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”Successful fundraising, like many things, is connected to clear communication.”

CHAPTER 4

Selecting a Fundraising Leader

You’ve reviewed some basic facts about fundraising and learned the stages. Now it’s time to learn what makes a solid fundraising leader.

Spoiler Alert

It doesn’t have to be the leader of your group. This fundraising project is going to be completely separate from the other things your group is working on, and giving someone else who has a little extra time the responsibility for fundraising might be the best choice you’ve ever made. Plus, the skills your fundraising leader will need might be a tad different than the ones your current leader possesses.

So read on through to find out what qualities to look for and what responsibilities this leader might have.

How to choose the best leader

Successful fundraising, like many things, is connected to clear communication. Your group will be reaching out to mostly strangers to request money or try to sell them something. You need a leader that can provide great examples of how best to approach people and talk with them about your fundraiser. Your leader needs to be able to communicate effectively through promotional materials, like posters and advertisements, as well. They need to be able to handle any negative situations and juggle multiple responsibilities.

And those are just a few of the traits to look for.
Here’s a comprehensive list:

  • Communicator
  • Strong listener
  • Researcher
  • Delegator
  • Calm
  • Encourager
  • Organizer
  • Flexible
  • Keeps whole group in the know
  • Seeks opinions of group
  • Monitors members’ work but doesn’t micromanage
  • Persuader
  • Decision-maker
  • Motivator
  • Multi-tasker
  • People person

You’re probably not going to find someone with all of these traits. Focus on the strong communication aspect and they’ll likely be pretty good at these other skills too.

Potential leaders for your group

The fundraising leader needs to have a strong relationship with the group leader because they will be communicating constantly.

When we think of leaders for a project, we often lean toward the oldest, most-experienced members of the group. While experience and knowledge of the group and their overall goals is a must, your group leader or a senior member does not have to be your fundraising leader. Passing the fundraising leader position on to someone else spreads out the work and gives another experienced member a chance to shine.

Of course, if the only person that can handle this role is your leader, by all means sign them up. Just consider a few other members of your group first; we think it’s wise to let someone else take the fundraising leader position.

The fundraising leader needs to have a strong relationship with the group leader because they will be communicating constantly. It’s beneficial if they are close in age and experience-level, but that can have a range of a year or two. This way, there is mutual respect and understanding of the group. Potential leaders could be club officers, project leaders or simply members without titles that consistently produce good work and volunteer for the group when needed. As long as they possess some of the skills listed above and have a good relationship with your group leader, they should be an excellent fundraising leader.

Duties a fundraising leader may have

A fundraising leader will have multiple and varied responsibilities. Like any leader, their job will be to keep all the parts of the ship moving.

Their main duties will be:

  • Selecting a fundraiser
  • Leading the design of the goal and planning timelines
  • Developing KPIs for those goals
  • Assigning teams for different tasks
  • Hiring outside help for promotion or organizing own promotion
  • Speaking on behalf of the group about your fundraiser in public
  • Ordering necessary materials to begin fundraising (catalogs, products, supplies for event)
  • Securing a venue for an event and leading decoration
  • Entering orders for products from catalog sales
  • Setting up a product distribution process
  • Keeping track of profits
  • Organizing meetings throughout the fundraising process
  • Checking up on timelines, goals, and KPIs
  • Keeping the group informed on progress
  • Writing notes about the fundraiser for next tim
  • Organizing a celebration for the completion of the fundraiser
  • Purchasing awards for top fundraiser
  • Leading thank-you note writing
  • Keeping track of customer contact info database for next time
  • Dealing with any issues that may arise

Many of these duties will be done alongside the group leader with co-decision making, unless your group deems the fundraising leader solely responsible for any decisions related to your fundraising project.

This is a very important role, so take plenty of time to consider your options. If possible, have your executive or senior members meet to nominate group members. They may have insights that you don’t have and see potential in someone you hadn’t considered.

Benefits of a fundraising leader

If something goes wrong, who are you going to turn to?

You may think you can get away with not designating a leader, or having a group of leaders for your fundraiser. We hate to break it to you, but even if you have team leaders, you still need one overall fundraising leader to fall back on for decision-making. If you don’t have one person in charge, your group is going to spend a lot of time spinning its wheels and debating options instead of moving forward and making progress. If something goes wrong, who are you going to turn to? Who is going to speak up on behalf of the group? Who is in charge of communication with your fundraising program or business? Sure, a different person could take on each of these tasks, but then your message is disjointed and way more communication needs to take place in order for everyone to stay in the loop. You need a leader for these responsibilities and to represent your group and their cause consistently. Your fundraiser will be a lot more successful with a leader who can hold people accountable for their goals and KPIs.

Chapter 4 Wrap-up

Picking a fundraiser leader isn’t something to be done on a whim. Take your time and don’t forget these valuable tidbits:

How to choose the best leader

  • Think outside the box! It doesn’t have to be your current group leader, just make sure they are a solid communicator and have a good relationship with your leader.

Potential leaders for your group

  • Club officers
  • Project leaders
  • Members that produce good work
  • Members that volunteer

Duties a fundraising leader may have

  • Decision-making
  • Communication with the whole group and people outside the group
  • Organizing
  • Keeping track of profits

Benefits of a fundraising leader

  • Cohesive message and consistent decision-making
  • One public representative of the group and your fundraiser
  • One person to handle issues
  • Holds people accountable for goals and KPIs

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