruiting and Training Fundraising Volunteers
The Development Plan
Fundraising as a Career: What, Are You Crazy?
Capital Campaigns: Everything You NEED to Know
Are You Ready for a Capital Campaign workbook
Raise More Money from Your Business Community
Raise More Money from Your Business Community—The Workbook
Fundraising for the GENIUS, 1st and 2nd editions
The Matriarch (a novel).

She is also a contributing author to:

The Fundraising Feasibility Study—It’s Not About the Money

YOU and Your Nonprofit Board


Co-editor of:

YOU and Your Nonprofit and The Nonprofit Consulting Handbook

The Nonprofit Consulting Playbook


And co-author of:

The Essential Nonprofit Fundraising Handbook
The Leaky Bucket: What’s Wrong With Your Fundraising…And How You Can Fix It

The New Donor

Nonprofit Strategic Planning

Quick Guide to Developing Your Case for Support


A graduate of Alvernia University and AFP’s Faculty Training Academy, she is a Master Teacher. Linda is one of slightly more than one hundred professionals worldwide to hold the Advanced Certified Fund Raising Executive designation. She is president of Linda Lysakowski, LLC, dedicated to inspiring creativity and philanthropy. In her thirty plus years in nonprofit work, Linda has managed capital campaigns, helped hundreds of nonprofit organizations achieve their development goals, and trained more than 30,000 development professionals in Canada, Mexico, Bermuda, Egypt, and most of the fifty United States.


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