Well-Chosen Campaign Committees Are Essential for Success

imageCampaign committees are critical for campaign success. If committees aren’t working well, the campaign will be at risk. Like trying to pilot a boat without pulling the anchor in, poorly functioning committees will weigh you down, hold you back and burn out your motor.

Don’t wait to discover if your committees are fully functional after a campaign has commenced. Use these tips to ensure functionality on the front end:

If you want something done, ask a busy person

Recruit individuals who are both willing and able. Start with a top-notch campaign chair or co-chairs and ask them to suggest other members. How do know you if someone would make an excellent committee chair? Consider what they’ve accomplished in the past. Are they busy and in demand? If so, they are likely candidates. Don’t rush to fill this all-important position with someone who merely has lots of discretionary time. Other committee members will want meetings to be targeted and effective. The chair should, too.

Set high standards, clear expectations and specific outcomes

Don’t understate the work involved. Make this job sound like the challenge it is. True leaders love a challenge. Committee starts with “commit,” so let potential members know they’ll be expected to give their time, talent and resources to the campaign. Quality committee members will want to hear clear expectations upfront. They’ll want every meeting to have an agenda. They’ll want conversations to stick to the agenda, and they’ll want to see the pre-determined goals accomplished in a timely fashion. The higher you set the bar, the more high-octane members you’ll attract to your committees.

Train for consistency, but allow for creativity

Individuals with influence and affluence likely will be people who have experienced success in other areas of life. Even if they have never solicited major gifts, they will have skills that are transferable. There is a difference between following directions and being a leader. You want leaders who can learn from a foundation of tried-and-true fundraising principles, but can offer creative ideas about how to connect with prospects, cultivate relationships and best approach individuals for their gifts.

If you start by recruiting high-caliber committee members, and you train them effectively, you will be well on your way to campaign success. The opposite is also true.

Ross J. Pfannenstiel, Executive Vice President,

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