To successfully raise the dollars you need for your next project you need to know and avoid the 7 most common mistakes churches make in capital campaigns. In over eighteen years of working with churches I have found there are seven mistakes that can be land mines that blow up a campaign. The 7 are…
Holding unrealistic expectations. Most churches under estimate how much their project will cost and over estimate how much they can raise. They also err when it comes to projecting what the project will mean for growth after it is built. These unrealistic expectations cause them to over promise to the congregation things that seldom occur. Unrealistic expectations can set you up for a huge failure.
Assuming they know what they don’t know. Most pastors assume everyone is on board. They assume everyone understands the needs of the project. They assume everyone will support it financially. Then they are surprised at the poor results of the campaign. We work hard on the front end of campaigns so that we KNOW what the issues are BEFORE we launch a campaign.
Not starting soon enough. Successful campaigns take time. How much time always depends upon the context of each church. However six month from when you want to hold the commitment is typically a good starting point for planning your capital campaign. Three months is pushing it but in some cases that will work. The bottom line is the more time you give to your campaign the better the outcome.
Prematurely launching their campaign. Some churches start too soon. This might seem counter to the last point but you can start too soon. For instance if you do not have answers to crucial questions donors will push back. You have to do your homework BEFORE the campaign begins not during. Before donors will give you more money they have to see that your plan makes sense and is achievable.
Being single focused versus being multi-focused. Here a church only focuses upon one aspect of the projects process. Typically they don’t worry about financing until in their minds they have a set number of the projects cost. Then they often don’t think about funding that project with a capital campaign until at the end of the process. A wise church knows that all three have to be considered and worked through simultaneously.
They have the Lone Ranger mentality. Many churches feel they can run a capital campaign on their own. How hard is a capital campaign? If you have done multiple campaigns you might be able to go it alone. If however there are complexities to your project you will benefit from outside help. Even the best athletes have a coach to make them better.
They go cheap. Most of the time the reason a church tries to do their own campaign is they don’t want to pay someone. The reality is that churches who do their own campaigns raise significantly less than churches who get some kind of help. If price is an issue talk with us as we have multiple tiers of help and pricing. We have plans that give you the help you need for a price you can afford.
Any or all of the above seven can blow up your campaign sometimes before it even gets started. Each of the above is avoidable. One reason you need a seasoned campaign consultant is to help you navigate through what is often a mine field just waiting to blow up in your face. We can help you navigate successfully through these potential mistakes. Call us today!
Mark Brooks – The Stewardship Coach