The First Step is Passion (...but it's not enough)

| by Judy Bright

This past year I had the opportunity to work with the Frankie Lemmon School to help establish its very first annual campaign, Creating Bright Futures.  The campaign was successful for many reasons, but the most important was the leadership of the volunteer chair, Eliza Olander.  The goal of Creating Bright Futures was $100,000...and to date the campaign has raised $130,000, with donor investments still rolling in.

What was the secret of Eliza’s ---and the campaign’s--- success?

Actually, it’s no secret:  we know that a successful campaign chair must lead, inspire, plan, act and ensure success.  Linda Lysakowski, ACFRE, has said, “Leadership in itself, let it never be forgotten, is always the key factor in successful fundraising, whatever the case, whatever the goal and whatever the scope of the campaign.”  

But what are the personal characteristics that make a volunteer an extraordinary campaign leader?   As Judy watched Eliza lead the Creating Bright Futures campaign to success, she developed the following list. Can you identify someone among your organization’s volunteers who embodies these traits?

  • Passion for the mission, vision and core values of the organization
  • Dedication to the organization, demonstrated by years of engagement
  • Contribution of time, talent and resources
  • Involvement in developing campaign plans and messages
  • Compelling articulation of the case for giving 
  • Perseverance in the face of campaign highs and lows
  • Action that inspires volunteers and donors
  • Intense focus on the campaign's timeline, milestones and goal
  • Impeccable integrity in all decisions, actions and relationships

The great humanitarian Albert Schweitzer once said, “I don’t know what your destiny will be, but one thing I know: that the only ones among you who will be really happy are those who have sought and found how to serve.”

Eliza is living proof of Schweitzer's observation:  a leader whose happiness comes from service to others. Her service to our community through her work with Frankie Lemmon School, the YMCA of the Triangle Area and other organizations has had a huge impact on the quality of life for countless individuals and families.

Yes, passion is a key ingredient.  But as you plan your next annual campaign, don't overlook the other leadership qualities that will help ensure success.


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