Building a Capital Campaign Power Team: ED + DD + Board Chair
The ultimate power team for your capital campaign consists of:
- the Executive Director (or CEO)
- the Development Director (or lead development person)
- and Board Chair
When those three leaders are working well together, they form a Power Team, and the campaign will flow better. But if they are at odds (knowingly or unwittingly) you may be in for trouble.
Because this trio does not comprise an official committee, little is written about this group and how to get them working well together.
To get a handle on the concept of this “Power Team”, I reached out to our own power team of Capital Campaign Pro experts to ask them for suggestions about how an organization might build a functional Power Team.
Campaign Power Team: Getting to Know One Another
Strange as it may seem, those three people may not know one another very well. A campaign might be a great opportunity for them to get better acquainted. Here are three ways you might do that as suggested by our campaign advisor, Xan Blake.
Questions to Break the Ice
Get them dreaming and thinking together around a series of questions. You might ask questions like these:
- What motivates you about our organization?
- What excites you about the campaign?
- What are your biggest worries?
They might also find some common ground by talking about what they learned about money from their parents as they were growing up. A discussion of that sort offers a wonderful window into how people think about money as adults and how they feel about the campaign.
Finally, Xan suggests that you encourage them to take the Asking Styles Assessment offered for free at Asking Matters. They can use their results as the basis for a conversation about how they might work together.
Campaign Power Team: Setting the Tone for the Campaign
Campaign advisor Richard Quinn reminds us that these three leaders — the board chair, ED and DD — play a special role. Not only do each of them have distinct responsibilities, but they are also responsible for setting the tone of the campaign in what they do and say.
Campaigns are long and complicated. They inevitably go through ups and downs. The steady determination and fortitude of these three leaders, particularly during the tough times will be important.
To maintain that steady leadership, they will all need to be informed and updated regularly about the campaign. And they will need guidance in how best to communicate to their various constituencies (staff, board, and donors).
Campaign Power Team: Exemplifying Effective Leadership
This leadership team sets the standard in other ways as well. Barbara Barron highlighted the importance of leadership practices.
The three leaders must make enough time for their campaign responsibilities and then protect that time. When these leaders function well together, they set the stage for the rest of the campaign.
Each of them should be clear about their roles and the roles of the other members of this leadership team. That way they can lead in the areas they are responsible for and support the other team members in their areas of responsibilities.
This leadership team should also set the standard for unconscious bias. They should be alert to gender bias and race bias which are often invisible.
How to Get Started Building Your Campaign Power Team
First, early in the campaign planning, gather the three people in those positions together to discuss their roles and the campaign. Any one of those people might initiate the process, but more than likely, the campaign consultant or advisor will suggest it.
The Trio’s First Meeting
At that meeting, which might have an outside facilitator, they should discuss how they will work together on the campaign. They should determine a regular meeting schedule and who is responsible for convening the group and regular communication.
In addition, they should acknowledge the special and important roles they each play in the organization and in the campaign, and make a commitment to working together through the campaign.
At that first meeting, they might take some time to get better acquainted (as suggested above).
Depending on the existing relationships between the three people, you may want to have an expert facilitator for the meeting. Your campaign consultant or advisor might play that role.
With Appreciation to Our Experts
I thank Xan Blake, Richard Quinn and Barbara Barron for their wonderful insights and suggestions. Writing this post has reminded me of the importance of being intentional in building a power team of the three organizational leaders. It’s a step that is often overlooked.
I encourage you to be intentional about building your leadership Power Team early in your campaign process. Laying that groundwork for effective campaign leadership and communications will stand your campaign in good stead through thick and thin.
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