Eagles do soar – Campaign Advice from the Boy Scouts

More from the AFP International Conference in Chicago…

Larry Crouch & Mark Moshier (both CFREs) from Boy Scout Headquarters – they basically are ‘internal consultants’ to 300 councils around the country. I’ll be honest. I’m a proud Eagle Scout and have shared fundraising tips from a Boy Scout. So I had to attend and support – but was glad to learn a ton.  The premise is ‘engaging volunteers in fundraising’ and their context is around annual campaigns but many lessons could be learned for capital campaigns and small, local peer-to-peer campaigns.  Here are the basics – for more, download the slides (PDF) and follow me and #afpmeet on Twitter.

What do volunteers need to know?

Budget – it’s the annualized expression, in dollars and cents, of the Organization’s Strategic Plan. Expresses how the organization will allocate resources to deliver the program to the communities it serves.

What the $ is for – they need a case statement and a heat for it.


Share the time table up front with your volunteer fundraisers. People want to know when they’ll be done and when they’re expected at meetings (if ever). Manage expectations so folks know what they’re getting into.

The numbers – see slides for a great breakdown of a sample $30,000 campaign.

Recruiting/Fundraising tip – letters don’t do ANYTHING without a personal follow up.  Favorite words? “I will call you in 7 days if I haven’t heard from you” – otherwise, it’s a waste of time, money, paper and postage.

Most important step – recruiting a quality campaign chair.

Your campaign chair should be able to write a check for the entire amount – not that they will, but need to be of that level of capacity.  Also need to believe in teh mission stronger than anyone and be able to articulate it.

Active (but not overused) in the community – knows the financial base and leaders of the community.

Posses the qualities to lead the current campaign, recruit the next chair, and serve on the steering committee the following year.  “It’s a lifetime honor, not a lifetime sentence”. Ideal is to keep them for 3 years.  Learn it in the 1st, do it well in the 2nd and recruit in the 3rd.

Sources of Volunteers

  • Current members or clients
  • Families of those folks
  • Former leaders or Program Volunteers
  • Donors
  • Honor Societies/Alumni Associates
  • Board of Directors (current and past)
  • Community Leaders (maybe can’t give but sure can raise)
  • Retirees
  • Newcomers
  • Employees
  • Annual Reports
  • Business & Foundation directories
  • Country Clubs, Yacht Clubs, Golf Clubs

The Steering Committee Role

  • Select top campaign leadership
  • Monitor recruiting progress at all layers of campaign
  • Oversee the Prospecting & Evaluation Process
  • Ensure successful, on-time completion of campaign

Steering committee members – see slides (PDF) for who they should be. They will get involved later out of their own pocket after successfully asking several people to volunteer to help.

What to take on a recruiting visit

  • Position descriptioin
  • List of who’s going to help
  • Timeline/time commitment
  • Dollar amount to be raised

Powerful questions in recruiting, when they say “no”.

  • Who do you respect in this community?
  • If you could put together your dream team for a community project who would be on it?
  • Gives you who to go to in order to help recruit that person

This session – like others – was so JAM PACKED with helpful info, it was impossible to gather it all.  For more help, templates and tips, download all the handouts (Session MA6, Tuesday at 1:15PM).

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