Raising Major Funds in a Church is Different

Originally posted at Church Campaign Services.

A church is not a hospital or school.

Of course, Jesus is the Great Healer. And many times the gospels call him Teacher. But metaphors aside, there are differences between raising money in a non-church setting and raising money in a congregation. While a church is a non-profit in the U.S., it is nothing like any other non-profit. It is a different animal entirely.

First of all, a church is an active community.

Think about it – how many non-profits bring together their financial supporters on a weekly basis? Churches do, and sometimes more frequently than that. The leaders of even the best non-profits struggle to visit personally with just their top donors once each year.

Not so in the church, where a large majority of the active membership share a worship experience once a week. Add to that Bible studies, service activities, choir rehearsals, small groups, and even church business meetings. Church people join together often, and they form an active, vibrant community.

As a result, a church consists of many clusters of significantly intimate, long-term relationships. This fact alone makes fundraising different in a congregation. In many Sunday School classes are lifelong friends who have walked with each other through the valleys and mountaintops of life. Weddings, raising children, divorce, financial hardship, and even death. Believe it or not, these relationships have a direct impact on the nature and process of a capital campaign.

The church is a spiritual community.

Religious organizations have faith as their core objective. Prayer, worship, Bible study – these are the meat and potatoes of church life. Without an awareness of the spiritual aspects of a church capital campaign, you can raise money. But the church may not be any closer to accomplishing its primary mission, no matter how many buildings you build.

We are built for churches.

Church Campaign Services is a capital campaign resource developed by and designed for churches and church-related agencies. We began as an agency of the Presbyterian Church (USA) in 1950. For 67 years our exclusive focus has been to build up the mission of the church. We have consulted on campaigns with thousands of churches and dozens of other mission agencies, such as camps and conference centers.

To that end, all of our consultants are actively involved in their own local church. They are people of deep faith, who have devoted their lives to their faith. Many of us are in leadership roles. Some are pastors, some are elders, and some are lay leaders. Faith and the work of the church has a primary place in our personal and professional lives.

Raising major funds in a church is done differently.

When choosing counsel for a capital campaign, be sure that your consultant can talk the talk, and walk the walk. Your congregation has its own unique ethos and culture, centered on its own expression of faith. Be sure that your consultant is sensitive to and experienced with the nuances of raising major funds in a church.

For more insight and practical help starting a capital campaign, set up a complimentary phone call with one of our consultants today. We’ll discuss your goals and how to achieve them successfully to move your church forward. Call (888) 558-6873 to schedule now.


Are All Church Members Created Equal?

1357972_the_great_pyramidsWhen it comes to developing a successful capital campaign, the answer is “No.” Think of your church congregation like a pyramid.

The bottom level of the pyramid is made up of the largest percentage of your members who will provide you with the majority of your smaller level donations, or about 10% of your overall campaign goal. However, these members should not be treated as irrelevant or unimportant to the vision. From this pyramid level, you may find some of the strongest advocates to your campaign. They are willing go above and beyond to help you reach your goals. They will also volunteer their time, serve on committees, and be loyal supporters of the cause.

Next, you have the mid-level members of the pyramid. These members are able to commit a larger donation to the campaign and provide another 25% of the total funds. They will also help you with different degrees of support – from volunteering, to serving on sub-committees, to spreading the word about the vision and benefits of the campaign.

At the top of the pyramid are your church leaders and those who provide the majority of your advanced or leadership gifts – typically gifts of $15,000 or greater. These gifts can help you achieve up to 65-70% of your campaign goal. Some of these members may only provide monetary support while others will be highly involved in the planning and execution of the capital campaign.

You need to be extremely careful with this group. You may have hidden or unrecognized members in your congregation who are willing and able to contribute a substantial gift. In addition, these larger donors need to be treated with respect and given personal attention. A church leader should meet with these individuals face-to-face to accept their gift and express the church’s appreciation.

For your capital campaign to be successful, you must reach out to and include every member in every pew. The campaign committee’s objective is to give everyone an equal opportunity to fund the campaign goal. While their contributions may differ, they are all important!

To learn more about including all members in your church’s capital campaign, call Church Campaign Services at 888.558.6873 or email us today.

Meet Staff Member: Russ Graunke

russ_graunke_colorRuss has been active in the church community since he was a child. He recalls sitting in with his parents as founding members of a church that once met in basements and eventually became a successful, thriving church. A church lay-leader since he was in his 20’s, Russ has been blessed to see the work of the church from a variety of perspectives and from several denominations – as a Lutheran, a Presbyterian, and a Congregationalist.

Russ has played a part in assisting his current church in creating a welcoming climate, achieving growth in numbers and discipleship, and becoming a leading congregation in mission, ministry, and stewardship within the United Church of Christ denomination. Russ has served the denomination on a regional level as a member of both The Committee on The Ministry and The Committee on The Church.

