The answer to how long it takes is always, it depends. For most campaigns, the average time is at least six months from initial planning to completion. In some situations, it can and must be done sooner but they are the exception rather than the rule. Those campaigns typically never raise the same levels of money as those that give more time to the process.
Here is one of the driving mantras I preach to my clients…
It’s more important to get the campaign done right than it is to get it done on some arbitrary timeline. The question is one of timing, not time. You can help assure that your next campaign is successful by taking the steps in this post. My goal is to get you to the start line of your next campaign with the right timing for whatever time of year your campaign is held.
The Six-Month Rule of Thumb is what I like and advise for my clients. Give yourself at least six months. However, at times, because the timing is not right, it takes more time.
To help you get a sense of the typical times campaigns are held, here is an overall timeline of the typical dates for you to consider. When I say six months, I mean from planning to commitment weekend. Let’s focus on the various timelines most used by churches.
Spring or fall? Campaign timelines fall broadly into spring and fall time frames. Is one better than the other? In my experience, they typically are not. Again, success is dependent upon timing, not time. What drives the timeline also is your church’s timeline. For instance, if the pastor is going on a safari this spring you probably don’t want to hold a capital campaign then. Trust me, I speak from experience!
To determine when the best time is for your next campaign take a look at your calendar. Capital campaigns don’t totally stop all church activities. Yet, pastoral absence, pre-set events, various holidays, etc. all weigh into your calendar planning.
Basically, in the springtime, there are two windows of opportunity…
Pre-Easter Campaign – With this timeline, you would want your commitment weekend to be ideally two weeks before Easter. So, pick out that weekend and back up six months.
Memorial Day or before school dismisses – Here you want commitment weekend to be about two weeks before school gets out. In most states, this is around Memorial Day. Other schools get out somewhere around the second week of June. Find that date and back up six months.
Fall campaigns – There is really only one timeline for fall. You must have your commitment weekend no later than the weekend before Thanksgiving. Once again, find that date and back up six months from there.
In each of the above timelines, there is leeway. Yet, for our purposes, this broad overview will help you in your planning and give you the needed time to get your next campaign done right!
One of the biggest mistakes churches make is not giving themselves enough time to adequately plan, thus potentially endangering their chances for success. So, start sooner rather than later!