My answer to nearly every question asked of me is, it depends. Why is that? Because every situation is different. Every question begs another question. Life is not cut and dried and guess what, neither is your church. This is especially true when it comes to questions about a potential capital campaign. How I answer depends upon how you answer the questions I have in order to answer your question.
Frankly I have lost a lot of presentations over this. Often I get asked, what will a campaign with you look like? How should I know without first getting to know you and your church? If I give you some stock answer I basically am simply giving you a sales answer or a program answer. This is one reason we reject all Request For Proposals. They ask the wrong questions to begin with and any question asked should truthfully be answered, it depends.
I have to be honest with you that many firms will tell you whatever they think you want to hear. Get the contract and then work it out later is their strategy. I once asked a sales guy who had just promised something to a church that I knew we could not deliver upon why he said that. His response was, “That is what the market demands in order to get the contract.” I care more about being honest and upfront than I do with winning a contract from you. If all I am interested in is making cash then I need a new job.
Stewardship firms should remember that we work with the Bride of Christ. Since that is true we are accountable for what we say, what we promise and how we answer questions.
Raising funds for your church is not so easy that a stock answer will suffice. If the firms you are looking at are giving you sales answers or even answers that seem off or too good to be true then run away.
Capital campaigns are now more difficult than ever with layered complexities. A cute sales answer is not what you need. You need someone honest enough to say, “that depends.” Let’s get started and find out.
One last thing. It depends is not my final answer. It is typically my first answer. Give me the time, information and resources I need and I will have THE answer to your question. And if you wonder if that is true or not just call our clients. The best way to get a sense of whether a stewardship firm is right for you is to talk to those churches that have engaged that firm before.
At The Charis Group we work to get the answers to your questions but it takes more information to get the right answer rather than just giving AN answer.
Mark Brooks – The Stewardship Coach