Prior to moving forward with a church capital campaign, here are 5 important steps that can substantially improve your results.
Clarify your why
Before you get started on a church capital campaign, spend time to understand your "why." Being able to articulate your why, or the purpose of your project, is critical to inspiring your supporters. Whether your project is new construction, renovation, debt retirement, outreach, or increasing endowment, it is essential to communicate why it is important. How will your completed project transform lives? What impact will your project have on your ability to do God's work in the world? Clearly state why a church capital campaign is necessary and why it is urgent. By doing so, you will build momentum and support before you launch, ensuring a successful campaign. (For more insights on clarifying vision, click here.)
Discuss plans with your financial leaders
Those who provide financial leadership to the ministries of your church also play a vital role in your church capital campaign. Before your plans are final, meet with your financial leaders to discuss the project details and inspire them with your why. Some of your financial leaders are business leaders in your community. Ask for their input, invite them into the conversation, and learn from their wisdom. Those who have the capacity to make major gifts can dramatically impact your results. People typically help fund a project they helped to conceive.
Meet with leadership groups and create project advocates
Once you have clarified your why, and gained the support of your financial leaders, engage the various groups within your church. Build excitement around the project, answer questions, and develop advocates for the campaign. Once your core constituents and leaders have caught your vision for the project, they will be able to share their enthusiasm with others. Early momentum and excitement will build as you prepare to launch your campaign.
Review communication channels and make necessary changes
Regardless which communication channels you use, have the necessary processes in place to ensure clear and timely communication. Is your church software current and able to track capital campaign commitments? If you plan to use direct mail, email, or texting, do you have up-to-date contact information for your members? Do you have a current social media plan? Are your members connecting with you on your various social media platforms? Is your church actively encouraging egiving (More on egiving here)? Before you launch, consider all the ways in which you will share information and shore up your processes to ensure clear and timely delivery of your messages.
Engage a professional church capital campaign consulting firm
Hiring a professional consulting firm will ensure you are raising as much as possible to fund your vision for ministry. Some churches choose to conduct capital campaigns without the benefit of counsel, often with a lackluster result. In-house campaigns typically raise less than professionally-run campaigns and can significantly strain staff resources. At Horizons, we believe in the importance of hiring not just the best firm, but hiring the best fit for your church. Hiring a consultant is similar to hiring a part-time staff person because of the time commitment and importance of the relationship. The vast array of Horizons' Ministry Strategists' styles, experiences, and denominational backgrounds ensures a perfect match to meet the needs of every church. For more information about Horizons or to schedule a free 20-minute strategy session, visit horizons.net.
Kristine Miller, CFRE is a Senior Vice President and Partner with Horizons. She is co-author of Bounty -- Ten Ways to Increase Giving at Your Church (Abingdon Press) and is a frequent conference speaker. Kristine is an avid reader, writer, cook, and wine enthusiast.