Preparing for a Capital Campaign Part 1
Many capital campaigns fail.
When a campaign isn’t successful, it usually comes back to a handful of common mistakes that organizations make. One of the most common pitfalls is not preparing adequately.
We see this among nonprofits, but we see it most often in churches, which tend to have less training and staff expertise in planning and managing a capital campaign effort compared to other charitable organizations.
When a church embarks on a capital project, it’s sometimes rushed and launched too quickly. Often, the pace is the natural outcome of our urgent need for a particular space or program. We’ve outgrown our children’s wing. We need to replace the church van. A loyal group of members is championing a new ministry and promising to bring needed funds to the table.
In this blog series, we’re breaking down the key components of preparing your church for a campaign. All too often, we hurry the very process that would help ensure success.
Take your time in preparing. That process begins with your church’s mission and vision and how this campaign aligns with those goals.
Reflect with your leadership – and with your entire congregation – on your “big” ideas as a church. What is your church called to accomplish in the broadest sense? This is a macro goal: the core idea of who you are as a church and from which all your ministries flow out. Some congregations are church-planting-focused. Others have a big-picture goal of discipleship or evangelism.
Use that mission and vision as a filter in all your work. It should be front and center in your ministries and day-to-day work as well as in your strategic planning. Your capital campaign project must fit with that mission and vision. If it doesn’t, getting your congregation to support the campaign project long-term will be an uphill battle…and likely set you up for failure.
Have an honest and thoughtful conversation with your staff, board, and volunteer leaders about the campaign fit within your mission and vision. It may be a natural next step in your church’s ministries. But it’s also possible that this project is a wonderful idea better suited to another congregation. Take the time you need to fully vet that now rather than being surprised by a lack of enthusiasm when the rubber hits the road of your fundraising goal.
Exploring this project through the lens of your mission and vision also provides a tremendous opportunity to build buy-in and support that you’ll need over the life of your campaign. When done well, this process helps each member see themselves as part of the “campaign team,” with a sense of ownership. You want the vast majority of your members to feel invested in the idea – rather than feeling as if the project is something only championed (and thus funded) by a small group.
Set aside the time to undertake that full preparation process. There are no short-cuts in donor development work, and certainly not in campaign planning. The more intentional and strategic you are in your planning, the more you ensure the best outcome for your ministry and your members.
In the next blog of this series, we’ll guide you through how to be sure you’re ready as you look at implementing a capital campaign in your church.
The Foundation of a Successful Capital Campaign is Built on Donor Acknowledgment
When we consider how to best prepare our church for a campaign and the key components that help ensure success, we need to specifically look at how we treat our donors and prospects through the fundamentals of acknowledgments.
Find the right posture and acknowledgment processes for your donors with these practical tips from a seasoned ministry fundraiser.
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, he has 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.