Fielding Solicitors for a Campaign Team

The pre-season is over. All the preparation and planningfrom the off-season, the draft, and training campmust now be channeled into action. This is when you know how well your team will perform, how effective you have been in putting the best team on the field. The Campaign has started.

Just as sports teams are built around the players’ abilities and strengths, so too are campaign teams. And when a team needs a particular skill or asset, the coaches can either try to develop it among their current players or, more likely, recruit or draft for that ability.

While every campaign shares four fundamentals—the need for a compelling case for support, passionate and influential leadership, numerous prospective donors, and an effective and efficient campaign plan—the various permutations and variations among these four areas make each campaign unique. And because of this uniqueness, building a campaign team is one of a campaign director’s most challenging jobs.

The Feasibility and Planning Study provides a director with information on the organization, the community and the individuals available to support a campaign. From the Study he or she will have a clear understanding of where the likely support will be found, and know what assets will be necessary to secure that support.

When a campaign director interviews individuals in the Study process, she is not simply collecting data, she’s evaluating potential volunteers. Does this person have the requisite skills to be an effective campaign team member? Also, does this person have a clear understanding of the purpose of the organization, commitment to that purpose, passion for the purpose, and the ability to give generously? No one should be recruited for the campaign team without these attributes. But to be effective, the campaign team members must also be able to influence and persuade others to support the campaign.

Since the campaign is going to rely on gifts from wealthy individuals, then your campaign team must include some of those individuals with influence among their peers, people with the ability to use their own gift to motivate and inspire others. The same holds true if the campaign is seeking corporate support. Campaign team members must be drawn from business leaders who can use their influence with their colleagues.

Another necessary skill is the ability to communicate clearly and concisely. The campaign must have a consistent message, and campaign team members must be able to stick to that message and communicate it clearly.

Integrity is another essential ingredient that must be held by all members of the campaign team. Their ability to influence others is dependent upon their own personal credibility and integrity. It matters little how much they give as a gift if they lack personal integrity because they cannot properly represent the campaign, or the organization.

It is important that campaign team members—volunteers, staff, and the campaign director—have the ability to persevere when faced with obstacles. Perseverance, that dedication that helps you face the inevitable challenges and obstacles, is so important. Not everything will go according to plan; challenges will arise. But the campaign team works through these challenges together.

The campaign director must selectively recruit team members who can best help the campaign. Not everyone will fit the bill. And a generous gift isn’t necessarily the only attribute a team member needs to bring to the table.

If a generous donor wants to be involved, yet doesn’t have the necessary skills or talents needed by the campaign team, other ways can be found to allow that person to be involved. There are plenty of tasks, and lots of work to do, that don’t necessarily involve direct solicitation.

Never lose sight of the fact that we are creating a team to get in front of people and secure large donations. Build your team with the following in mind: at the end of the day, you’re putting the most passionate, generous and influential people in front of their peers to solicit and receive the largest possible contributions.


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