How much do you think we can raise is the number one question that most churches have for us when they begin looking for a stewardship firm. My answer to that question has always been a bit different. I am a consultant not a salesman. A salesman gives you the best case scenario. A consultant knows he has to work with you for the next three years. We tend to be honest and upfront. That puts us at a disadvantage over some competitors who will tell you what you want to hear not what you need to hear.
Here is the truth, no one knows how much you can raise until you actually start the campaign process. Even then there are so many variables that it is impossible to tell any church exactly what they can raise. Some of what determines how much you will raise is dependent upon what your donor base looks like. If you are a blue collar church you will not be able to raise as much as your pastor friend whose church has doctors, lawyers and business owners. If you are a minority church your ability to raise funds is different from white churches. If your area has been hard hit by the economy, think Detroit, it will impact what you raise. The truth is there is not a set range we can project to you.
So, as you interview stewardship firms if they brag to you about their pledge to budget ratio beware. Most firms give you doctored data. They throw out their less successful campaigns so they average is better. They cite statistics prior to The Great Recession. They talk about wealthy churches raising three to four times their annual operating budgets. They do this to get your business. They are failing to be honest and upfront about the realities of the day we live in. It is simply harder to raise funds than it was in times past.
Even my competitors are now writing about the realities of declining giving and capital campaigns. A couple of weeks ago one of the leading firms in my industry sent out a great paper about how campaigns have been impacted by the economy. I applaud them for the piece. It would be easy for us to simply give you a sales answer. You deserve better.
Here is the truth…
Capital campaigns today are seeing less pledged and less given than in the past.
Yet still you can raise the dollars you need for the projects you have. You simply must understand the times we live in and how the process now needs to work to collect the dollars you want. That is where we can come in and help. Starting now, today, you can begin the path to fully funding your next project. It might take you longer than it did a decade ago but you can do it. We are here for you!
Mark Brooks – The Stewardship Coach