Russ began his professional career in the direct marketing world. He was intricately involved in helping clients reach their marketing objectives and sales goals. As President and CEO of a marketing communications firm that he founded, Russ developed strategies and marketing plans that allowed financial services companies and not-for-profit organizations exceed their expectations. Some of his not-for profit clients have included American Cancer Society, Veterans of Foreign Wars, Make-A-Wish Foundation, World Wildlife Fund, Prevent Child Abuse America, and Lambs Farm.

Russ has also served on the boards of several local and regional not-for-profit organizations, including GlenOaks Hospital Foundation, Spectrios Institute for Low Vision, Promise of DuPage, and CASA of DuPage County.

Russ answered the call to combine his passions for helping churches thrive, incorporating solid strategic planning, and creating successful stewardship and fundraising efforts. Russ brings a unique and valuable perspective and set of skills to church campaign consulting.

Russ is married with two grown children and lives in Glen Ellyn, IL and can be found singing in the choir most Sundays.

4 Strategies to Reduce the Summer Giving Lag

sunset-1442760-mSummer is a busy time. It’s also an active time for many churches. You may have vacation bible school, summer camps, and other summer programs planned.

On top of that, church members can have hectic schedules over the summer months. There are vacations, weekend trips to visit friends and relatives, and shuttling children to all of their camps, sports, and other activities.

You may notice a lag in your capital campaign giving during the hustle and bustle of summer. You can incorporate a few strategies to help keep your pledges and funds coming in at a steady rate.

Celebrate current campaign results
Make sure members know how the campaign is doing so far. It’s through their generosity and ongoing support that you have achieved your current results. Share the good news when you reach campaign milestones.

Remind members of the goal
Refresh everyone’s memory of what the campaign will accomplish. How will the funds raised impact the church and its members? Make sure the vision and mission of the campaign are still top of mind for donors.

Talk about the importance of generosity
If campaign support starts to lag as the weather heats up, it can be a good idea for the pastor to preach a sermon on generosity and stewardship. You can also remind members in bulletins, newsletters, and social media that their support is needed to help reach the campaign goals.

Promote electronic giving
Electronic funds transfer is one of the fastest growing trends in financial services today. An electronic giving strategy that includes automatic withdrawals from a checking or savings account, or automatic payments from a credit card, can help you to promote giving on a consistent basis.

For more strategies on reducing the summer giving lag, please email or call Church Campaign Services at 888.558.6873.

CCS Adapts Capital Campaign to Church’s Needs

CIMG5287We recently wrote about a church that was in the planning stages for its capital campaign. The church was looking to do building improvements and cosmetic updates to repair and revitalize the church.

At Church Campaign Services, we truly listen to churches and adapt our methodology to fit with that church’s unique needs and congregational culture.

With this church, we experienced three interesting twists in the campaign strategy that allowed them to accomplish their goals.

Increase the Campaign Goal
Before CCS arrived, the church leaders had set an obtainable goal for funds to be raised, and they modified their plans to fit that goal. With CCS’s guidance, and discernment by leadership, the campaign goal was increased by approximately 15%.

A Commitment Sunday
The church wanted to visit every member – and visit as many of them as they could in one Sunday. This all-on-one-day approach was often used in years past in smaller, close-knit communities with much success.

Everyone was asked to “save the date” months in advance. In addition, for several weeks, a “trade show” of booths were available in the church to explain the different areas and nuances of the campaign.

The Commitment Sunday was a great success. Visiting Stewards and those being visited all fed off the energy of the all-in-one-day event. Over half of the members were visited that day and then the rest were finished over the next few weeks.

A Choice in Mission
The church leadership was divided regarding including a mission component in the capital campaign. During the “trade shows,” members were able to learn about the different mission options and help guide the process.

On the pledge cards, donors could choose to have 10% of their pledge go to the mission effort. About half of the money pledged included the 10% mission option.

Overall ResultsCIMG5299
The church raised the funds they needed and surpassed the new, increased goal for building and maintenance. And, the campaign has generated substantial pledges for additional mission. Giving donors a choice in supporting the mission component, helped boost overall commitments and created good will among members.

One of the biggest accomplishments of the capital campaign was that it unified the congregation around its goal to revitalize the church. Both leaders and members became more focused on the case for support and were inspired by the campaign and the vision, rather than getting lost in the details of building needs, materials, and the logistics of remodeling.

The church accomplished more than they had thought they possibly could financially, and all they prayed for in terms of building community.

According to one of the leaders, “Even though I never considered the church did not have a viable future, the campaign not only brought hope but a very real possibility. It has been unifying. It is wonderful to see God at work. I find personally I think about the church very differently than a year ago.”

