6 Tricks for Effective Capital Campaign Committee Meetings
In capital campaign fundraising, excited, engaged volunteers are the fuel for success. And there’s no better way to drain all that excited energy than by having capital campaign committee meetings that waste everybody’s time.
Here are six simple yet powerful ways to make your campaign committee meetings incredibly effective. Yes, even the small, regular ones.
1. Establish a Regular Committee Meeting Schedule
At your first meeting, establish a regular meeting schedule that mostly works for all the people in your group. I like schedules that follow the calendar, like the first Tuesday of every month from 4:00 p.m. to 5:00 p.m.
Send calendar notices that populate people’s calendars for those dates. Then if someone can’t attend one meeting or another in the series, you don't have to worry about rescheduling. Just send them notes or a recording afterwards.
If you start juggling every meeting to try to fit everyone’s schedule, you’ll waste a huge amount of time, sow frustration and wind up showing preference for one meeting participant or another.
2. Send Brief Meeting Reminders, Agenda Included
A day or two before each meeting, send a brief email reminder of the meeting with the agenda. I prefer the agenda to be in the body of the email rather than as an attachment — though sometimes if the agenda is complicated, you’ll need to create it as a document and attach it.
I use my contact system to create email groups so that I can easily send the members of the group an email without worrying about forgetting anyone.
3. Create a Dynamic Agenda
Schedule a phone call with the key player (or players) to review the agenda before the meeting. If you find that people tend to be passive at the meetings, assign them specific speaking roles in the agenda.
4. Ask People’s Thoughts During the Committee Meeting
If you’re facilitating the meetings, don’t just wait until people speak. Instead, once or twice during a meeting, go around the group and ask for each person’s thoughts and suggestions.
5. Be Intentional in Your Follow-Up Emails
While someone should take notes from your meetings, I like to follow up with a brief email. I try to write the email follow-ups in a way that makes the people who attended the meeting feel happy they did, as well as making those who couldn’t attend wish they had. The tone should be clear, upbeat and friendly. And all notes should include a simple list of the assignments made at the meeting.
6. Start on Time and End Early
Someone once told me that if you start meetings exactly on time and end five minutes early, people will be more likely to attend your meetings. I have found this to be true.
The more careful you are at starting on time, the more people will show up on time. And ending early is a gift that not only gives people back time, but also makes you seem wonderfully well-organized.
All of Your Meetings Can Be Powerful
These simple tips may not seem like much when you look at them individually, but when you put them together into a series of committee meetings that create your campaign, you’ll find that they make a huge difference in the energy and participation of your volunteers.
Want to run meetings that have real impact?
Check out this post to learn how to set up and run campaign meetings that matter.
What do you find the most challenging about committee meetings? What’s your favorite tip for making meetings work well? Share your thoughts in the comments.
Andrea Kihlstedt is an innovative leader and expert in capital campaign fundraising. She wrote "Capital Campaigns: Strategies That Work (4th ed)," often referred to as the “bible” of capital campaign fundraising. She founded Capital Campaign Masters and co-founded Capital Campaign Toolkit, an online capital campaign resource and platform.