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Leadership Roles and Responsibilities in a Campaign

Article By William C. Krueger

Almost all campaign structures are at least a little bit different, but some of the more common campaign structures include the following. When trying to determine where potential leaders might fit in the campaign structure it might be useful to look at what is expected.


Usually consists of board and staff who are the day-to-day managers of the campaign. This group generally meets regularly and is primarily responsible for making sure the other groups function appropriately. Cabinet members are generally responsible for the following:
  • Make leadership gifts
  • Provide campaign leadership
  • Linkage with corporate/foundation contacts
  • Linkage to major gift prospects
  • Participate in or host cultivation events
  • Secure Endorsements
  • Recruit Steering Committee members
  • Attend regular campaign meetings


Campaign chairs are great things – if you get the right ones. Get the wrong people in these positions, and bad things can happen. Many of our campaigns haven’t had campaign chairs in the traditional sense, but instead utilized volunteers as a Steering Committee. It really depends on whether you have identified a great one or two volunteers who are committed to the campaign and will make it a priority. If you have, then having Campaign Chairs, or Co-Chairs, is great. If you have them, they would generally do the following.
  • Make a leadership gift
  • Spokesperson for campaign
  • Linkage with others in their field
  • Linkage to major gift prospects
  • Participation/host cultivation events
  • Assist with recruitment or Steering Committee members


For most campaigns, the campaign Steering Committee becomes the primary volunteer leadership group. People who agree to serve on the Steering Committee would generally agree to the following:
  • Leadership gifts
  • Solicit major gifts
  • Linkage with corporations and foundations
  • Spokesperson for campaign
  • Open doors to prospects
  • The Steering Committee meets only periodically
The Campaign Steering Committee is the key linkage group between the organization and the prospective donor/leader community. The campaign, simply put, will succeed or fail, based on the quality and quantity of community leaders that are recruited to the Campaign Steering Committee.

Community leaders recruited to the Campaign Steering Committee will agree to do the following:

Lend Name. Steering Committee members will agree to allow the organization to use their name in all public relations materials and in solicitation of key prospects throughout the area.

Spokesperson. Steering Committee members need to speak positively about the organization and the campaign, and be prepared to answer questions they may be asked.

Open Doors. After agreeing to serve on the Steering Committee, members will review the prospect list and indicate those with whom they can arrange a meeting. They will also suggest new prospects. Ideally, the Steering Committee member will also attend the meeting.

Gift. Each Steering Committee member will make a gift up to their financial ability.

As important as what the Steering Committee will do is what they will NOT be asked to do. The Steering Committee will meet only occasionally, if at all, as a group. The concept is to utilize the time of the volunteers most productively – which amounts to opening doors to prospects the organization wouldn’t otherwise be able to reach.

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