The Four main Reasons for Our Success


By Jim Klote
I am often asked about the success our firm enjoys, and that of our church clients in terms of Capital Stewardship Campaigns. Not surprising is the fact that I am asked this question by clients, prospective clients and the heads of other fundraising firms.

In my 25 years of experience, I can honestly say that there is no secret. In addition, there is no trick or quick method to a successful campaign effort. Rather, there is a proven technique which has been time tested for many decades that works best. It is what we call a Plan of Campaign. Naturally, the plan includes job descriptions, timelines, professional materials, and an approach which church members embrace.

However, I believe the reason for our success, and that of our clients, can be boiled down to 4 main elements. First of all, a full-time and on-site consultant is crucial. Having a designated individual, who is experienced in church stewardship and available each and every day, can mean all the difference when it comes to the daily support volunteers require. A full-time and on-site consultant makes certain each day that the campaign remains a priority of the church and campaign leaders. This individual, at least with regard to the services we provide, essentially becomes part of the church staff and is available for consulting, training, visiting and developing all necessary letters, emails, and campaign materials every day.

Second, daily coaching of all volunteers is of paramount importance. Volunteers can be pulled in many different directions. Between family and work, it is often difficult to focus on anything else. This is where the assistance and guidance from a resident consultant can be useful. It is our responsibility to help in any way possible to ensure volunteers have all the support needed. This even includes accompanying volunteers on visits during the campaign effort.

Third, is the method in which we ask for prayerful consideration for a campaign pledge. Our plan of campaign includes every member visitation. Simply, what this means is that all members are given the respect of a confidential and relaxed visit to discuss the campaign and allow them to make their decision as to what they pledge. This every member visit must include all members of the church. Many methods of other firms include personal visits on some, but not all members. It is our duty to include all members and treat them with respect. In our campaigns, all members are treated equally and in the same manner.

Finally, I strongly believe much of the success we enjoy revolves around the fact that all our church clients allow us to conduct a Readiness Assessment prior to moving forward in the fundraising effort. We feel so strongly about this that we will no longer direct a campaign without the benefit of an assessment. This is an opportunity to create ownership in the ministry needs, pre-sell the campaign and build enthusiasm. Our Readiness Assessment is key to uncovering those who are willing to support the proposed campaign both financially and as a volunteer. This will make for an easier time of recruiting.

Naturally, there are many, many additional elements to a successful campaign effort. However, using this list of guiding principles will lay the right groundwork for a great campaign, and will respect the time volunteers are able to offer to ensure maximizing your fundraising potential.

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 or contact us directly at 800-360-2315.

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