“I wish I had started sooner!” That is the number one thing that we hear pastors say when they reflect back on their capital stewardship campaign. Yet time after time we find that churches and pastors wait until far late into the process before deciding to move forward. The end result is that the campaign process is often rushed, hurried and not well planned out. The ultimate result is the loss of dollar potential.
There are few last minute campaigns that are successful. Campaigns to be properly executed take a good six months and often longer. They can be done in a shorter time span but the ultimate is to start early. The earlier you start the more options you have. The later you start the less options and the greater you will feel the press of the campaign. Waiting until the last minute could cause you to miss crucial building blocks to success.
Why do pastors delay starting a capital stewardship campaign? Here are a few reasons we find…
Money. Many think that by putting off the campaign until the last minute they are saving the church money. Most will read this and think that my motivation for an early start up is to get the churches money. While I do like to eat I really want campaigns to do well. So, it is more than bringing money into our coffers. It is about getting the campaign right. Yet sadly too many are focused on getting a campaign for as cheap as possible. Can you really gamble on the future of your project?
Tyranny of the urgent. I really think that most pastors are simply overwhelmed. They think they have enough time or the campaign simply sneaks up on them. The press of every day ministry can often keep you from forward planning. As one great coach said, “The future is now!” Your plans are closer than you think. Act now and saves yourself a lot of angst.
Sequential thinking. As pastors we preach from one point to the next in sequence. I find that when pastors approach project planning they do so from the same mind set. They tend to move from issue to issue not starting on one aspect of the campaign until all others are settled. In project development you have to think simultaneously as well as sequentially. Failing to do so will cause you to be behind.
Inexperience. You can not know everything about everything. Many pastors are simply inexperienced about the flow of a project and the timing of a campaign. As a result they delay to act until many times it is too late. This is why a stewardship partner can not only raise you more money but save you time by avoiding mistakes. In my 11 years of consulting I have found that most mistakes are made far in advance of when I arrived at the table. Also inevitably pastors and church leaders feel they have more time than they actually do. They simply do not know how long the process of a campaign takes. Starting early helps you avoid the mistakes that inexperience can cause.
Those are the major reasons I find for putting off the start of a campaign. Make sure you are avoiding those same mistakes as you begin thinking about your project development.
I find that now that we see some glimmer of hope with the economy churches are beginning to dust off their building plans. The question is when should you begin nailing down your stewardship partner? For a fall campaign you should be finalizing that partner and beginning work immediately! For a spring campaign you should be starting work in September or October at the latest.
Giving yourself ample time will help you enjoy the process more and ultimately raise more funds. So, call us today. The clock is ticking!
Mark Brooks- The Stewardship Coach
Founder and President, The Charis Group and Charis Giving Solutions