One question we get asked a lot is, “Do we still have time for a campaign?” It’s a great question and one of the key ones you should be asking. The timing of a capital campaign is crucial. Another question closely related is, “How much time does it take to hold a capital campaign?” In this post, I want to answer both of those questions.
First, know the seasons for capital campaigns. Before we answer these questions let me lay out the two seasons for capital campaigns, spring and fall. For spring campaigns, the time frame is to hold your commitment day either before Easter or before school gets out. For fall campaigns, you want to complete the pledging before Thanksgiving and the Holiday rush.
Next, determine how long you need for your capital campaign. There is no one set answer to this question. Yet, the more time you give to the planning process the more likely you are to have success. The answer of how long it takes for a capital campaign is tied to what you are raising money for. For instance, if your campaign is only for debt reduction in most cases you don’t need as long of time frame as if you were raising money for relocation.
Here is the key to answering the question of timing. The more potential questions in the minds of your donors the more time you need for planning, preparation and implementation of your campaign.
Six months on average is the time I advise for the first capital campaign of a major project such as a building or relocation. In some occasions, it can be held in less time. However, the more time you give to planning the less stress you will feel and the more likelihood of success.
So, how do you know if you still have time for a campaign? Here are some questions to ask…
- Is what we are raising funds for easily explained or will we need time to get our members up to speed?
- Is the “ask” simple or complex?
- Has it been a long time since we held a capital campaign or is this another in a succession of campaigns?
- Are our leaders already fully on board with what we are raising funds for?
- Are there major issues or initiatives already on our church calendar that would compete for the message of a campaign?
- Do we as a staff have the time at this time to invest in a campaign?
- Are all the pieces in place such as building plans, financing etc.?
These are just a few of the questions you should be asking and thinking about. A good consultant can help you think strategically through each of these and more.
Start with when you want money to come in and back up. This is one of the major keys towards understanding the timing of a campaign. If you put on the calendar when you want commitments and money to start back up at least three to six months and you will have a better clue of how long you need for your campaign.
It is always better to give yourself more time than you think you will need! This is one reason you need to start sooner rather than later on any capital campaign. It is also one major reason you should never go it alone when it comes to campaign planning. A good consultant can help you navigate through this difficult minefield.
Call us today and find out if you still have time for a capital campaign!
Mark Brooks – The Stewardship Coach