8 Keys to Successful Capital Campaigns for Churches
So many churches rely on consultants to handle their capital campaigns, which limits the amount of information and experience church leaders have to share with one another. While it’s incredibly useful to bring an experienced consultant on board, church leaders should be educated about the fundamental elements of a successful campaign. The more teams understand these elements, the faster they can propel their church toward its funding and ministry goals. Each of the following eight components together create successful capital campaigns for churches.
1. Detailed Timeline
Your timeline exists at the heart of your campaign. It guides both the big-picture trajectory and smaller tasks that need to be accomplished along the way. Getting a timeline ironed out at the beginning doesn’t mean there won’t be unexpected hiccups to handle. However, a detailed timeline anchors your vision to reality and lays the groundwork for steady success. Break your timeline into a few capital campaign phases, including pre-campaign planning, campaign kickoff, and follow through. List tasks to be completed within each stage and share the timeline with all team members. Many churches hang their timeline somewhere prominent in the church office to keep everyone on track.
2. Case for Support
Successful capital campaigns for churches require an assessment of the congregation’s current state. Is your donor base active and engaged, or is recurring giving declining? What is the leadership culture and how effective has it been in generating new donors? Have there been leadership transitions that have strengthened or weakened your donor base? The ability to articulate an organization’s vision, campaign costs, problems, and plans to resolve problems will create an airtight case for support. In addition, knowing why the current time is right for a campaign is crucial.
3. Core Leadership Team
Leadership makes or breaks capital campaigns for churches. As executive directors work with pastors, board members, consultants, and capital campaign committees, delegating can become confusing. Leaders need to be sure to examine themselves and make sure their stated level of commitment matches what they can do. Once the campaign gets going, the last thing a church needs is core leadership team members missing deadlines and losing track of responsibilities. The energy of your donors rides on the energy of your core team, making their confidence a key element to success.
4. Gift Pyramid
Constructing a gift pyramid is a practical way to ensure your church meets its funding goals. A gift pyramid is a visual representation of how you expect to raise your funds. Some churches create them in the form of a chart. Donors are categorized by their level of engagement and giving capacity, giving churches a birdseye view of who will give and how much they will give. While these estimates are not precise, churches can put their faith in donors who have supported them for a long period at a particular financial level.
5. Campaign Budget
Capital campaign budgets can create the most apprehension among church leaders. Identifying all potential funding avenues can round out your outlook and encourage core team members. Tapping into resources like planned giving is one way churches can receive support from loyal donors in the present when they need it most. Churches can expect to spend 8-15% of the overall funding goal on capital campaign costs. While your committee members may try to hold back from spending on the campaign itself, it is an unavoidable expense that supports your campaign’s end goal.
6. Electronic Giving Software
Electronic giving software plays a key role during capital campaigns. For some members, it may be the first time they’re learning how to give online. For others, it may be their first time setting up recurring payments. Capital campaigns are the perfect time to educate your donors about the many ways they can give, whether through your website, a text, or an in-church giving kiosk. With a solid communications strategy in place, donors will be far more fluent in your giving software by the end of a capital campaign.
7. Donor Recognition
Showing your congregation you care is an integral component to any successful campaign, but how to do it sometimes stumps church leaders. When in doubt, remember that simplicity is key. Whether you thank them one-on-one at in-person events or list their names in the monthly newsletter, donors will appreciate your recognition in any way it comes.
8. Communications Strategy
While your church may already have a general communications strategy, creating one that is specific to your capital campaign is crucial. Churches should treat capital campaign communications like any other marketing campaign, creating a list of tasks to be delegated. Among these are choosing a capital campaign slogan, deciding on update frequency, and choosing primary communication channels like email and Facebook. Many churches also create digital logos and building installations like fundraising thermometers to keep count of total donations. The focus of these messages should always be to keep members excited and share campaign details as they play out.
Learn more about Donorwerx electronic giving solutions for churches of all sizes and budgets. Maximize the potential of your communication strategy, raise recurring gifts, and engage your donor base like never before. Donorwerx offers software that conforms to your current giving model and expands its potential.
Your church has a unique story and vision for the future. Capital campaigns for churches are a powerful way to put power to these plans and make vision a reality.