This month, the Donor By Design Team is discussing campaign readiness: the things that (should) happen before you begin a major fundraising campaign. Today, Jon and Sara share the early steps in recruiting your Leadership Cabinet.
Recently, we touched on what you should look for as you build your Leadership Cabinet. Like any important relationship, you have to take the time early on to develop a meaningful connection.
First, build your wish list of who you’d like on the cabinet. Be bold and dream big. Often your feasibility study (if you asked the right questions) will afford you a good list of potential cabinet members.
Now rate the list based on the four characteristics we shared in the first blog: Interest, Access, Influence and Affluence. While some may be stronger in some areas than others, you’ll want to be sure they all rate fairly high overall. For example, it’s great if someone has high interest in your mission, if they don’t have connections in the community, they aren’t a great fit for your cabinet. The same can be said for affluence. If they are extraordinarily wealthy but aren’t a respected leader, take them off your list. (But don’t lose those names altogether. Chances are good they will support your campaign another way.)
Hopefully by now you have a good group of names who can help lead your campaign to success. Assign a key connector to each name. Who can your identified leader not say “no” to? This key connector can make the first call or introduction to inquire about their desired involvement in your campaign.
It’s common that someone you’ve identified to lead might not be ready to say “yes” at the first request. They may just need a bit more cultivation. During this early recruitment stage, we often encourage our clients to host a Gathering of Leaders.
You’ll likely have your Campaign Chairs identified at this point and possibly other cabinet members. They can serve as hosts and connectors at this gathering. Invite your “maybes” and other prospective cabinet members to give them a chance to see who else is involved in the campaign. This gathering also provides an opportunity to learn more about your vision, the campaign, and what the role of a leader might be. Make sure your connectors follow up after this meeting. Chances are good you’ll have a few more cabinet members after this event.
Each leader will likely need a different engagement and recruitment strategy. But it’s worth it. This early stage of campaign readiness takes patience, but when done right makes all the difference to the success of your campaign.