Do you know the 5 keys to a successful campaign? Not all capital campaigns are alike because not all churches are alike. At the same time not all that a church is attempting to raise money for is the same. Some projects are easier to rally people to support than others. First campaigns are more successful than the second or successive campaigns.
Vision! Vision more than any other thing will determine how much you raise and how many people will pledge. Forever we have shared the 3 C’s of vision. Every vision must be…
- Clear – Does it make sense to your donors? Can they repeat it to a friend?
- Concise – Great visions don’t require you to write a book. The best vision can be restated easily by your members.
- Compelling – Does it impact the heart of the donor in such a way that they willingly make a sacrificial commitment?
To raise dollars you MUST raise vision. We spend a majority of our time with churches on the front end of their campaign working on the vision and then getting leaders buy in early.
Pastoral Involvement. My old boss John Maxwell says, “Everything rises and falls on leadership.” Nowhere is this more apparent than in a capital campaign. Churches where the Senior Pastor is involved fully in the process always raise more than the churches whose pastor takes a back seat. If a pastor is reticent about the campaign so will his leaders and ultimately the congregation. I tell pastor this, the amount of time you put into the campaign directly impacts the results of the campaign. We spend time coaching our pastors in an area that their seminaries were silent about. It pays to have a coach.
Leaders fully informed and on board. The majority of what is pledged and given will come from a minority of your members. Your leaders will be the ones making a difference in whether you raise what you need or face failure. Leaders must be fully informed from start to finish. Never assume they know what you know. Never assume they are on board. Take the time to answer their questions, deal with their concerns and elicit their support. If your leaders are not on board you will not only not raise significant funds but the congregation will also not get on board. A congregation will not go where your leaders have not gone! We help you get your leaders informed and on board from day one!
Follow the plan! Recently one of our consultants shared with me the results of four campaigns. The pledge to budget ratios ranged from 6 times a churches operating budget to barely over one times. I asked him what he felt were the keys to the successful campaigns. Of the one that raised six times their budget he said of them, “they followed the plan to the letter.” Of course one reason they pledged so high was because they had significant donors to begin with. Yet the pastor followed the advice of his consultant in working with this key segment and it paid off. I cannot tell you how frustrating it is for us as consultants to have plans be jettisoned in the middle of a campaign. Almost as frustrating is if they are ignored completely. Plans in and of themselves don’t raise dollars but they do help make it easier.
Don’t hesitate to make the “ask!” One of the biggest mistakes I see pastors make is failing to draw the net on commitment weekend. Too often they fear what “they” will say. No pastors wants to be tainted as the preacher who always talks about money. What happens then is then go timid when it comes time to call people to step up. If your vision is compelling why would you NOT ask people to support it? We in the Church are about changing the world for good. Why would we NOT ask our people to support that life changing mission? Don’t get to the one yard line only to fumble!
These five keys will either make or break your next campaign. We can help you navigate your way through them.
Mark Brooks – The Stewardship Coach