Capital Campaigns and Fundraising

Capital Campaigns and Fundraising

  • Posted by admin
  • On December 18, 2017
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Fundraising is where the church offers a service or product in exchange for a contribution. A church capital campaign, on the other hand, is the application of biblical stewardship principals to meet a Kingdom need through the regular freewill offerings of God’s people, over and above tithes and offerings.

A capital campaign is designed to help raise money for large capital projects such as construction, renovation, or the purchase of big-ticket items such as vans, organs or playgrounds. A properly run capital campaign will effectively raise money from within (and potentially outside) the congregation through giving above and beyond the current tithe and offering. Most importantly, a capital campaign is about spiritual growth and a biblical understanding of a topic that is of great emphasis in the scriptures – stewardship.

What a church capital campaign program is not is a high-pressure sales pitch used to “fleece the sheep” of their money. In fact, the focus really is not on money, it’s on communicating a Kingdom need and then meeting that need through the proper stewardship of time, talents and treasures.

Church  Fundraising  is  not  a  Capital   Campaign.   While  church  fundraisers  can  supplement  a  capital campaign, it should never be considered as an alternative to one. The two reasons for this are 1) there is no spiritual aspect or benefit, and 2) you will raise far more money through the purposeful, regular sacrificial giving of a capital campaign than through fundraising. After all, it takes a lot of candy bars or spaghetti dinners to pay for a new church building.

A church fundraiser can take the form of services for contribution (car wash, rent a teen, etc.) or it can be in the form of selling goods with the net proceeds going to the church. Bake sales, church dinners, and cookbooks are traditional, and have the advantage of seeming  more homey and old-fashioned, however  other fundraisers provide income over a longer term and can supplement more traditional forms of fundraising.

Seven areas to focus on during a Capital  Campaign:

  1. CLARIFY. The vision that dwells in the heart of the pastor must be clarified and made clear to the congregation. When the pastor gets up in front of the congregation and tries to explain how the asset- building needs are essential to fulfill the vision of the church, the purpose is to make the entire capital campaign process understandable.
  2. QUANTIFY.  Add together all the costs. Calculate a total. Take account of any additional amounts that should be included. If you are going to do something significant, first you have to count the cost.
  1. ENLIST.  It takes more than money to meet the challenge of a successful capital campaign. You have to enlist the commitment of people, time and energy at a rigorous level. This takes buy-in at every stage and level of the campaign.
  2. COMMUNICATE. There are many audiences that need effective communications. Leader-to-leader, pastor-to-congregation, member-to-member, and life-to-life need intentional dialogue. To successfully communicate the vision has to be consistent and clutter free.
  3. EVANGELIZE. It takes passion to capture hearts and minds. It’s important to do communications with excellence, but all of this pales in significance when compared to the pastor’s passionate presentation of a capital campaign.
  4. PLEDGE.   Collecting  the  commitments  is  a  celebration  and  consecration;  it  is  a  shared  dynamic experience that lifts a congregation’s expectations.
  5. FINISH.  After the commitments are made, the follow-through and fulfillment begins in earnest. Regular and congruous follow-up and progress reports helps conserve the results of the capital campaign.

Get Some Help:

Depending on the scale of funding needed your first steps begin within your own congregation then to your district. First – start with the scale of the need.  A smaller amount can be discussed with your local individual church leaders. As the amount grows or the scale of the project grows, it is time to go to your local bank and get an idea what your borrowing capacity is. There are organizations that specialize in loaning money for church building projects and are better suited to meet your needs on larger projects but you first must know the direction you are moving in for a building project.

Evaluate  the Possibilities

It may be necessary to scale the size, slow the pace or postpone the launch of your capital campaign if certain factors are not resolved. Failure to consider the following contingencies of market dynamics can put a campaign at risk:

  1. How long have you been in ministry? It’s a tough sell for a start-up organization to raise $50 million right out of the chute. Older organizations do better at capital campaigns than younger ones, because they tend to be better established and have more developed donor networks.
  2. What  caliber of donors do  you  have?  Young  families,  just  starting their  careers  are living from paycheck to paycheck. They don’t have the means to support a multimillion dollar campaign. Organizations do better when their constituencies are older, wealthier, better educated, and more skilled.
  3. How wide is your giving program? There needs to be a range of giving programs that include annual giving, planned giving, major gifts, and prospect development for a campaign to be successful. The organization that has not considered these may have to settle for a lower campaign goal.
  4. How big is your donor  base?  Typically, the larger your donor base, the better the outcome of your campaign. This may not be the case, especially if the constituency is lower income or not willing to make a major gift.
  5. How spread out is your donor  base? It takes less time and money and fewer staff to plan and execute a campaign in a small geographical area than a large one.
  6. How long has it been since the last campaign? Realism is necessary when determining the size of a campaign goal. If you have been doing one capital campaign after another for the last twenty-five years, your donors are not able to mount a successful $50 million campaign. They are suffering from too much donor fatigue to go the distance.
  7. What  do your donors perceive  you to be?  Organizations whose donors perceive them as providing high-quality programs and services tend to have greater access to a wider segment of the donor market. Donors want to put their money on a winning horse. They are more apt to support excellence and success.
  8. Where are you located? Organizations in urban areas tend to do better at capital campaigns than those in rural areas. Campaigns on the East Coast tend to be more sophisticated than other areas in the United States. Christian ministries in Texas tend to do better than other states.
  9. How well do you connect with your donors?  Many organizations tend to ignore the human factor. They fail to realize that people give because they “feel” compelled to do so and not because they can “intellectually” relate to the need. It all boils down to three things: urgency, importance and relevance.
  10. How strong is the economy? It makes more sense to start a capital campaign in a strong economic environment than a weak one. However the research shows that over time giving is relatively unaffected by the state of the economy.
  11. How many irons do you have in the fire? It’s tough to get donors to come on board with you on a new campaign when you have not finished the last one.
  12. How relevant is your campaign? There are emerging causes that naturally attract major donors. It’s tougher trying to persuade your constituents to ride a dead horse.
  13. What does the community say about  you? Negative publicity can smash a campaign before it gets out of the chute.

To Conclude:

Successful fund-raising is not magic; it is simply hard work on the part of people who are thoroughly prepared. Fund-raising is not raising money; it is raising friends. You do not raise money by begging for it; you raise it by selling people on your idea.

For the church, it must be the vision that God has given you.  What does He want you to do, then move toward a building that supports that vision.

You probably cannot afford the building would like, so you will need to have a plan for an incremental building process.  That is, starting with a building to meet your needs now and having a masterplan to present a future layout to meet the vision of the church.

People do not just reach for their checkbooks and give money to an idea; they have to be asked to give. You don’t wait for the “right” moment to ask; you ask now.

You don’t decide today to raise money and then ask for it tomorrow; It takes time, patience, and planning to raise money.  You need to build momentum.

Prospects and donors are not cash crops waiting to be harvested; treat them as you would customers in a business. In the end, we raise money from people who:

  • Have it
  • Can afford to give
  • Are sold on the benefit of what we are doing
  • Wouldn’t have given it to us unless we had asked
  • Receive appreciation and respect for their gifts


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