The Importane of the Kick-off Event Venue

Grace Episcopal - Fr. Steve Muncie and Jim Klote

The timing and location for a church campaign kick-off event are important. The timing, usually one-third of the time into a campaign is something that should not be changed. This is the way all campaigns should ‘go public’ with the project and announcement of objectives.

The location of a church campaign kick-off event will vary. It must depend on the personality of the congregation. Many church leaders are reluctant to have an event which even looks as though too much money is being spent. These events are usually catered sit-down meals.

While it is important for a local congregation to be mindful of the perception members have regarding expenditures, it is also important to host a professional and enthusiastic event which encourages members to attend.

I also believe that the type of kick-off event should reflect what the church’s needs are and how to achieve them. If a local congregation is involved with a capital campaign to build a new fellowship hall since they currently have no place for the congregation to gather, I feel it is appropriate to host an event at a similar facility which demonstrates the need. Having the event, open to all church members, at a fellowship hall of another church in the area is a wonderful way to say this is what we are striving to achieve at our church.

However, if the campaign effort is to retire debt from previous construction, the church leaders may be well served to be a bit more modest in terms of the event. While all church members should be invited to attend a kick-off event, it does not necessarily have to be a lavish evening. Rather than a catered event, a pot-luck may also be considered appropriate for the situation.

Over the years, I have found individuals of families very willing to underwrite the kick-off events. Whether or not the donor wants their name revealed is completely up to them. It is usually just stated as an anonymous donor who pays for the event specifically so no campaign funds are used for meals and entertainment.

If your congregation is quite large with several worship times during the week, the kick-off event is an opportunity to bring together the entire congregation for one special time. Several different worship times during the week may imply several different types of congregations since many church members often stick to their preferred worship time for many years.

The key to a successful kick-off event is the invitation to all church members to attend, an opportunity for the campaign and church leaders to be recognized, allow a few influential church members the opportunity to offer testimonials as to why this campaign is important to our ministries, and an enthusiastic announcement of funds raised to date.

While the venue to meet these objectives is not as important as the reason to have a kick-off event, it is crucial to inspire great attendance. The way to ensure great attendance is to host an event in keeping with objectives and the personality of your congregation.

The kick-off event is the way church leaders bring the campaign into the public phase. It is important and should not be overlooked. In addition, it should be viewed as the way to educate and inspire members of the congregation and to continue the momentum which will bring the campaign into a successful conclusion.

Jim Klote is President of James D. Klote & Associates, Inc. This nation-wide firm offers full-time and on-site Capital Stewardship consulting services to individual congregations for the purposes of new construction, renovation, debt reduction and mission and outreach. Offices are located in Falls Church, Virginia and St. Charles, Illinois. For more information please visit www.jdklote.com or contact us directly at 800-360-2315.

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