Created By: Victoria BeckerSeptember 7, 2023 A pivotal component of any successful fundraising campaign is having effective, capable, and proven leadership who can connect with donors in a meaningful and confident manner. Beyond being the catalyst for transformational change, campaigns are the perfect opportunity to engage long-standing supporters in a new and exciting way as well as bring new faces into the fold of your nonprofit organization. Diversity of perspective and experience will broaden your organization’s reach and allow you to attract new donors, re-engage lapsed donors, and encourage existing donors to stretch their giving. By having the right people at the forefront of your campaign, you can maximize resonance across constituencies. Below are 4 steps you can take to effectively leverage your volunteer leadership from the campaign planning stage through the finish line. 1. Clearly outline volunteer leadership roles and responsibilities to determine the right campaign leadership structure. Every organization has different needs. In enlisting volunteer leadership, it’s critical to explicitly outline expectations of leaders to determine the correct and most effective assortment of people to serve at the helm of your campaign. Early in campaign planning, it is important to clearly outline roles and responsibilities of volunteer leadership to address the gaps your organization is looking to fill. Are you looking for a high-net-worth individual with the capacity to make a lead-level gift? Are you looking for a well-connected individual with a strong fundraising background who could facilitate introductions on your behalf? Are you looking to tap into new prospects or re-engage donors within a certain region? Are you looking for subject matter experts to lend credibility to your campaign? Once you have determined the roles your volunteer leaders will assume, use this to inform the right leadership structure. Depending on the size of your organization and your leadership prospects, consider grouping leaders into sub-committees or divisions based on the duties you would like them to fulfill. By organizing this group with clear responsibilities and expectations from the outset, your campaign will be set up for success as you identify the right prospects that fit the bill. 2. Identify your volunteer leaders. In determining who might be the right volunteer leaders to support your campaign, consider who has demonstrated commitment to your organization and is a relevant figure within its cause space. Who are the most engaged and passionate volunteers, contributors, or advocates at your organization? These are likely the people who will be the most effective in leading fundraising campaigns. Campaign leadership is especially critical in expanding an organization’s network to new donors. To assess who might be the best fit for this role in particular, consider what audiences your organization has historically struggled to tap into and who might be able to bridge that gap. Volunteer leadership provides the opportunity to connect with new prospect pools through fresh representation beyond conventional organizational leadership. As mentioned above, bear in mind the roles and responsibilities outlined at the start of campaign planning and lean on volunteer leadership to help address those specific areas of need in your giving – whether it be through attracting lead-level donations, opening doors in a certain cause space, tapping into geographic regions or professional networks, etc. 3. Engage your volunteer leadership early on in campaign readiness. Once you have identified and secured your volunteer leaders, a critical opportunity for engaging them is in the production and distribution of your campaign case for support. Testing campaign messaging and soliciting feedback from campaign leadership is an effective engagement strategy and exercise in strengthening your case. As steadfast supporters and representatives of your organization and/or the cause space at large, they can provide valuable insight to inform powerful, compelling messaging. Volunteer leaders will play a critical role in disseminating the case for support as prospects are cultivated within their respective networks. Leveraging leadership in this capacity during campaign readiness will heighten buy-in from the start and incentivize participation throughout the campaign. 4. Keep volunteer leaders immersed and empowered throughout the campaign. Volunteer leaders serve as crucial team members throughout every phase of the campaign process. By assuming the role of campaign leader, they agree to the expectation of making a personally significant lead gift, providing early support to the campaign, and acting as a representative of your organization by hosting cultivation events, advocating for the campaign, attending meetings to develop strategies for approaching prospects, and so on. Each volunteer leader will bring a different perspective and value-add to your campaign, and it is important to meet them where they are, set out clearly defined expectations, and cater to their strengths. Given the breadth of responsibility assumed by campaign leaders, it is imperative that your executive leadership and fundraising staff provide volunteer leaders with all resources necessary to effectively cultivate prospects and solicit key campaign gifts. From the development of meeting materials and identification of prospects within the volunteers’ “sphere of influence” to assistance with cultivation event production, training, support, and open and frequent communication from your team is essential to position volunteer leadership for campaign success. If your volunteer leaders are effectively identified, brought in early within the campaign planning process, and consistently engaged and supported throughout campaign execution, volunteer leaders will provide invaluable capacity to shift the tide of your organization through a transformative fundraising campaign. Orr Group has extensive experience strategizing and operationalizing transformative campaign plans. We’ll work with your leadership and board to leverage the authenticity and credibility of their voices so they can sell your case to donors. Learn more about how we can help you amplify your campaign success. Contact Us Victoria Becker is an Associate Director at Orr Group. Victoria collaborates with our partners to develop and execute fundraising strategies and drive revenue to enhance programs and services. Victoria specializes in fundraising campaigns and crafting effective messaging.