One of the keys towards increasing the amount a church can raise in a capital campaign is earning the right to make the “ask.” My old boss John Maxwell wrote Law #10, Leaders touch a heart before they ask for a hand. That is good advice especially as it pertains to capital campaigns. Here is why…
One half of those that give half of your annual budget will give half of what is given to your capital campaign. See last week’s blog post. This is a fact our data over eighteen years of research has shown from large to small churches. So, this small fraction of your congregation MUST understand and be on board with what you are doing. Before they will make a substantial commitment to your campaign they will need to know the reason for raising the money fits your vision and that you can pull off the plan. In fact they want to know what the plan is.
Yet BEFORE you get to the campaign you need to build a relationship with this key segment. If the only time you call me is when you are in a capital campaign what does that say to me? Conversely if you never call me, even when you are in a capital campaign what does that say to me?
You need to start building relationships well before the start of your next capital campaign. Recently one of my key ongoing clients enlarged my yearly task towards helping one of their campuses first capital stewardship campaign. This will be a $6 million dollar campaign, double what they took in last year. In February I had a telephone conversation with the staff of this campus and talked them through how to meet with their leaders. I advised at least one lunch a week with this segment. The start of the capital campaign is in September with the commitment in early November.
I wanted the staff to build relationships with their leaders well before the launch of the campaign. That way when the call is made to have lunch with them AFTER the campaign is launch they already have a relationship with those key donors. The meeting before the meeting is the key to a successful meeting! By the time we get to the campaign the staff will have already built key relationships with their leaders building into their lives trust, confidence and rapport.
Here are some simple steps towards earning the right to ask. Each one can be accomplished for key giving and serving members of your church. Try…
- Buying lunch for one key leader a week. At the lunch ask about their family, their business, the challenges they are facing and how you can pray for them.
- Praying for a few leaders every day. As a Senior Pastor I had my secretary put five cards with member’s names on my desk every morning to pray for them. They each got a letter two weeks in advance advising them of the day and time that I would be praying for them. I then wrote each a hand written card telling them that I prayed for them that morning.
- Recognize key dates of your leaders. Birthdays and anniversaries are obvious times you can reach out to members. Think also about important dates that you might minister to them on such as the anniversary of the loss of a loved one.
In other words, touch a heart before you ask for a hand. Every person in your church deserves to have their hearts touched. However my experience is that often we neglect our leaders especially our giving leaders. Don’t assume they are fine. Build into their lives BEFORE you get to the capital campaign. Then you will have earned the right to make the “ask.”
Mark Brooks – The Stewardship Coach