Chapter Two from the Church Capital Campaign Journal

In the previous chapter, I briefly discussed how churches can prepare well for capital campaigns.  The information I shared was inspired by what I learned over the last eleven years of consulting and coaching church leaders through capital campaigns.  In this piece, I will move us forward into the actual campaign and will discuss four key practices for leading and managing healthy campaigns.  Here is how you can campaign well.

  • Manage the data. In other words, make sure you are keeping track of all campaign activity within one software or spreadsheet. If members attend a campaign gathering, make sure their attendance is captured.  If certain members refuse to pledge, ensure you capture this information as well, along with the reason they declined participation. Most churches can’t afford a Development Coordinator like some non-profits can, but you need to make sure someone is coordinating and capturing all of these key data points. Forgive the punchline, but sloppy data management leads to a sloppy campaign.
  • Ask for large gifts. Healthy campaigns typically receive large pledges which comprise 50% or more of the project goal.  More specifically, these campaigns develop one single pledge, which, on average, equates to 10-20% of the project goal.  I have worked with a few campaigns where the lead pledge was low as 5% and these campaigns still reached their goals.  The insight here is to identify community members who have the potential for establishing these lead, momentum-building commitments and boldly ask them to consider giving generously.
  • Prioritize relationships. Healthy campaigns foster personal vision-casting, fellowship, and asking.  In-person asking is the most influential way to ask for large gifts and gifts of smaller equivalents.  These relationships require a lot of volunteers and coordination but their potential for impact is worth the focus and effort.  Mediums for personal, face-to-face engagement include dinners, small groups, and home visits.
  • All pastors and church leaders need to be engaged in the campaign and involved in influencing others to share financial resources with the campaign.  Simply put, church leaders should not merely outsource campaign leadership to a sub-committee.  Yes, a leadership team is needed to build and execute the effort.  However, the leaders of the church community need to personally prioritize the Initiative as well.  Best practices for church leadership and pastoral involvement include:
    1. Personally inviting members to attend events and visits,
    2. Having personal involvement in events and certain visits,
    3. Sharing personal stories regarding why they are supporters of the campaign, and
    4. Offering their own financial resources with the campaign and personally making the ask of others when appropriate.

How can church communities campaign well?

  • Manage the data
  • Ask for large gifts
  • Prioritize relationships
  • Ensure your leadership leads by example and through personal engagement

Put these four tactics to work, and you will campaign well.  In the previous chapter, we discussed how you can prepare well.  And in the next chapter we will discuss how you can finish well.

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