If you are thinking about running a capital campaign you need to know that it’s time to get ready for fall! As I write this we are not even into spring and most of my readers are thinking of March Madness and their bracket choices. Yet wise church leaders are planning ahead NOW for the campaign they want to hold this fall.
Waiting too late is one of the biggest mistakes churches make when it comes to planning for a capital campaign. The earlier you start in the process the less pressure you will feel. Starting sooner gives you time to make adjustments. The later you plan the less room you have for dealing with the unexpected.
You need to know the two campaign cycles of the year. There are two major cycles for capital campaigns, spring and fall. Spring campaigns need to be completed either before Easter or before school gets out. Right now, at mid-March it is for all practical purposes too late to hold a capital campaign. So, your next window is fall.
The fall time frame runs from September to the Sunday before Thanksgiving. Here is the thing you need to be aware of, good planning is the key to a successful capital campaign. Good planning takes time. The other day I was asked how long that planning typically runs. My answer was two to three months. Right now we are in the planning stages for fall campaigns.
Fall campaign overview – The following will give you an idea of the kind of planning we do and the time frame.
March – Churches should be interviewing firms with a decision on who they want as their partner by the end of March.
April – We engage with churches to begin the Feasibility Study process. We start with an intense review of the churches past and current giving. We hold various meetings with staff and key lay leaders to begin the Feasibility process. Never hold a capital campaign without a feasibility study! Also, any firm that tells you a feasibility study is not necessary should be marked off your list!
May – We hold interviews with church leaders to determine support for the proposed project and their willingness to give to it. By the end of May we want our Feasibility Study finished and to church leaders for prayer and analysis.
June/July – We encourage these months as times for reflection upon the findings and fine tuning our message. We begin the process of building out the message for various communication platforms.
August – Final preparations for the campaign process are done and Leadership Meetings are held to set the stage for success.
September – Meetings with High Capacity Donors begin and run through the month.
October – The public phase of the campaign for the entire congregation with a Commitment Weekend at the end.
November – Giving begins!
The above is a generalization. Yet it should serve as a basis for your decision to move forward with a fall campaign. We can adjust the dates to fit your church calendar.
Do we ever do a capital campaign in less time? Yes, at times. We always say need trumps timing. There are times that you simply have to move quickly. We understand that and our process fits that times perfectly. Still the more time you give your campaign the more likely you have for it to be successful!
So, yes now is the time to get ready for fall! Call us today and we can set you on the path towards a successful capital campaign.
Mark Brooks – The Stewardship Coach
Founder and President
The Charis Group and Charis Giving Solutions