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Doing Your Research

Doing Your Research

From the series, Conducting the Silent Phase of Your Capital Campaign.

Take full advantage of the quiet phase of your capital campaign to gather as much research, data, and input as you can before you launch publicly. This is your chance to silently compile all the information to inform and shape decisions about a campaign’s scope and timing. 

In this blog series, we are unpacking the components of a silent phase of a campaign. Today, we’re talking specifically about research.

Churches, like most organizations, are often starting from scratch in terms of expertise on common campaign projects such as construction. Take all the time you need to fully research all of your various options on any proposed project. Visit with experts and ask for trends and data that might impact your scope, your timeline, and your costs. 


Take a close look at your church’s donor trends and also the health of your investments and finances. What questions will your key board members or donors have about the project’s impact on your church’s budget or endowment? Are there ongoing costs you might not be anticipating? What kind of community data – or even other city priorities or projects – can help inform your thinking and decisions?

I’ve often seen organizations and churches get to the end of a campaign and have already outgrown the new space they were adding. More recently, I’ve seen organizations struggle with costs and timelines due to supply issues. Be careful to plan for delays and contingencies as best you can. As you research, lay out the timing and breadth of your campaign. Especially if you will be incurring debt and financing some of your costs, expect that donors will have valid questions about how those loans are structured.

In my book, Donors Are People Too, I spend some time outlining some of the most common questions donors have. But usually won’t ask – often, these have to do with how we steward and manage our resources. Be fully prepared not only to answer those questions but build the answers into your campaign education materials. We should work to anticipate what donors need to know to feel confident getting on board.


The hard truth is that many capital campaigns fail. Some of the most common pitfalls is not preparing adequately. And doing the full due diligence on how donors will receive the proposed project.

As I’ve said many times, there are no short-cuts in donor development work, and certainly not in campaign planning. The more intentional and strategic you are in your research and planning, the more you ensure the best outcome for the church and the campaign.

In the next blog of this series, we’ll conclude our look at the silent phase with some of the most important advice we can give you.



Many capital campaigns fail, typically due to a lack of preparation.

In this article, discover the key components of the silent phase of a capital campaign. This is the phase that allows us to “stay under the radar” and do the critical assessments of our campaign readiness.

Learn about the steps in the quiet phase, from timing to developing a compelling ask, that will help ensure you’re positioned to launch a successful campaign.

Tim has over 30 years of experience in Church, Non-Profit Administration, Management, and Fund Development.  Serving as an Executive Pastor and Chief Development Officer in growing Churches and Non-Profit Organizations hhas provided a wide range of expertise and resources. Tim serves as Founder and CEO of Non-Profit DNA. A boutique firm committed to helping nonprofits and churches. By building their capacity through fundraising, leadership, team building, staff recruiting, and coaching.

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