How to run a church capital campaign?

Question: How do I run a church capital campaign?

Answer:

  1. Start with your data – Your offertory data is your window into who has the capacity to give and who is philanthropic at your congregation. People are remarkably consistent. If you don’t track this data, start doing it.
  2. Understand the 80/20 rule – If your church needs to raise $500,000 and you have 100 active members everyone should just give $5,000. Right? Wrong! Everyone has different financial situations $5,000 might be a drop in the bucket for some members and far too much for others. Everyone has a different approach, but in my experience face-to-face asks of a specific dollar amount have been successful.
  3. Create a planning committee – This committee should be made up of the influential leaders at your church. This committee should have a majority of your larger donors.
  4. Build a consensus around your case for support – No initiative has the backing of 100% of members, but take the temperature on your congregation before you launch a capital campaign. This is usually done in a planning study
  5. Set a realistic goal – Can your project be funded by your church members? Most experts project that churches can raise 1-2 times annual offertory on a capital campaign. This is variable. Your consultant can help you determine the right campaign goal.
  6. Have Good Systems – A successful capital campaign is made up of many tiny tasks. Make sure you have a good system to manage campaign prospects, campaign tasks, and campaign volunteers.

I’ll end with a quick story.

When I was in my teens, my church raised money to build a new recreation center. When my pastor would ask for gifts to this effort he would emphasize that a campaign gift was “over and above your tithes and offerings”. Translate: We need to build the recreation center, but we still need to keep the lights on here at the church. Keep this in mind as you launch your capital campaign.

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