If your next campaign is going to be a success you need to know how to pick a capital campaign partner. There are scores of firms out there as well as many guys who do campaigns on the side. How to you make sure you have the right consultant for your next campaign? Here are some key thoughts.
First, realize that you DO need help. Campaigns that are self-run always raise less than those that use a professional. Do you really want to risk the success of your next campaign simply to save a few dollars? Campaigns are often complex and a seasoned campaign consultant can help you navigate through this mine field. Yet the level of help you need is dependent upon your situation. From my twenty plus years in this industry here are some key thoughts…
Here are my rules of thumb for what level of partnership you and your church might need. Consider the following…
- If you have never held a capital campaign or it has been years since your last campaign you probably need a full partnership.
- If your project is a drastic change from the status quo like relocation then you probably need a full partnership.
- If you know the program side of campaigns, putting together prayer teams for instance, you probably need a limited partnership.
- If what you are raising funds for is straight forward like debt reduction you probably only need a limited partnership.
- If you want to achieve 90% plus return on pledges you will need some type of help and a limited partnership should fit the bill.
- If you are in doubt, get help!
OK, I need help but how do I go about picking the right partner? Here are some things to consider as you pick your next partner. Always remember that you are hiring the consultant not the firm they work for. You want to know about their…
- Experience. Does the consultant you are going to work with have experience in the field? How many churches have they worked with? Have they worked with churches like yours? Nothing beats experience!
- Flexibility and adaptability. Can the consultant you are going to work with design a campaign that is flexible to the needs of your distinct congregation? Can they adapt “their plan” to fit your context and culture? Are their methods up to date or are they still stuck in the last century?
- Availability. You want a consultant that has the time for you. Many firms load down their consultants with multiple campaigns making it harder for them to be available when you need them. Ask your consultant how many campaigns they are doing now and how many they will do in a calendar year. If the answer is more than six or eight they might not have time for you.
- Accessibility. Along with availability is the consultant being there for you when you need them. Can you reach your consultant 24/7? Someone who works 9 to 5 might not be the right partner for you.
- Truthfulness. We don’t have a sales staff. Salesmen tell you what they think you want to hear not what you need to hear. You need someone that is going to be a straight shooter with you and for you.
- Likability. While I am not hired to be your BFF if you don’t like me you will never answer the phone. If you don’t answer my phone how can you get the help you pay for? Can you connect with the consultant is a key question. Can you see the consultant connecting with your leaders? If not then you need to keep looking.
- Spirituality. While you are not the Holy Spirit you can tell if someone has a walk with the Lord or not. Make sure the consultant you are going to work with not only has a relationship with the Lord but is also active in their local church. Why would you hire someone who doesn’t have the favor of God upon their lives? They might be brilliant but unless the Lord builds the house we labor in vain!
Finally, talk to references about your consultant. Talking with those that have used the consultant will give you the best information of whether you think this is the right consultant for you and your church. Nothing beats a reference! It might take you time but it will be worth the effort.
I pray these thoughts will help you towards choosing the right partner for you and your church. We are ready to get to work when you are!
Mark Brooks – The Stewardship Coach