How can you solicit five hundred or more businesses in person (the most effective way to raise money) in six weeks and raise hundreds of thousands of dollars for your annual campaign? Yes, it is possible by building a team of volunteers to help you.

What’s involved in running a business appeal?

First, develop a list of prospects. These prospects could include vendors; business owned or managed by board members, staff members spouses, and other volunteers; businesses in your neighborhood; business that have sponsored or attended your events; and others. If your prospect list is large enough you might want to create subdivisions that could include:

  • Financial Industry
  • Real Estate, Construction, and Developers
  • Attorneys
  • Technology
  • Communications
  • Utilities
  • Retail Business

Next, determine how many volunteers you will need using the five to one rule: each volunteer will visit no more than five prospects during the six to eight week duration of the campaign.

Then, develop the structure: Appoint a chair and vice chair—who will chair next year’s campaign.  Depending on the number of prospects, enlist team captains who will, in turn, enlist three to seven team members. These team leaders can help develop the final prospect list.

Next, team members will select five seven pledge cards.  This number makes it possible for their activity to be manageable and not become a burden.  Further, it affords leadership the ability to meet deadlines since it is expected that volunteers will complete their assignments on time.

Then, conduct a kickoff meeting for all team members at which time you will present the case for support, train volunteers, and generate excitement. Volunteers will receive pledge cards and materials for each of their prospects at this time.

Next, hold a report meeting every two weeks at which team captains will report on progress.

Finally, follow up with a victory celebration where you will award prizes to the teams and volunteers who have raised the most money, gotten the largest increase in gifts (if this is your second or subsequent year for the appeal. Also, announce next year’s chair and vice chair at this meeting.

Business Appeal Organizational Chart:


For more information on running a successful business appeal, see: Raise More Money from Your Business Community and Raise More Money from Your Business Community—The Workbook.

As part of Bloomerang’s Content Donation Program, $100 was donated to Seminario Arquidiocesano de Monterrey via CAF America.

Linda Lysakowski

Linda Lysakowski

Author, Editor, Consultant
Linda Lysakowski, ACFRE has authored more than a dozen books, including Fundraising for the GENIUS, now in its second edition, and serves as Acquisitions Editor for CharityChannel Press and For the GENIUS Press. She has over 20 years experience as a philanthropic consultant and is one of fewer than 100 professionals worldwide to hold the Advanced Certified Fund Raising Executive designation.