How much should you pay for capital campaign help? If you are looking towards a capital campaign and know you need help the biggest hurdle you have of convincing your church to hire a stewardship firm is the price of the product. Nearly every church I know that did their own capital campaign did so to save money. The sad reality is that in almost every instance that I know those churches raised far less than when they used a stewardship firm. So, because of price many churches raise less than what their potential might be. Why is this?
There are two negative causes for this result. First, while it might seem harsh the reality is that many churches are simply cheap. They want something for nothing. They cannot see the value of a consultant no matter what you tell them. They simply cannot get over why they need to spend money to raise money. So, they look for shortcuts as a means towards saving money. The reality is they end up losing money.
Recently one of my larger churches decided they did not need my services in 2015. So they saved $24K that year but their giving declined by almost $100K. The pastor called earlier this year to put me back on retainer! He realized he could not afford another $24K in savings to lose $100K!
Secondly, the bigger cause of churches wanting to do their own campaigns is the outrageous fees most companies charge churches. Stewardship firms rationalize their fees by telling you that A. you are essentially hiring another staff member for three years and that B. they will raise multiply times their fee. The first is a lie and the second while potentially true still does not legitimize their fee.
“That is the largest contract I have ever won.” Many years ago when I was with another firm I went with our lead sales guy to a very large African American church to talk about them hiring us for their campaign. The fee was around $150K. When I walked with the salesman to the car he bragged that that contract was the largest he had ever won. Then he said this, “I can charge African American churches any fee I want. They never negotiate so I just always set a high fee.” His quote had nothing to do with what it cost us to come, materials we would prepare or even a justification for how much we deserved in compensation. It was simply get as much from the church as you can. Before the Great Recession, the height of building, those that owned stewardship firms became multi-millionaires.
Stories like the above is why I left the major firm I worked at and started The Charis Group. From the beginning we set about to change the industry. That is pretty bold for a small firm like ours up against the big boys. We did two things immediately in order to put churches more in control of the campaign process.
We did away with salesmen. Salesmen always paint you a rosy picture. That is a nice way of saying that the moment they open their mouths they are lying! I know that is harsh but I have tons of stories to back this up. At The Charis Group the one who talks first to your team is the one you will work with for the entire three years of the campaign. We sell what we work and work what we sell. Why is that important? Because at the sales end of the process whatever we promise we know we are the ones delivering. So, unlike that salesmen you will see us throughout. Thus, we have to tell the truth.
We set our fees based upon what you need not what we want to charge you. We do have to put bread on our table. However we feel you should be charged a price you can afford and that you get what you pay for. We base our fee upon the budget size of a church. We also break out the various parts of the campaign by percentages so that you can decide what piece of what we offer you actually need. So,
We have a pricing plan for any size church for any type of help you need. So, how much should you pay for capital campaign help? Give us a call and find out!
Mark Brooks – The Stewardship Coach