When an organization begins to plan for a campaign (capital, endowment, operational, or a combination of the three), the first big question they must answer is “who will chair this effort?”  Finding chairs is never an easy proposition.  The individuals you seek as chairs are already busy and successful.  So, how do you identify your campaign chair(s)?

First, look for individuals who satisfy four key characteristics: (1) they have passion for your cause, (2) they are credible and well liked in the broader community, (3) they are well known and connected, and (4) they have personal gift capacity at a leadership level.  Often, chair candidates are current or past Board members, long time supporters, or key volunteers.

Once you identify these folks, I always recommend that you meet with them face to face to give them a job description that highlights the role you hope they will play as part of the campaign.  The job description should be comprehensive and should (at a minimum) include some detail around the number of meetings you hope they will attend, their specific roles at those meetings, a description of a “public” role they may play in the campaign, and a discussion of gifting expectations as part of the key leadership team.  It helps if you can assure them that you have hired experienced campaign counsel to help guide the campaign and to serve as a resource at their disposal.

In my experience, if you identify individuals that are credible, connected, and passionate about your nonprofit, and if you can specifically define the role you hope they will play as a chair, you will more likely than not have success in your recruitment efforts.