A Capital Campaign Planning Committee is one of our favorite tools to help move your campaign forward quickly early in the game.
We’ve written post after post about
- how this type of committee pulls in the right people;
- why we love this strategy;
- how to invite people to join; and
- how to put them to work.
We created this cornerstone post to summarize all our recommendations and best thinking on Capital Campaign Planning Committees — so that you can quickly put this smart strategy to work for you.
What’s a Campaign Planning Committee?
It’s a group of the most powerful, wealthiest, wisest and most influential volunteers you can invite to the table. You assemble them to give you advice early in the planning stages of your campaign.
It’s a superb tool to engage your most important potential campaign donors AND the special people you hope will actually chair and lead your campaign.
Why should you create a committee?
There are three reasons to create a campaign planning committee:
- Engaging these important people early on will make them feel like insiders.
- You really WANT their advice and counsel before you embark on your campaign.
- It’s a wonderful way to cultivate these individuals for a lead gift to the campaign – or a significant leadership role in the campaign.
What’s the job of a Campaign Planning Committee?
You’ll want to share a full job description with members when you ask them to join. They want to know exactly what they are being asked to do.
Here’s a job description of a committee that is organized to oversee a Feasibility Study. They will approve the case statement, the list of people to be interviewed, and the final recommendations of the study.
Here’s another job description for a committee who will be engaged in all aspects of broader campaign planning: the campaign goal, case for support, campaign funding objectives, lead donor prospect list, etc.
What is the scope of a Campaign Planning Committee’s agenda?
In addition to the committee member’s job description, you’ll want to lay out a full agenda of their work when you enlist them.
Here’s a complete overview of the scope and purpose of a Planning Committee that will only meet twice.
Here’s another outline of a Planning Committee Scope of Work that will meet three times.
You should, of course, change this agenda to meet your own planning needs.
Who should you invite to join the committee?
You will want to identify and enlist the very best people for the job. They are the most connected and influential leaders you can find.
They need to be extremely high level people who have the potential to be lead campaign donors and/or future Campaign Chairs or Campaign Steering Committee members.
When enlisting members, start with the most well-known individuals. They will be a magnet for the other members to join.
What’s the timing? How long does the committee work?
A Planning Committee is only in action for 3 to 4 months, and meets 3 or 4 times. It’s a short term commitment for the members of the committee.
If you ask VIP’s — who can be extremely busy — for a short commitment that has a strategic, high-level focus, many of them will say yes.
Then, once they are fully engaged in your planning, these sought-after people are much more likely to say “yes” to a greater role as leaders and donors.
How should you invite Campaign Planning Committee members?
Here’s a nifty letter of invitation I used in a campaign in North Carolina for a community college campaign.
This letter also describes the committee member’s role and the overall agenda of the committee.
How large should your committee be?
This a critically important step you can take to set up your mega campaign for success.
But that doesn’t mean the committee should be big. In fact, we think it should be small — ideally 8-14 people.
Why are campaign volunteer committees so important?
Volunteer committees are essential for a successful capital campaign. When you pull high-level people together, magic can start to happen.
When they are in a group, these individuals can get excited and enthusiastic about your organization and its vision.
They often begin taking on responsibility; they encourage each other; they open doors you could never reach; and they usually have advice and a perspective that is absolutely invaluable.
Other questions about Campaign Planning Committees?
If there’s anything that you’re still wondering about a campaign planning committee, we’d love to hear your comments. We’re here to help!