The Formula for a Successful Capital Campaign

The Formula for a Successful Capital Campaign

In my over twenty-five years of helping churches hold capital campaigns, I have found that the majority of mistakes made happen BEFORE the campaign even starts. The goal of this paper is to help you avoid these mistakes by showing you what you need to know and do BEFORE your next campaign.

You are thinking of a campaign, right? I mean, you wouldn’t be reading this unless you were. Great! You’ve come to the right place. I have been working for over twenty-five years with churches with $100,000 yearly budgets and with many of the top 100 churches with multi-million-dollar budgets. The principles I use with the Super Megachurch are the same ones that I use with the $100K church. With this series, you get the value of all this experience and knowledge.

So, let’s get started by understanding…

The winning formula for a successful campaign is Information + Inspiration + Time = Success. If you want to raise maximum dollars, you need to adhere to this formula. Let me break this down.

“People are down on what they are not up on.” A consultant I worked with at the beginning days of my stewardship ministry used to say that to clients. It is true particularly when it comes to people making gifts larger than they are used to.

So, if you want to achieve maximum dollars, you need to over-communicate. Inform, inform, and then inform! Whatever you are asking your donors to support must make sense to them. Do you have a plan to carry to completion what you are asking them to give to? To gain the dollars you need, you must fully inform your donors of the what, when, why, and where of your campaign.

Touch the heart to reach the pockets of your donors. Donors need to be inspired to give. Your vision must be clear, concise but, most of all, compelling. I will have more on this later. For now, be aware that if the heart is not impacted, the gift will be small.

Here is a truth you MUST embrace! The more compelling the vision is, the more significant the gift will be. To inspire your donors, you must communicate the vision of the “ask” in such a way that their hearts are moved.

Spiritually driven campaigns inspire donors more than anything. You are really not raising funds as much as you are raising faith. What separates a non-profit campaign from a church campaign? It should be our spiritual focus. You are asking people to get in on what God is doing. Bathe your campaign in prayer and your donors will more likely be inspired to give to support that campaign with faith-driven commitments.

Finally, give donors the time to take the journey. You cannot rush the process and still see success. One of the most frustrating things for pastors and staff is how long it sometimes takes our members to get on board with what we are proposing. Yet if you hurry the process you risk the results. The bigger the “ask,” the more time your donors will need to get their arms around what it is you are asking them to do. The more time you give to your campaign the more likely it is you will raise what you want and need.

So, remember, successful capital campaigns are not something you go into lightly. If you want to raise dollars, remember the formula: Information + Inspiration + Time = Success.

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