If you want to know how to effectively set the stage for raising money read how Gwinnett Church set the stage for their upcoming capital campaign.
My wife and I attend Gwinnett Church a satellite of Andy Stanley’s North Point Community Church here in Atlanta. Last night was the one year celebration birthday of Gwinnett Church that meets on Sunday evenings at Cross Pointe Church not far from where I live. Gwinnett Churches statement last night was, “For too long the church has been known for what it’s against. We want to be known for what we are for. We are FOR Gwinnett.” For Gwinnett is the theme of their campaign.
Last night at the beginning of the service campus pastor Jeff Henderson announced that Gwinnett Church was going to be breaking ground for their own facility. I am excited as it will be about two miles from my house! What really excited me however was how the service that announced this multi-million dollar expansion was presented. It is a model of how to set the stage for raising money. Let me share with you the key elements.
First, establish why. Jeff started at the very beginning of the service quickly announcing that we were going to build and stated that he would tell us more later. What followed was about ten to fifteen minutes of excellent praise and worship. After the offering Jeff then got up for his presentation and stated that he was going to tell us all about the building, the what, and that Senior Pastor Andy Stanley would communicate the how. Jeff stated that first we needed to hear the why behind building.
Jeff then told the story of his own journey of surrendering to ministry and working with North Points first satellite in the Buckhead area of Atlanta. He told stories about people who were disconnected with church that were reached by the Buckhead campus. He then stated that was what Gwinnett Church was established for. He stressed the theme of being known for what we are FOR rather than what we are against. That is why we are building.
You have to establish a need for your cause before people will give to you. No one gives to brick and mortar they give to vision and changed lives. Jeff set the stage for what came by telling us why it was needed and what the ultimate goal was, reaching people for Jesus.
Then establish the what. After building the case for why we needed to build Jeff then walked us through what we were going to build. He broke it down phase by phase showing us where the site was and what it would look like. If you have ever been to any of North Point’s facilities you will know that they are practical and functional not lavish or spectacular. The what of the building fits who Gwinnett Church is.
Your building has to make sense to those you are asking to donate to it. Before people will give to any project they have to know that it makes sense. Also they will want to know what it cost. Jeff did not back away from sharing the price of the whole project, $51 million. $11 million of the land cost is essentially paid for. Phase I will cost $17 million. Tell your members the brutal truth up front and they can handle it. If you try to keep back the full sticker shock of the price it will come back to bite you.
Follow up by telling them how. At this point Senior Pastor Andy Stanley came and talked about how we could raise that amount. He told stories about how North Point in the past has raised significant funds even in poor economic times. That establishes credibility that the task can be done. He walked everyone through what raising $17 million looked like. He showed that it would take some large gifts and many smaller gifts. As he showed the gifting chart he boldly stated, “I want you to pray about whether you can give at the next level up from where you think you are.” He then stated that he and his wife were going to commit to the campaign and that $2.3 million had already been pledged by “friends” of Gwinnett Church. So, we are already over $2 million dollars towards the $17 million.
People want to be assured that there is a plan in place. Telling them how you plan on funding the project will help them believe that the project will happen. Reminding them of the success of past projects sets the stage for believing the current project can happen.
Finally, personalize it. After Andy shared Jeff came back and told the story of one man who had come to Christ as a result of Buckhead campuses impact. They showed his video testimony that ended with his baptism. Jeff then said, “There is someone just like that in Gwinnett that we will reach through our efforts.” That again takes us back to the why.
Jeff then explained the process towards making a commitment and stated that we were all going to receive a small jar with dirt from the land. You can see the picture of it above. It has a sticker on it of our county and the theme. The commitment card is in the background of the picture. That bottle of dirt is on my desk as I pray about what God would have me do to help us reach my neighbors for Christ.
That is how to set the stage for raising money. You might not need to raise $17 million but these principles will work for you. Who in your county needs to be reached for Christ? Do you have plan of action to meet that need?
Mark Brooks- The Stewardship Coach
Founder and President, The Charis Group and Charis Giving Solutions