How to Know Which Capital Campaign Approach is Best for Your Church

by | February 3, 2020

Capital Campaigns

Capital campaigns have been around for decades. In fact, capital campaigns as we know them today go back nearly 100 years. They first became popular vehicles for local churches to fund ministry expansion projects in the 1980s, and their popularity has continued to grow since that point.

It’s unlikely you’ve been in ministry leadership for any length of time and not experienced a capital campaign. Whatever opinions and experiences you bring to the conversation about capital campaigns, no one should fail to ask if one might benefit your ministry.

Nothing has yet replaced the ability for capital campaigns to: 
  • Unite the church around a common cause.  
  • Challenge existing givers to greater levels of generosity. 
  • Invite new members to start giving.
  • Invite high-capacity givers to participate in transformational ways. 

Given the capital campaign’s long-term popularity, it can be easy to think that you might have seen it all. That is not the case.  Capital campaigns are still evolving just as churches are evolving their ministry strategies and practices. 

Single-Fund vs. Two-Fund/Multi-Fund Capital Campaigns 

One of the most recent evolutions is the use of a single-fund approach to capital campaigns. The focus is on raising giving to a single fund for both ministry and capital needs.  Single-fund campaigns were a result of the last recession.  As banks tightened their credit policies toward churches due to increased default rates, churches (especially those with no tradition of annual giving campaigns) responded by learning how to cash flow smaller ministry expansion projects while also focusing on growing their annual giving.  Rather than doing one three-year campaign, a church could do three consecutive one-year campaigns.

Some believe a single-fund campaign and multi-fund campaign are two different things. This is not true.  They are simply two pathways to the same end.  Make no mistake about it—single-fund or multi-fund—it’s still a capital campaign.

There are advantages and disadvantages to each approach. The only way to know which is the best for your church is to understand your culture, ministry context, and level of financial support for your project.

How to Know Which Approach is Best for Your Church 

God’s vision for your church deserves the funding to make it happen. First, craft a case statement that articulates that vision in such a way that inspires others. Then, and perhaps most importantly, make sure that the vision statement has buy-in from the ministry and financial leaders in the church. Their buy-in creates momentum that catapults the vision into action.

At Horizons Stewardship, we have mastered helping leaders craft vision case statements and testing that vision with ministry and financial leaders. Our process, strengthened by focus groups, one-on-one interviews, and targeted surveys help guide churches to fund the vision to which God is calling. It is only after this process can we help determine if a one-fund or two-fund/multi-fund approach is best. God deserves the best step forward, and informed, strategic approaches, like Horizons help get the church to fulfill their call.


Next Steps:

Do you want access to more practical tools to help you cultivate a culture of generosity in your church in 2020?  Visit our Giving365 resource center.

Click here to request a free 20 minute consultation by a Horizons Ministry Strategist about how your church can increase ministry funding and improve discipleship through a process we call Next Level Generosity.



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