Your capital campaign’s success will be almost inevitable if you recruit effective volunteers to serve on your campaign committees.
You’ll want to enlist people who are powerful and generous and committed to your cause.
4 Tips for Recruiting the Best Volunteers
If you get the right people, they’ll energize your campaign! So here are four important volunteer recruitment tips. They’ll greatly improve your chances of getting the volunteers you want to agree to work on your campaign.
1. Do your homework before recruiting anyone.
First, write up a job description for the committee you are creating. Include what their responsibilities will be, how long they’ll be expected to serve and how often they will meet. Be sure to include a brief description of the goals of the committee.
Then develop a list of the people you would most like to have on your steering committee. Your list should include people who are known to be effective — people who have reputations for getting things done. And, of course, you want to include people who have the ability to make significant gifts to your campaign and are committed to your cause.
2. Recruit your capital campaign chair first.
Start by recruiting your committee chair. There are three important reasons to enlist your chair first:
- Most people will be more likely to accept a leadership role if they have a say in whose on the committee.
- If you can get your chair on board first, your job of recruiting the rest of the committee will be easier. Knowing that you have an effective chair will make the other recruits feel more confident about the potential for success.
- And finally, your chair will help enlist the rest of the committee, perhaps even adding some people you hadn’t thought you had a chance of recruiting.
When you enlist your campaign chair, be sure you know why that person is the best person for the job.
It’s a far stronger approach to select the perfect person for the job and then tell them why you’ve selected them than it is to ask them to serve because you need a committee chair.
John, we’re putting together our steering committee and we badly need a chair. Would you please help us out by serving in that role?
John, I’ve been talking to people about who the very best person would be to chair our campaign steering committee. And your name keeps coming up.
You bring exactly the skills we need to make this committee fly. You have great stature in our community. You’re passionate about our cause. You’re well organized and you follow through. Everyone I’ve spoke to agrees that you’d be the perfect chair. What can we do to get you to say yes?
IMPORTANT NOTE: This winning approach won’t work if it’s not genuine.
Of course, your potential chair will want to see the job description and to know who you have in mind for the rest of the committee—both of which you already have. Once they see that you’ve done your homework, they’ll be more inclined to serve.
3. Enlist the rest of the committee
Once you’ve enlisted your committee chair, work with that person to review and revise the list of people you want to recruit for the committee. Then, set about asking them to join the committee in the same way you asked your chair. And, of course, get your chair to help!
Everyone wants to know that they will be in good company if they agree to work on your campaign. So show them the list of the other people you are recruiting and let them know who has already agreed to serve.
4. Avoid common recruiting mistakes.
- Don’t beg people to participate. Instead, tell them why they’ve been chosen.
- Never downplay the work of the committee and it’s importance to the success of your campaign.
- Never tell people you want them just for their name. It’s demeaning and will undermine your success.
- Don’t recruit people in a group setting. Always ask one-to-one.
A strong capital campaign committee and chair will set you up to succeed. Few things in your campaign are more important than assembling great capital campaign committees.
Committed, powerful people who have energy and excitement will set your capital campaign up for success. So don’t settle for anyone just because they are willing to serve.
The Bottom Line
When you recruit volunteers for your campaign, go after the very best people you can imagine. Ask them to serve on your capital committee in a way that will make them want to say “YES.”
Don’t beg them.
Don’t downplay what you want them to do.
Instead, let them know how important they are to the success of your campaign and inspire them by the impact they’re participation will make.
For information about putting together a Capital Campaign Planning Committee, see this article published in GuideStar.