The Feasibility Study is completed and your Board has voted to move forward with a capital campaign. Some around the boardroom have a skeptical look on their faces; others are excited, ready to roll up their sleeves and get started. Everyone realizes that the organization has need, but they also wonder how much of this gargantuan task is going to depend on them. Will they be required to ask for gifts? Will they have to ask their friends for money?
For a capital campaign to be successful, it will need the support of not only Board leadership but other leaders within the community as well. These campaigns need a volunteer group who is passionate about the organization, its mission and its values. In many cases, more depends upon who asks for money than the amount asked. The top-level leaders that will be telling the story and soliciting gifts must be able to identify with and be involved with the campaign for such an effort to succeed.
Like building blocks in a child’s playroom, where each block has to be placed carefully on top of the other in order to build the tower, building a strong Steering Committee requires that activities build one on another:
- Active Board members. Board members and executive directors are the pillars of an organization. No matter how slick the print pieces and brochures look and no matter how long an organization has been operating, without an active Board and a strong leader who is qualified, volunteers will not follow.
- Built with careful planning. Good Steering Committees are not started overnight. Identification of interested and supportive community volunteers begins during the Feasibility Study. They are cultivated and recruited for their campaign experiences, the organization’s specific needs, connections in the community and their support of your organization’s plans.
- Community Assets. Nonprofit leaders and Board members must be highly visible in their community. Attracting and retaining strong committee members can be a simpler process when you see them on a regular basis at association meetings and community events.
- Determined. Steering Committees must be able to withstand turbulence. Campaigns go through periods where gifts are slow to close and volunteers become apathetic. It requires a strong motivator, leader, cheerleader and occasionally, a good sense of humor to stay the course and complete the work of the committee.
- Enjoy! Be certain that your Steering Committee celebrates. Celebrate finalizing your Committee, your first major gift, the completion of the Inner Family phase and your final gift. Small goals, baby steps and building blocks finish the “tower”.
To further discuss how your organization can build a strong Steering Committee, contact me directly through Jeffrey Byrne + Associates, Inc. at firstname.lastname@example.org.