If I were to ask you who you would like to have as your capital campaign chair, you’d probably already have candidates in mind. At the very least, you’d know the kind of person you’re looking for.
- Someone with the resources to make a lead gift.
- A leader in your community whose opinion influences others.
- A person whom other people respect and look up to.
Finally, and at least as important, you want someone who follows through…who does what they says they’re going to do in a timely way.
Getting all of these qualities in one person is a tall order, but getting a capital campaign chair with those qualities is worth some serious effort.
Recruit a great campaign chair and your campaign will succeed.
Responsible leaders with money and good sense are worth their weight in gold. (literally!)
Because recruiting someone of that stature to be the face of your capital campaign signals to other influential people in your community that your efforts are both worth supporting and likely to succeed.
Thanks to the presence of just this one leader, the perceived risk of being involved in your campaign goes down – and the benefits of being connected go up.
Presto! Other people will want to get involved too.
Can Your Campaign Attract that Kind of Leadership?
You may be reading this and thinking it sounds great, but you doubt that your organization will ever be able to attract someone like that.
If you start working on it early and strategically, you, too, have a chance of recruiting a great chair for your capital campaign. Here’s how…
Begin by doing some research in your community to find out who fits the bill. There are probably at least three or four folks who do. And if you start asking around, people will tell you who they are.
Remember, you’re looking for people who have enough wealth to make a large gift, are magnets for success, and are who responsible individuals who do what they promise.
Great people like that can’t hide, even if they want to! So start asking people you know who fits that description. Create a little list of the names you gather.
Once you’ve got your list, start doing some homework to find out who among them has a reason to be interested in your organization.
The reasons will be varied and some even surprising. Here are just a few examples.
- Perhaps your organization has served one of their relatives.
- Maybe they have a childhood connection to your mission.
- It’s even possible that they’re looking for an opportunity for their grown son or daughter to get involved in and learn from a capital campaign.
(If you think that last reason is ridiculous, think again. I’ve seen it several times. In one capital campaign I worked on, the ideal campaign chair asked that his daughter serve as chair and then fully stood behind her through the campaign, making sure she – and the organization — succeeded.)
The Perfect Campaign Chair May Not Be On Your Board
The perfect person may be willing to chair your campaign even if they haven’t served on your board or been closely involved.
Because your perfect campaign chair probably isn’t interested in bake sales, day to day planning, or any of the other things working boards often do.
But your perfect chair might be interested in helping your organization make a major leap forward and do more good in the community. It may suit her better to help with a capital campaign without being stuck on your “working board.”
How will you find out why they might want to serve as your chair?
Research your chair prospects online and talk with the people who know them. In fact, you should also make an appointment to talk with them about your capital campaign. (If you can’t get an appointment, ask a friend who can to help you open that door.)
No, don’t ask them to chair your campaign during the first meeting! That’d be silly.
But do tell them about your campaign and why you’re embarking on it. Ask them for suggestions, ideas, and advice. In fact, you should ask them who they think would be the ideal chair.
If you listen carefully, you’ll start to find out where there might be a connection between their interests and yours. In fact, if they’ve agreed to meet with you, there’s probably some connection!
Your efforts to find a great chair will yield powerful benefits–even if you’re not successful.
- You’ll identify the really great people in your community.
- You’ll start to build a relationship with some of them–a relationship you want whether or not they chair your capital campaign.
- You’ll get new insights about your project and how it looks to others.
- And you’ll start to engage some of those powerful folks in your success.
Now don’t get me wrong. In the best of all worlds, someone who fits the bill will already be involved in your organization.
But if you don’t have the right person – YET – don’t settle for someone else just because she’s easy to get.
There aren’t very many great leaders in any community, so these people are in high demand. Unless they already have a deep connection with you, recruiting them for your campaign won’t be easy. But it will be worth your while!
Even if all of your efforts don’t land you the perfect capital campaign chair, your work to get one will set you up for success.
You’ll build relationships with the most influential people in your community. You’ll get to know more about what they want. And they might well become your informal advisers, even if they don’t chair your campaign.
Don’t settle for easy. Any campaign chair worth having won’t be easy to get.
Have the courage to look for and recruit the very best campaign chair you can find. I guarantee that your capital campaign will benefit from your efforts!