Fundraising Jump Start: Develop a Blueprint

Can you imagine a house built without a blueprint? For a good example of that, you could go visit the Winchester House in San Jose, but it’s really not the preferable way to build.

The same is true for engaging volunteers in the work we do.

Have you ever experienced showing up to volunteer somewhere – and then not known what it was that you were supposed to be doing? Or worse, all the assignments were divided up and there was nothing for you to do after all?

So what are the minimum things to have in place for your blueprint before inviting people to join your fundraising committee?

First, decide on what structure your committee will take. Will it be a committee of the board or will it be a standalone entity (ie an ‘advisory council’). Generally it should be connected to the board in some way – then suggestions related to fundraising can come from a board member – rather than a staff member or other outside volunteer.

Next, make a list of the things you would like that committee to do. This is a draft, so feel free to dream a little. If a large part of what you want the committee to do is fundraising, don’t water it down. Otherwise members will come back to you later and say that they didn’t sign up for that. Make it very clear.

Third, recruit your chairperson. For organizations who have a staff person dedicated to fundraising to keep things on track and organized, you’ll want to recruit a community leader who will be listened to. For smaller organizations that don’t have that luxury, you might want to consider someone who can play a larger role in the coordination efforts.

Finally, with your committee chair, work out the rest of the blueprint. Take the next step in developing the job description and expectations for the committee. Making this a joint effort to ensure a feeling of ownership. And now you can start identifying others to invite.

I hope that helps you get started!

This is part of a series of posts to help you get a jump start (or restart) on your fundraising efforts. Keep an eye open for more blog posts. In the meantime, if you’re serious about turning things around for your organization, I encourage you to learn more about my new Fundraising Jump Start Home Study System.

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