The Rev. Dr. Charles Hambrick-Stowe

The Rev. Dr. Charles Hambrick-Stowe

We are grateful to James D. Klote & Associates for assigning us our consultant for the capital campaign that began in August and culminated on December 13, 2013. The church benefited greatly from the consultant’s wisdom, energy, and hard work, resulting in a successful outcome that will enable us to undertake the property maintenance and development projects that we have envisioned.

The consultant’s effectiveness can be assessed in both quantitative and qualitative ways. Quantitatively, we can point to the two things that it is possible to count in a church fundraising program like this “ people and money. Your consultant helped us recruit a very strong core leadership team, along with a group of 35 committed visitors. Every household in the church was contacted by phone and virtually every active household received a personal visit. Follow-up will continue with those who did not respond to the request for a home visit. In terms of the funds raised and pledged, while we did not achieve the announced goal of $5.5 million (which was increased from $5.0 million at the very start of the campaign), we did receive gifts and commitments totaling almost $4.5 million. Several households are still pending, including at least one potentially substantial commitment. Whatever the eventual total, this result is more than six times annual giving for the operating budget of the church.

Qualitative assessment can be outlined under several headings. First of all, in my view, the quality of the materials the consultant helped us produce for the campaign was extremely high. Church members who are well versed in nonprofit fundraising were impressed with the professional level of our campaign publications. Second, again in my view, your consultant did an excellent job training our campaign leadership and visitors. She rightly stressed the importance of the fellowship and spiritual nature of the visits “ and those who received visits were able to testify that their visits were personally significant in these ways. Further, she was constantly available for training and support for visitors and campaign leaders.

The consultant is to be applauded for the ways she worked with the church’s office staff and became involved in the worship and fellowship life of the congregation. She worked smoothly with our two office persons and attended regular staff meetings. She participated in the church’s Wednesday Fellowship Dinners and sang in the Chancel Choir, including Sunday morning worship and the Fall Festival of Music concert. I met with your consultant on a regular basis, not only for my regular weekly consultation as senior minister and the weekly meeting with core leaders, but also typically several times a week when there were campaign issues to discuss or resolve. I always found her both highly professional and a pleasure to work with.

Everyone who was at all involved in the campaign quickly became aware of how impressively hard working the consultant is. She put in long hours day after day, week after week, throughout the campaign. Her dedication to the work was an inspiration to our members who themselves were making sacrificial commitments of time, energy, and finances to the campaign.

Bottom line: As senior minister, I am deeply grateful for your consultant’s presence among us this fall and would recommend her as a consultant to another congregation.

-The Rev. Dr. Charles Hambrick-Stowe
First Congregational Church
Ridgefield, Connecticut
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