George Barna is quoted as saying, “Churches that do their own capital stewardship campaigns will raise 50% less than if they hired a professional firm.” I can tell you from my experience and from talking to other firms and pastors that this is accurate. I cannot tell you how many times a church thinking that they will save money actually ended up raising far less on their own than they did using a firm. It is a simple fact that your church can raise more money with an experience stewardship consultant rather than a do it yourself approach.
So why do so many churches think they can go it alone and be successful? First and foremost it comes down to paying a fee for the services they need. There is an aversion to spending money to raise money. Yet study after study shows that to raise money you have to spend money. As crazy as that seems you simply can’t get up one Sunday and pass the plate and expect to raise the money you need for the project you are building. Capital campaigns in particular are complex and require a different skill set than most pastors and Christian leaders have.
So, thinking to save money many churches opt for a do it yourself approach. I could fill this post with comment after comment from pastors and leaders who after the fact told me, “We should have used you.”
Recently a church that has done multiple campaigns with many different firms engaged me to work on putting the pieces together of their campaign. They told me, “We have done many capital campaigns we can do the program side of this and we don’t need your full services.” So, I gave them the limited help they felt they needed and then they embarked upon their own course of action. What resulted was a campaign that raised just 50% of their annual operating budget! Their last campaign with a consulting firm raised almost two times their annual operating budget. They saved a few thousand dollars by not engaging us fully and lost hundreds of thousands of dollars doing it themselves. That is poor stewardship!
Now this same church is wondering what they can do to resurrect a dead campaign. The answer is very little can be done after the fact.
You have one chance to get it right so you had better get it right! None of the Bible colleges or Seminaries teaches ministerial students anything about giving and finances much less how to hold a capital campaign. It is not as easy as you think. So why not get help especially if you have never participated in a capital stewardship campaign before?
The Return on Investment will pay off when you hire a partner to help you with the process. Don’t go cheap when it comes to fully funding your dream and vision. Anything worth doing is worth doing right. A stewardship firm can and will help you avoid the many pitfalls and snares that can trip up a campaign. In the end the fee you pay will be returned back to you in more funds being pledged and given. Whatever you do don’t DIY your next capital stewardship campaign!
Mark Brooks- The Stewardship Coach
Founder and President, The Charis Group and Charis Giving Solutions