If you are going to raise the funds you need for your project you must know the most important part of a campaign, the beginning! We tell our clients that they never have to recover from a good start. Think about building a house. What is the most important part? Some might argue for their favorite part of a house yet the most important part is the foundation. Unless you have a secure foundation your house will never be what you dreamed it to be. The same is true for capital campaigns.
40% of our work is on getting the start of the campaign right. This makes us distinctively different than most stewardship firms. In twenty years of working with multiple churches we have found that if you lay the right foundation for a capital campaign it will nearly run by itself. Miss building the right kind of foundation or platform upon which the campaign is to be built upon and you risk the success of the campaign and fully funding your project.
We begin with the end in mind. Stephen Covey coined that term and it is especially applicable when it comes to campaign planning. Your goal is to maximize your churches giving potential. A capital campaign is different than the weekly offering. While your ultimately goal is to raise the needed dollars for your project you MUST do that in a way that doesn’t endanger your relationship with your members. A few years back I lost a campaign to another firm. Years later I wrote the key lay person in the church to ask how the campaign went. Here is his response…
“As you know the firm we used runs a very direct campaign with a suggested specific dollar number for each congregant. While very successful, there was some breakage. We probably would not elect to go that route again. No black hats or white hats and as I say we were very successful, but we would probably not elect to go that direction again.”
The end is not simply to raise a specific amount but to unite all generations around the Kingdom purpose your project is intended to meet. What is your end game with the campaign you are about to hold? Are you leaders on board with that objective? How will you achieve the end in mind? Setting that course from the beginning will help avoid mistake throughout AND allow you to end where you wanted to end.
To end well you MUST plan well. Poor planning is one perhaps the Achilles heel of most churches. We wait until the last minute to do any planning or we don’t plan at all. Another fallacy is simply buying a “program” and plugging that into your church calendar.
The amount of work you put into the planning of your campaign is directly related to the success of that campaign. I tell clients that they will live for the next three years on the results they put into the campaign in the next three months. Are you investing time into planning out well your campaign?
As important as planning is, the success of your campaign rises and falls on a compelling vision. We advocate the Three C’s of Vision. It must be clear, concise and most of all compelling. Do you know if your leaders are on board with your vision? If your vision does not resonate with them you will not raise the funds you need. Since the vision is so crucial we spend a great deal of time helping our clients craft a compelling vision and then we ask leaders their input. This is called a Feasibility Study. Read this article on Feasibility Studies, Who Needs a Feasibility Study? Programs don’t raise dollars vision does!
How far out should you start planning? As soon as you think you have a need that a capital campaign must fund. Here is an axiom…
The more time you give to planning the more likely your campaign is to be successful!
So, let’s get started, NOW!
Mark Brooks – The Stewardship Coach