If you have ever conducted a Total Resource Campaign, you know that in many ways, they become synonymous with their chairs. When I begin to discuss a TRC with a Chamber and to strategize for it, thinking of who would be an ideal chair is one of the first things we bring into focus.
As with most things in a TRC, there is no cookie cutter answer to the question,
“Who would be a good Chair?”
You have to consider various factors. And you have to consider them every single year. A TRC is ever-changing, and if you want it to be ever-successful, you have to change with it. Let’s look at some of the factors you should consider when selecting the individual to lead your campaign and to serve as the public face of the endeavor.
This person should be high-profile in the community. You want people in your community talking about the TRC. Having a CEO or influential business leader whom people know and respect will stir conversations and get that chatter about the TRC going. It will also lend instant credibility to the Campaign simply because of the character of the chair.
This person should have enough contacts in the community to be able to easily select a team of vice chairs or team captains. Your chair will need to have a broad reach of contacts within the community so that he or she can select additional campaign leaders from a variety of business communities. The greater the reach the campaign has, the more successful it will be. Be sure to encourage new chairs each year. Going to the same people each year will yield the same results each year. Growth is always the goal.
Ideally, your chair will come from a business which will be able to field a volunteer team in the TRC. A potential chair who cannot bring a full team of volunteers suggests to me that this individual does not have enough personal business contacts of his or her own to successfully lead a TRC. Consider the sphere of influence.
Is this your first TRC or your third? If you are on your third or fourth annual campaign, you may notice a stagnation in your volunteers and in your success if you aren’t shaking things up. If all of your volunteers stay the same from year to year, and if you simply move a Vice Chair to Chair each year, you aren’t injecting the Campaign with new blood. Thus, no new businesses will be reached, and no growth will be achieved.
A Chamber I have worked with for years came to me as they were beginning their 4th year campaign. The staff leadership approached me with the idea of asking the CEO of a construction company, someone who had never been involved in the campaign.
I pointed out that this individual had been involved as he and his company had purchased multiple sponsorships in many of their prior TRCs and had been quite supportive of their endeavors. He also had the potential to open doors to both volunteers and sponsors in a variety of new businesses that this chamber had not tapped previously.
As I listed the array of potential businesses that might become sponsors, members, and volunteers because of the involvement of this one individual – who did meet the above criteria – the staff quickly became excited about their own idea.
Look beyond the pool of volunteers and executives you work with already. Don’t be afraid to shake things up. Without new voices, there cannot be new growth.