Ideas, insights and inspirations.

College presidents, vice presidents for advancement, and board members form the trifecta for envisioning, executing and consummating a successful capital or comprehensive campaign.

College presidents play these 10 crucial roles:


  • The Visionary: Knows the fundraising goal and is able to articulate the transformative impact that the funds will have on the institution and those it serves. 
  • The Strategist: Leads strategic planning based on thorough, objective assessment of institutional strengths and weaknesses. Involves board members, faculty, alumni and corporate partners in their strategic planning process.


  • The Listener: Acts as the chief listening officer, adding stakeholder views in the evolving campaign dialogue.
  • The Matchmaker: Helps identify faculty and staff champions for each campaign priority. Involves different board members at all levels based on their talents and passions.
  • The Recruiter: Should be a part of the selection process for fundraising consultants and bears responsibility for holding them accountable.
  • The Clarifier: Ensures the vice president of advancement distinguishes between marketing and building alumni affiliation and loyalty.


  • The Evangelist: Speaks as the voice of the institution to all stakeholders.
  • The Storyteller: Brags less about the institution and praises its alumni more.


  • The Fundraiser: Identifies and recruits potential lead donors for each campaign initiative.
  • The Donor: Donates so they have a skin in the game.

Prior to starting a new comprehensive campaign, the president and vice president for advancement should brief their board members on the unique roles and expectations they’ll play.

In the next blog post, I’ll share the roles that a vice president for advancement plays in launching successful capital and comprehensive campaigns.

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