Prior to moving forward with a church capital campaign, here are 5 important steps that can substantially improve your results.
Before you get started on a church capital campaign, spend time to understand your “why.” Being able to articulate your why, or the purpose of your project, is critical to inspiring your supporters. Whether your project is new construction, renovation, debt retirement, outreach, or increasing endowment, it is essential to communicate why it is important. How will your completed project transform lives? What impact will your project have on your ability to do God’s work in the world? Clearly state why a church capital campaign is necessary and why it is urgent. By doing so, you will build momentum and support before you launch, ensuring a successful campaign. (For more insights on clarifying vision, click here.)
Those who provide financial leadership to the ministries of your church also play a vital role in your church capital campaign. Before your plans are final, meet with your financial leaders to discuss the project details and inspire them with your why. Some of your financial leaders are business leaders in your community. Ask for their input, invite them into the conversation, and learn from their wisdom. Those who have the capacity to make major gifts can dramatically impact your results. People typically help fund a project they helped to conceive. [For more information on how to engage Financial Leaders, go here].
Once you have clarified your why, and gained the support of your financial leaders, engage the various groups within your church. Build excitement around the project, answer questions, and develop advocates for the campaign. Once your core constituents and leaders have caught your vision for the project, they will be able to share their enthusiasm with others. Early momentum and excitement will build as you prepare to launch your campaign.
Regardless which communication channels you use, have the necessary processes in place to ensure clear and timely communication. Is your church software current and able to track capital campaign commitments? If you plan to use direct mail, email, or texting, do you have up-to-date contact information for your members? Do you have a current social media plan? Are your members connecting with you on your various social media platforms? Is your church actively encouraging egiving (More on egiving here and here)? Before you launch, consider all the ways in which you will share information and shore up your processes to ensure clear and timely delivery of your messages.
Hiring a professional consulting firm will ensure you are raising as much as possible to fund your vision for ministry. Some churches choose to conduct capital campaigns without the benefit of counsel, often with a lackluster result. In-house campaigns typically raise less than professionally-run campaigns and can significantly strain staff resources. At Horizons, we believe in the importance of hiring not just the best firm, the best fit for your church. Hiring a consultant is similar to hiring a part-time staff person because of the time commitment and importance of the relationship. The vast array of Horizons’ Ministry Strategists’ styles, experiences, and denominational backgrounds ensures a perfect match to meet the needs of every church.
Many years and miles of backpacking in America’s wilderness areas have taught me a few things about taking a trail for the first time – about intentionally wandering into a much bigger and wilder world where you are not in control of everything. Visionary and entrepreneurial church leaders are drawn to something analogous – to stepping out in faith onto unfamiliar new paths. Are you ready to finally get out there? Ready to do something bold and different? Ready to go somewhere unknown where you are not in control? Here are six lessons I’ve learned from taking the trail for the first time.
Your sense of adventure and faith are admirable, but a successful journey is going to take some serious preparation and work on your part. Regardless of what you may think, you are not likely the first explorer in these parts. Learn everything you can about where you think you are going. Do the research. Talk with people who have taken that trail. Walk with someone who has taken the trail, if possible. Know as much as you can about what you are getting into. Study the landscape, topography, and the changing weather. Adequately prepare for the dangers and the wonders you may encounter. Know how to use whatever your compass is. If you have no idea what your definition is of true north, then you will never find your way. Sure, you may well decide to deviate from your original course; but creativity works better if you have a clear picture of your context to start with.
I do not know a better way to say this than … you do not need more and more stuff to carry on your back. You are not going to make it very far carrying a lot of weight that you don’t actually need. From experience, I can tell you … the more times you take a trail, the lighter your backpack becomes. Thoughtfully pack the necessities you will need for your journey and leave the rest behind. Pare down. Then pare down again. Focus on the basics — the fundamentals. The problem with most churches is not what they might do in the future – the problem is the drag of all that they think they need to carry with them into the future. Before taking the trail for the first time, lighten your load by removing extra baggage; only take the stuff that matters.
Taking a trail for the first time is not something you can do all on your own. It is not likely you will travel with a large group, so choose your companions carefully. Find a mentor, a visionary, an entrepreneur, another leader, or a friend to share the journey. Your trailblazing companions should provide perspective, insight, encouragement, caution, help, and company along the way. Yes, it is possible to trek alone, but you are more likely to successfully reach your destination with trusted companions alongside you.
Explore. Discover. Ask new questions. Be amazed and awed and blessed. If you have already lost your sense of wonder and amazement, then you are better off staying comfortably at home. Walk with your head up instead of watching your feet. Remember to look around! Stop often just to take in everything. Be open to new ideas — perhaps even grander than you dared to imagine. Listen well. Write and keep a travel journal.
The wider world is an enormous place that you are just a small part of. That viewpoint may be the most important discovery of your journey. This trail was never actually about you anyway. This journey is about God’s plan – the same one that created the wilderness you are exploring. Go discover what else is out there.
Help other people to experience what you have experienced. The trail you walked is not real to anyone else until you help them to step out on their own. You have encountered something inspiring and amazing. That is wonderful! But now, how do you help other people experience that journey for themselves? How can you create and facilitate experiences to help other people walk their own paths of discovery?
Images by Mick Tune
In this informative and fun 1-hour webinar hosted by Church Executive, learn how to reach and connect with Millennials from ministry experts Kristine Miller and Len Wilson from Horizons Stewardship Company.
Dispel myths and discover basic truths about the Millennial generation and the key events that are shaping them, including latest research and best practices for your ministry setting.
(1) What is true (and what isn’t) about the Millennial generation
(2) The latest research findings about Millennials and their views on philanthropy and giving
(3) What engagement is, and why it’s the No. 1 key for this generation
(4) How to develop messages, channels and communication tactics for reaching Millennials in your church.
To access the full webinar, click here.
You can find the presentation that accompanied this webinar by clicking here.