Capital Campaign – Are you Ready?
By Steve Siegel originally written in “The Loop” January + February 2014 – Issue No. 41. THE LOOP IS A COMMUNICATION PIECE OF CENTRAL COMMUNITY CHURCH
Professional campaign consultant Steve Siegel has worked in our offices for five months preparing us for the launch of our capital campaign. He reflects on what it takes to execute a successful campaign and assesses our readiness to undertake our upcoming campaign.
As capital campaign consultants we have worked with hundreds of churches across many denominations for a wide variety of capital campaign causes. We have been on-site at Central since the beginning of September. As professionals we are very serious about what we do and how we evaluate the readiness of a church to initiate a large scale project like yours. What have we seen so far at Central Community Church? How does Central stack up against other similar campaigns?
We believe that there are four pre-requisites for any successful campaign:
- Proper timing
- Appealing case
- Influential leadership
- Membership with adequate resources
Let’s take a look at those four criteria one at a time.
- Proper timing: Timing does not refer to timing the economy or the stock market. It refers to the church being willing to give of their time. A good campaign that focuses on personal relationships is time consuming. So far, Central is doing very well. Church leadership has given the attention the church needs to devote enough time and attention to this important effort. Members of the steering committee have made a huge time investment already and volunteers are stepping forward to help launch the campaign successfully.
- Appealing case: The reason we did so many focus groups in September is because we wanted to test the case in front of a large audience. The result of those focus groups was unanimous. The vast majority of the 445 individuals who attended agreed that Central needed to do something soon to accommodate the growth that God is sending. The conceptual plan for the new facility on York Road, although ambitious, was seen by most as reasonable and worth pursuing.
- Influential leadership: There must be access to the top staff and lay leaders who are willing to provide their influence, time and resources to support a campaign. Ideally, a core of these individuals must remain heavily involved with campaign organization and implementation. Central has scored well in this area. Staff leadership has taken an active role. Pastor Bill Markham has made this a top priority for his time. Members of the board and building committee are not only active on the campaign steering committee; they are also active in making personal visits with others. Leadership is united on this project.
- Membership with adequate resources: The bottom-line, however, is being able to raise the funds necessary in order to fund the vision. Our track record shows that campaigns can produce 4 to 5 times annual giving if they follow our plan of campaign carefully. For Central this would be $12 to $15 million. Early indications are that this benchmark will be more than possible to meet, if not exceed. Leadership giving for this campaign will be announced at the kickoff on January 25th, but I can share with you now that the early pledges from our leadership are at a level just under 6 times annual giving (taken as a whole).
So what are the challenges and opportunities Central Community Church will face in completing a successful campaign based on what we’ve seen from other churches?
Early pledges from young adults at Central are astounding! Your young adults and young families have really caught the vision AND have been willing to sacrifice in order to fund it. It’s some of the best I’ve seen.
Growth: Central is growing steadily. As people continue to come to Central the opportunity for them to participate in this vision will exceed the opportunity in most churches that are not growing as quickly.
Relationships: Churches that have the most successful campaigns are also the most relational. Central has an extraordinary commitment to promoting spiritual growth in the context of relationships.
Tax climate: The tax advantages for charitable contributions in Canada are far better than in the States. In reality, the government will be paying for over 30% of your building due to direct tax rebates you will receive from your contributions. Churches in the States do not have anywhere near this kind of tax advantage for charitable giving. Take advantage of it!
A lack of volunteers willing to visit others: So far so good, but as the campaign moves forward many more volunteers will be required in order to reach everyone at Central.
Procrastination: We all do it, but agreeing to your own campaign visit promptly, making that short one hour meeting a priority for your schedule, and making a timely decision on your own campaign pledge is absolutely vital to success. Churches who commit to these principles do far better than those who don’t. Fear is sometimes part of the reason why some may put off making a pledge. But this is also an opportunity to grow in faith.
Waiting for someone else: In the most successful campaigns individual families are looking first at how they can sacrifice as much as possible in order to help the church reach its goal. They’re not waiting for others to give ‘the big bucks’ or assuming that ‘I have nothing to give.’ Churches that have too many families looking around for someone else to give, or sacrifice, have very disappointing results.
Thinking too small: This is a big project that will require big sacrifices and big commitments.
Not willing to listen: Vital to the success of any campaign is an overall willingness of individuals and families to listen. Listen to the story, the vision, the opportunities and challenges before making any decisions.
The opportunities are there. The challenges can easily be overcome if we all work together. I’m looking forward to a very successful campaign!
The directors of James D. Klote & Associates have provided counsel and direction to hundreds of church campaigns for a wide variety of causes. They have worked with churches of all denominations and sizes throughout North America. Recently, a survey of 1,000 churches who had recently conducted capital campaigns showed that they were the number one ranked consulting firm in North America based on results and satisfaction.