In capital campaigns how you start determines where you will end up. My mentor, Dave Sutherland used to say, “You never have to recover from a good start.” Most churches get off to a bad start before they ever get rolling in their capital campaign. If the foundation you lay at the start is wrong the results at the end could be disastrous. Many a race is won or lost by how a runner gets out of the blocks to start the race. The same is true for churches entering into a capital campaign.
Common starting block mistakes churches make – Here are some of the most common mistakes churches make.
Having unrealistic expectations of how much they can raise. This is perhaps the biggest mistake churches make. They over estimate what their giving potential is. This often leads them to plan for a larger project than they can afford which exacerbates their problems thus creating more potential for failure.
Assuming everyone is on board. You need to know before hand what objections your people might have with regards to your project. Knowing potential land mines helps you craft a message to meet their questions. Again, my mentor Dave Sutherland used to say, “A question anticipated is an opportunity.”
This is one reason we do Feasibility Studies well before the start of the campaign. Not everyone sees the vision of your project as you do. It is one thing to vote for a project but another thing to put my money into that project. You have to know ahead of time what questions are in the minds of your donors BEFORE you start the campaign.
Thinking it will be easier than it is. Let me be frank, a lot of the campaign process is easy. As I always say, “How hard is it to put together a prayer team?” A campaign however rests upon a solid foundation and laying that foundation correctly is often complex and difficult. Going it alone typically means problems later on that could drastically impact your results. A seasoned, experienced partner CAN make it easier for you than if you do it yourself. Remember, it is never as easy as you think!
Believing lenders will loan more than they will. The good news is that banks are back to lending churches money. The reality is they are much more cautious about who they loan to and what amounts. If your project is bigger than you can find financing for you run the risk of imploding your campaign and your project before you get started. A good consultant can help you navigate through this land mine.
Not giving enough time to the process. As I write this it is early in the month of August. We are now working with churches for spring campaigns. Inevitably we will have churches call us in a few weeks wanting to do a capital campaign, this fall! While that can in some cases be pulled off typically the more time you give to the process the more successful the outcome. We advise at least six months on average. The more complex the project, like relocations, the more time will be needed. Again, a good consultant can help you with the timing of your campaign.
Are you set for a good start? It is never too early to begin the planning process for your next campaign. We can help you now getting you out of the blocks towards the finish line. It is always harder to catch up than to stay ahead. Call us today and find out how we can help you get off to a good start!
Mark Brooks – The Stewardship Coach