Friday, February 14, 2014

Timing the Church Capital Campaign

Church Campaign Calendar
Give Yourself Time To Do It Right!

Don't Make This Common Mistake

One of the most common mistakes made by churches in their capital campaigns is not beginning to prepare soon enough.  Churches that are interested in a church capital campaign fail to realize that the organization and preparation should start  six months or more before their commitment Sunday in order to have the greatest spiritual and financial impact.

This does NOT mean that you spend 8 months talking about stewardship and money.  What it does mean is that you begin to organize and equip the church campaign campaign committee well in advance of when you want to be in front of the congregation.  For a fall capital campaign, this ideally means beginning in the first quarter of the year.  For a spring campaign, you will ideally want to start in late August or September.

With few exceptions, the public portion of a church capital campaign will typically be timed to complete before school is out in the spring or before the beginning of the holiday season in mid-November.  Why, you might ask? The public phase is typically 5-7 weeks of preaching, teaching, prayer, and excitement building. Trying to do this while many are on vacation or otherwise preoccupied with holiday events is counter productive.

A Church Capital Campaign Takes Time - If You Want To Do It Right

It's much easier to do a church capital campaign badly than well.  It takes far less effort, thought, and time. There are nearly an infinite number of ways to run a church capital campaign, but only a very small subset of those will produce the spiritual and financial results that you need and desire.  

A capital campaign is a critical component of your church building program or your financial strategy to retire debt.  Whether to retire a burdensome debt or to raise money for renovation, expansion or new construction, your church's capital campaign is too important not to do correctly.  A failed campaign means you negatively the ministry.  A failed campaign is also not easy to fix.  You may well have to live with these results for the duration (typically 3 years) of the campaign.  

A poorly run campaign that does not have the proper emphasis can reduce general fund giving, cause people to question the vision, or even questions the leadership's ability to lead.  Properly done, we expect that not only will you achieve your financial goals, but we typically see a 10-15% increase in general fund giving! Added to this financial result is an increased passion for the vision and mission of the church and increased commitment to achieve the church's ministry goals.

You have a choice, not terribly unlike the choice God said to Israel in Deut. 30:19, "... I have set before you life and death, the blessing and the curse. So choose life in order that you may live, you and your descendants." You too get to choose, choose well!

Adequate Time 

  • Provides the time to recruit the right people, hopefully those other than the 10% that already do 90% of the work.
  • Provides time to get the right people equipped for this important ministry.
  • Allows the campaign to more easily fit into an already busy calendar.
  • Reduces the stress and time commitment on staff and the normal "go-to people" who already do so much.  Avoids burnout. 
  • Gives more time for spiritual development in the very important doctrine of stewardship and generosity.
  • Allows the campaign to be about more than money, but about generosity and stewardship of all God provides, including:
    • Time
    • Talents
    • Treasure
    • Truth
    • Testimony
    • ever'Ting else
  • Allows you to take your capital campaign from good to GREAT.
  • Lastly, it allows the staff and capital campaign committee or team to have a more relaxed schedule over the summer vacation or winter holidays.  Scheduling and motivating volunteers is difficult at best, this is much easier for staff as well as for the volunteers on the various capital campaign teams.
In short, time is your friend in a capital campaign.  Spreading the effort out over a longer period is a blessing to both the staff and the capital campaign team.  On my checklist, I have over 130 individual tasks and milestones that comprise a successful church capital campaign. It's not easy, if you are going to do it right!

If you are interested, you can request a free report on the top 10 quality factors that differentiate a successful church capital campaign from the "other kind."  You can email me to request a free copy be sent to you.

Last Word

Last, but not least, you may be interested in this article on how to avoid the most expensive church capital campaigns. You may be surprised by the answer, but the math doesn't lie.

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