Core Functions of Campaign Team Banner Core Functions of Campaign Team Banner

How to Build a Fundraising Team for Campaign Success

by Tara DiDomenico and Lynn Shevory

Posted February 15, 2022

A key component to setting the stage for a successful campaign is ensuring you have the staffing necessary to meet expectations, take advantage of opportunities, manage the campaign efficiently and effectively, and achieve a strong ROI. A good rule of thumb to keep in mind: a maximum of 10% of the total campaign goal can be invested to cover incremental campaign expenses. Often, the largest portion is dedicated to your fundraising operations and team.

Most fundraising teams already consist of the following functions:

  • Major gifts
  • Annual giving
  • Development operations
  • Administrative support

As you prepare to launch a campaign, there are additional functions you will want to ensure are assigned to your development team (or strengthen/expand if they are already delegated). Here we outline these functions and important tips to keep in mind for each…

The Core Functions of a Campaign-Ready Fundraising Team

New Campaign-specific Work

  • Campaign-specific staff will play a critical role in the overall successful planning and execution of the campaign.
  • Major responsibilities will likely include creating campaign-inclusive cultivation, solicitation, and stewardship strategies for prospects, working collaboratively with key volunteers, preparing campaign marketing materials, monitoring campaign milestones and targets, maintaining a prospect management system, and providing research and briefings on donor prospects.
  • Often these responsibilities are dispersed among existing staff. This can distract frontline staff from direct cultivation and solicitation of prospects, so be aware of the unintentional costs of not investing in a dedicated campaign staff person.
  • If you already have team members who can take on these responsibilities, you may consider temporarily changing their title and job description for the course of the campaign. If you do, you will need to consider increasing their salary as well to align with marketplace benchmarks and other staff with a similar level of responsibility.
  • Depending on the size of your operation and campaign, your campaign-dedicated staff could range from a coordinator to manager to director.

Increased Frontline Capacity

  • It’s likely that you will need to add additional frontline fundraising staff to your team to align with campaign prospect potential and your increased goal.
  • If growing your endowment is a primary goal of the campaign, then make sure to analyze the capacity of your current planned giving staff as well to determine whether additional team members will be needed.
  • Common frontline staff titles include:
    • Leadership/Principal Gifts Officer
    • Associate Director of Major Gifts
    • Senior Philanthropy Manager/Specialist
    • Planned Giving Officer
    • Director, Legacy Giving
  • Keep in mind: as your frontline team grows, so too should your administrative staff. This will help ensure your frontline staff can spend the vast majority of their time externally-focused.

Committee and Volunteer Management

  • You likely already have staff who hold the responsibility of regularly communicating and partnering with your board and managing your volunteers. During a campaign, this responsibility will increase in importance. With the formation of a campaign committee, you will need staff who can sufficiently support their efforts and keep them apprised of your team’s progress.
  • Keep in mind too that board members who serve as strong proponents of the campaign will require greater support than usual to be successful

Campaign Events

  • Naturally, with a campaign comes an increase in events as you strive to raise awareness and garner support. Depending on how great the increase—and the level of importance events will hold in helping you reach your campaign goal—you may need to bring on new staff dedicated to planning, executing, and managing your events.
  • It may make sense for your events staff to also hold donor engagement/stewardship responsibilities.
  • Keep in mind that some events will happen only during a campaign, while annual events already on the calendar may need to be bolstered given campaign priorities.
  • You might consider hiring an event planning firm to help design and execute the key campaign events, such as the public launch and/or any milestone celebrations.
  • Common events staff titles include:
    • Campaign Events Manager/Coordinator
    • Gala Planner

Donor Engagement and Stewardship

  • Engaging and stewarding donors to the campaign will be critical to not only achieving your campaign goal, but also retaining new donors following the campaign’s completion.
  • Major responsibilities include annual reporting on the financial status of funds and communications on the impact of the donors’ philanthropy, planning of events and programs to celebrate and recognize donors while engaging and educating potential donors, overseeing the acknowledgement process for all campaign gifts, and maintaining a comprehensive naming opportunities inventory.
  • Common donor stewardship staff titles include:
    • Campaign Stewardship and Events Manager
    • Donor Engagement Officer

Prospect Research

  • You may not need to hire a new team member to conduct prospect research, but it is worth taking the time to analyze your current team’s capacity and ensure you have the staff necessary to commit to this critical aspect of the campaign. Keep in mind, too, that your need for prospect research will increase as the campaign enters its public phase and broader outreach becomes a necessity.
  • Because prospect researchers are typically familiar with donor databases and prospect lists, often development operations staff members are well-equipped to take on this function. Depending on how event-focused you intend your campaign to be, assigning this task to events staff might be feasible. Alternatively, this role could be outsourced to a consultant if your team lacks the capacity to manage the increased research needs.
  • Wealth screening of your constituency should occur during the planning stage of the campaign to appropriately identify and prioritize prospect opportunity and one or two times during the campaign to refresh the prospect pool.

Is your institution preparing to enter a campaign? Whether it’s your first or your next campaign, whether you need to raise $10 million, $100 million, or $500 million, we want to partner with you. Learn more about our campaign services.


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