The first step towards successfully raising the funds you need is to know how to find a capital campaign partner. Most churches fail at this point. They ask the wrong questions, arrived at faulty conclusions and often times make poor choices. In this post I want to share with you how to find the right campaign partner for you. As the famous saying goes, you need to begin with the end in mind. You want a positive result so you need a positive result in choosing a partner. Here are some things to consider.
Avoid getting cut and paste answers with RFP requests. RFP stands for Request For Proposal. A church comes up with a list of questions they want a firm to answer and sends that out to various companies. They then evaluate the responses eliminating those they feel do not fit their standards or needs. What is wrong with this approach? All you will get is cut and paste answers from stewardship firms. You truly are not learning what you need to know. Are you hiring a writer or a consultant? We as a practice reject filling out and sending RFP’s since they are fatally flawed for both the church and the firm!
Realize you are hiring the consultant not the company. The value of your partnership is in the experience of the consultant not how long the company has been in existence nor even how much money they have raised. So, never interview a sales person ask for the consultant that will work your campaign. Tell them to leave the sales guy at home unless he is working the campaign.
Check references! The old adage the best sell is a reference sell is true not only for the company but it is true for you the client. So, check thoroughly the consultant’s references. Yes, I know the references they give you are their sugar daddies. However good questions can still reveal a lot about the value that consultant will bring to the table for your church.
The first place to start in terms of references is to contact other churches you know that have held capital campaigns. Ask them about the firm they engaged and the others they interviewed. Experience is the best teacher. However realize that no two churches are a like so the firm that matched up well for your buddy might not be a match for you. Whatever you do don’t fail to check references!
Ask good questions. We tell our clients that the value is in the questions. I find that most churches are asking the wrong questions that lead them to poor decisions. In 2007 I wrote an article entitled, “Asking the Right Questions of Potential Partners.” Here are the major points of that article…
What are the right questions?
The question we are generally asked is, “How many on site visits will you make?” A better question might be, Will you have enough time to make our campaign a success?
The question, “When is the best time of the year to have our campaign?”, can trap you into a calendar date that benefits the stewardship company and their cash flow. Consider asking, “When is the best time to have our campaign?”
The question “How much can we raise?” provokes a sales answer. A more comprehensive question might be “What is our capacity for raising funds?
Some Christian Leaders ask, “Can we raise X amount?” Most of the time you will get a yes answer. A more definitive question would be, “How long will it take to raise what we need?”
Finally, the question is not, “How much will this cost us?” Instead ask, “How much value will your company bring to our ministry?”
Remember, the value is in the questions. Ask good questions!
Pray! A few years ago a staff member of a church where I had done a campaign at was called by another church for a reference. Forty five minutes after answering question after questions that staff member finally said, “You guys have all the information you need. You just need to get a sense of what God is telling you.” It was good advice. At the end of the day what is it that you sense is the leading of the Holy Spirit. Don’t fail to start and end with prayer.
You are going to spend thousands of dollars in some cases for a consultant. Your desire is for them to help you raise millions of dollars to help make your dream become a reality. This is a crucial decision for your church. So, take the right steps to make the right decision!
Mark Brooks – The Stewardship Coach
Founder and President
The Charis Group and Charis Giving Solutions
Would you like to know how to increase your giving? I am holding a free webinar on September 10th entitled, “The 5 Keys for Increased Giving.” You can register at https://attendee.gotowebinar.com/register/5679350652688038914