All leaders need to have a clarity of purpose, buy in to the vision and, most importantly, make their own well-thought through personal gift to the fundraising efforts early in the process. Their leadership by example will set the bar high and define the outcome of the campaign. As Albert Schweitzer said: “Example is not the main thing in influencing others. It is the only thing”.
Certainly, if leadership of the organisation and the campaign is weak, negative and fragmented it will ensure that any fundraising ambition is doomed and risks damaging important relationships that have often taken years to build.
It is important that the internal leadership is tested before a campaign starts (often through a confidential feasibility study). If there is not a universal commitment then to proceed with a campaign would be foolhardy.
Time and careful consideration needs to be taken to build the voluntary leadership board. It provides the ‘heartbeat’ to a campaign and drives success. A board is made up of brave, bold individuals associated with the organisation who are successful in their chosen careers. When asked to join the board, their first instinct is to say, “I’m far too busy to get involved”. But they do get involved because they care passionately about the organisation and its vision and they are always people who ‘make things happen’ in their day to day lives. They are people who have great integrity, are inspiring, flexible and, above all, have the ability to listen and embrace opinions of all around them.
With strong leadership campaigns rarely fail – the right leaders simply would not let that happen!