The reason why The Charis Group is different is that we understand that because we face changing times we must change our philosophy. I did not start this company to be different. I started The Charis Group to be more EFFECTIVE in helping churches maximize their potential. The sad reality is that though our society has changed nearly every capital campaign firm depends upon strategies designed in the last century. One of the most apparent ways in which this is manifest is in the building of multiple teams for the capital campaign. Let’s think about that.
Today’s typical church member rarely has an open night in their week. Between Little League, soccer practice, PTA meetings, and countless other activities your members rarely have a free moment. Today there are thus two commodities your member’s value, time and money. They are more likely to waste money buying a bigger take out burger than they are to waste what valuable time they have left on a busy work committee. Yet what most firms still advance is building out multiple teams doing what is essentially busy work. The myth has been that the more people you involve in your campaign the more dollars you raise. There is no empirical data to support this claim. No one has tested this theory and the firms that dig in and tell you this is the way to do a campaign rely only on their experience not upon factual data.
10% or less will commit 50% of what is pledged. 90% is pledged by around 30% of your donors. You know how we know this? We have spent over 18 years studying data in all kinds of church settings. We base our views first on empirical data not our experience.
Who signs up to work on a committee? Think about it. Who staffs virtually everything you do in your church? A core group of volunteers. So who will you go to when you need to build teams for your capital campaign? The folks you know will do the work. Who will they recruit to serve on their team? People they know who will do the work. So, essentially you are getting the already committed to commit to another task.
A compelling vision that makes sense is the key to a successful capital campaign NOT building out teams. People give to what they believe strongly in not whether or not you have them on the team. So, what is the answer?
One solution is to use existing structures to communicate the vision of your capital campaign. If you have small groups or Sunday School why would you try to re-invent the wheel? Why not use existing structures to tell the story? Your chances for success are greatly increased.
Work on your strong areas to get stronger. By old boss John Maxwell used to say if you are a 5 in administration you can go to all the conferences on administration, read all the books you can and you might get to a 6 or 7. He stated that you work on what you are good at to get better. Applying this principle to capital campaigns means that your major focus needs to be upon the group that you know is already invested into your ministry, your leaders. This is the path to success.
We are not opposed to teams if that works at your church. We are only saying that this works at fewer and fewer churches. America has changed and how we do capital campaigns must change too. If your campaign partner doesn’t see the need to change their 20th century practices it might be time to change firms.
Mark Brooks – The Stewardship Coach