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How a Planning Committee Can Catapult Your Capital Campaign Forward

Many capital campaigns are won or lost based on their volunteer leadership. If you have the right people heading up your campaign, you are well on your way to success.

You've got to have campaign leaders who are powerful, influential, capable of opening the door to key donors, and able to make a large gift themselves.

Where to find them? How to enlist them for your cause?

Often you'll find key leaders in your community are somewhat interested in your campaign. But they are not quite willing to make a long-term commitment to serve on the campaign steering committee, much less serve as campaign chair or co-chair.

A Short-Term Planning Committee Is the Answer

We find that many community leaders are quite willing to serve on a shorter-term planning committee to help organize the campaign and plan campaign strategy.

And once they are involved on the planning committee, they become much more interested and personally invested in the campaign's success.

Your campaign planning committee is distinct from your campaign steering committee. It gives you a unique opportunity to invite a few special people to help shape the campaign over a couple of short meetings without asking them to join a committee that will meet for the entire duration of the campaign.

Involvement Breeds Investment

We have found the planning committee to be a golden key to securing the involvement of heavy hitters in the community. We're always surprised at how effective this simple strategy is.

Try to get them to say "yes" to this very short-term commitment—just three months, max. Then you may be able to carry that forward and get a "yes" for a long-term commitment.

Catapult Your Campaign Forward

See if you can assemble a group of the most powerful, wealthiest, wisest, and most influential volunteers you have to work with you on a campaign plan.

Then you'll find that it will be far easier for you to attract both donors and volunteers throughout the campaign.

We love the planning committee concept because it gives you a chance to inform the "catapults" in your community about your campaign, gain the benefit of their advice and wisdom, and add their names to your list of campaign volunteers.

And, of course, inviting them to serve on this high-powered committee is a terrific way to cultivate them for their campaign gifts.

Still looking for your campaign chair? Asking someone to serve on the committee provides an excellent opportunity to prepare someone for the job of campaign chair.

When Should You Activate This Committee?

Form your planning committee either before a feasibility study or immediately afterwards.

What Does a Planning Committee Do?

  • Identify and engage the campaign leadership.
  • Refine the case for support.
  • Determine a working goal for the campaign.
  • Finalize the gift range chart.
  • Approve campaign structure, timetable, and budget.

Find out more about planning committees on the Capital Campaign Magic Web site.


Andrea Kihlstedt and Gail Perry
© 2012, Capital Campaign Magic

Andrea Kihlstedt and Gail Perry have joined forces in a new Web site,, where they will share their stories and ideas and advice about capital campaign fundraising.

how-a-planning-committee-can-catapult-your-capital-campaign_Andrea-Kihlstedt.pngAndrea Kihlstedt has written two books on capital campaign fundraising, and she cofounded Asking Matters, an invaluable resource that teaches people how to ask for donations in a natural way that complements their own personal Asking Styles. Her latest book, Asking Styles: Harness Your Personal Fundraising Power, will be published soon.


how-a-planning-committee-can-catapult-your-capital-campaign_gail-perry.pngGail Perry is the author of Fired Up Fundraising: Turn Board Passion into Action and is an international speaker, fundraising consultant, and trainer. Her Fired-Up Fundraising blog has more than 10,000 followers from around the world. She's led more than 25 capital campaigns and says she's seen it all!


Topics: Fundraising