Phyllis Ryder

Phyllis Ryder

The Capital Campaign is in full swing, and I am happy to report in about how well-supported we feel, having your consultant working with us full-time.


As you know, I head up the Dream Builder team.  We were the group who developed the conceptual designs for the proposed campus changes.  Early in our process, as a result of reading your book and conversations with you, we anticipated that the congregation could probably raise $2 million.  When we engaged an architect and began to flesh out some ideas with him, we discovered that we would not be able to make the changes we saw as necessary unless we imagined a more long-term goal and a bigger budget.  By the time the consultant arrived to work with us, we had settled on a much more complex project than we had ever anticipated: a $9.2 million campus that we would build across at least four phases. Our first phase would cost over $5 million.


We began the process with some trepidation.  Had we set our sights too high? How would we share our complex plan with the congregation? Then the consultant arrived and quickly gave us focus.  Through a quick series of meetings, we had a clear direction and a solid presentation for the congregation.  He helped us develop a set of presentation boards (our many-layered project required many more than usual) and guided us to keep our delivery focused on what our congregation most needed to hear.  He kept track of our presentation schedule and supported the speakers at each meeting.


By the time we had completed all of our presentations, the consultant had a very good sense of the congregation’s reaction.  I was delighted to receive his written report, which helped us to reflect on all we had learned from the presentations.  It was reassuring to hear from an expert that our congregation’s responses were in line with other churches that had led successful campaigns.  The metrics he used to assess our readiness were clear and well-documented.  We felt confident jumping in.


Now that the Capital Campaign is underway, I have been less involved in the day-to-day work.  Nevertheless, I can see how carefully each segment of the campaign has been coordinated.  The operation seems complex, and yet it has run smoothly.  I can’t imagine keeping track of all of the moving parts ourselves.  The consultant’s ability to manage the pieces and provide timely, smart advice for each component has been impressive.  Our kick-off dinner was a rousing success, and we continue to gain momentum.  I feel confident that we are in good hands.


I’m not sure at this point how much money we will raise, but I know that we will have run a solid campaign, and that our congregation will feel good about how we have kept the heart and soul of the church at the center of the process.  Asking for money — especially asking for large amounts of money — creates a great deal of anxiety in any congregation, and so I am especially grateful that our messaging has made clear that our goal is to share our ideas, listen to our members, and appreciate any contribution.  The process has felt positive, affirming, and very exciting.


Thank you for all you have done to make this possible.

-Phyllis Ryder
UUC of Silver Spring
Silver Spring, Maryland
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