Eight Keys to Successful Capital Campaigns for Churches

For churches looking to expand, grow, and break ground on new construction, the capital campaign raise is one of the most important steps. Unfortunately, most churches don’t understand how properly to embark on this financial and spiritual challenge. It requires a healthy balance of strategic planning, boldness, and faith. Here are eight keys to successfully facilitating a profitable capital campaign:

1. Develop a Tangible Plan

The first key to a successful capital campaign is the development of a specific and tangible plan. Without this vision, it’s impossible to get people onboard. “Senior leaders should prayerfully set the vision for both the church and for each fundraising effort,” says the Evangelical Christian Credit Union (ECCU). “What has God uniquely called the church to do? A vision should inspire people to act.”

The problem with church fundraising is that many church leaders don’t do a good job of “setting the table,” so to speak. They automatically assume that the entire congregation is on the same page. This is rarely true, however. You must develop a specific plan that points out the need, explains how much capital is needed to satisfy the need, and makes a compelling case for why donors should consider supporting this initiative.

2. Hire the Right Partners

One mistake that you’ll often see churches make when embarking on a capital campaign raise is a refusal to recruit professional assistance. The importance of getting experienced counsel – outside of the church – cannot be stressed enough. A capital campaign is rarely successful when handled entirely from the inside. Outside partners bring fresh perspectives and unbiased clarity.

However, that’s not to say that the senior leadership within the church shouldn’t be involved. There needs to be a healthy balance between outside influence and internal decision-making. All plans and suggestions from outside professionals should be verified and confirmed by the senior leadership before being finalized.

3. Be as Specific as Possible

When people give money to a capital campaign, they typically want to know exactly where there money is going. One way to encourage better participation is to provide a detailed, itemized breakdown of where every single dollar will go. This is extremely helpful for people who’re on the fence regarding whether to give.

For example, if an individual is considering contributing $500, he’s much more likely to follow through if he knows that $300 will go toward new construction, $100 will go toward renovating the church’s signage, $75 will go toward staff salaries, and $25 will be placed in a reserve fund for future use. By understanding the breakdown, this individual feels like he’s more involved in the process.

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4. Develop Collateral Materials

On a practical note, printed materials are helpful for informing the congregation. By investing in brochures, drawings, question and answer flyers, videos, power points, and mailings, you can show people that the capital campaign is a serious effort. This visual reinforcement is paramount in today’s fundraising landscape.

5. Set a Timeline

Capital campaigns don’t happen overnight, and it’s important to ensure that your congregation understands the timeline of the campaign. Most campaigns use three-year giving commitments, but your timeframe may be shorter or longer. The key is to give donors a concrete start and finish date – with checkpoints along the way.

These checkpoints are invaluable, as they can be used to encourage more people to join, as well as to remind people of their pledges. The timeline should be listed on your website, in print materials, and on mailings that you send out to the congregation.

6. Connect with Individual Donors

One of the toughest, yet most important, aspects of a capital campaign is connecting with individual donors. It’s easy to preach to dozens, hundreds, or thousands of people, and ask them to consider giving, but it’s exponentially more challenging to look an individual in the eye and ask them faithfully to give their hard-earned money.

There’s a fine line to be walked, and you don’t want to stray too far on either side. On the one hand, you don’t want to be shy. If you avoid having intentional one-on-one conversations, your capital campaign will be greatly hampered. On the other, you don’t want to put undue pressure on anyone. Every situation’s unique, and you don’t want to make an individual feel like their membership in your church is dependent upon the amount of money that they give.

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7. Don’t Lose Sight of the Spiritual Side

While capital campaigns don’t fall together without considerable amounts of time, effort, and energy, you must remember that there’s spiritual work involved as well. Capital campaigns aren’t solely financial endeavors. You and your congregation must prayerfully consider the situation, and faithfully trust in God’s provision. Faith, combined with a strategic plan, often leads to tremendous and unexpected results.

8. Choose the Right Construction Company

Finally, if your capital campaign is motivated by a desire to construct a new church building, sanctuary, or addition, it’s important that you select the right construction company to handle the building and planning process.

The right construction company will ensure that the money you raise is maximized and that the finished product is something that your church and the congregation can proudly stand behind. Furthermore, by selecting the construction company before the campaign begins, you can get a clear idea of expenses and schedules. This additional clarity gives you more confidence to raise money and discuss plans with the congregation.

Contact Churches by Daniels

At Churches by Daniels, we’ve been in the church building business for more than 35 years. Over that time, we’ve worked with pastors and developers all over the country. With a commitment to high quality craftsmanship, excellence, integrity, vision, loyalty, and legacy, we’ve made a name for ourselves as the premier church construction company in the nation.

Whether you’re looking for an architect, builder, fundraising consultant, or anything in between, we can help. Check out our portfolio for a better idea of some of the projects we’ve worked on. And, for additional information regarding any of our services, don’t hesitate to reach out by calling us at 918-872-6006.