To learn more about how Church Campaign Services can help you adapt your campaign strategy in order to accomplish your goals, please email or call us at 888.558.6873.

6 Reasons Why People Give

Reasons Why People GiveThe reasons why people support a cause or fundraising campaign are very personal. In fact, most of us may not even recognize what motivates us to give.

However, if you and your church leaders understand that different members will be motivated to give for different reasons, you can customize your campaign to speak to the needs of your entire congregation.

Here are 6 reasons why people may want to support your capital campaign:

1. Believe the church’s ministry and mission changes lives
Your members may want to give because they truly believe that the church is doing good work for its members. They may feel the ministry is having a redemptive effect on people’s lives. You can even highlight life-changing stories from the congregation that support the church’s impact on its members.

2. Involved in campaign planning or execution
Some members will be actively involved in the planning and execution of the capital campaign. They will support the campaign because they have taken ownership over the objective and will be a key driving force in raising money for the cause.

3. Feel connected to the campaign cause
Some members will feel a strong connection or interest in the particular project or program the campaign will finance. For instance, members may feel strongly that building on to the church or remodeling will expand opportunities and programs for the congregation.

4. Have confidence in the church leadership
Many members will support a campaign if they have respect for the leaders of the church. When the congregation trusts its leaders to do what is best for its members, they can get behind the reasons for the campaign.

5. Respond to an urgent need
People respond to financial requests when they understand the urgency of the need. Members are even more likely to see the need and provide support when they already feel a connection to the ministry.

6. Want to improve their community
Many members will be motivated by a cause that will also benefit the community as a whole. These members often serve on several boards and committees and want to make the neighborhood better for everyone. Churches that serve and engage the larger community will be able to speak to those members who value the community.

Any one of these reasons – or a combination of reasons – can motive your congregation to give. By knowing why your members may give to your church, you can help them understand the importance of supporting your capital campaign.

For more information about the reasons people give and ways to increase the financial pledges and gifts for your campaign, please email or call Church Campaign Services at 888.558.6873.

Answers to your Capital Campaign Questions

Answers to Questions Capital Campaign PlanningFrom the first stages of considering and planning your church’s capital campaign to receiving commitments from your members, Church Campaign Services is ready to assist you.

Here are answers to some of the campaign questions we frequently encounter.

What size congregations does CCS serve?
CCS services the entire Presbyterian family. Churches both large and small have consulted with CCS for multiple campaigns.

Why should we hire “outsiders” to help us?
CCS is a non-profit mission entity of the General Assembly Mission Council of the Presbyterian Church (USA). The assistance of CCS comes from within the Presbyterian family. We bring experience and expertise to the campaign process so that your campaign can achieve full dollar potential.

How long does a campaign last?
Generally, it takes about three to six months from the time a church begins the active campaign process to the campaign conclusion and follow up. Each church member is asked to make a three-year pledge to the special campaign over and above what they give to the operating budget.

How much money can a congregation typically raise?
The results of a campaign can vary based on many factors. Typically, a church can raise two to three times what it receives for its annual operating budget, but churches sometimes raise more.

Should we include a mission cause in our campaign?
Yes, we strongly recommend that churches consider a mission component. Not only does it model good stewardship – concern for others as well as ourselves – but experience shows congregations respond positively to including a mission aspect.

Is visiting every member the only way to secure pledges?
While visiting every member is the most effective and productive process, it is not the only way. CCS consultants are trained in several techniques. Many campaigns are a hybrid of two or more methods.

Will having a capital campaign affect pledges to our operating budget?
CCS campaigns always emphasize that a member’s first priority is giving to the operating budget. Capital pledges must be over and above regular giving. In the first year of a campaign, operating budget giving typically remains static, but you may actually see increases in later years.

What time of year is best for a capital campaign?
CCS conducts successful campaigns every season of the year. The best time to begin a campaign is when all the essential preliminary work has been done, and the church and its leaders are ready to move forward.

How long in advance do we need to schedule our campaign with CCS?
Early discussion – even a year in advance of your proposed program – is recommended for the planning stage. The pre-campaign readiness period often takes three to six months. CCS should definitely be contacted by this time in order to build a solid foundation for a successful campaign.

For answers to more capital campaign questions, call Church Campaign Services at 888.558.6873 or email us today.

Case Study: The Benefits of a Mission Component

Church mission component buys ambulanceOne consistent theme of a successful capital campaign, whether your church is large or small, is excellent planning. You must take your church on a journey that begins with a tangible vision for the future and ends with reaching your goals.

Over 50% of our church campaigns include a significant external mission funding component. However, support for your mission will lag if you don’t identify who will directly benefit from your plan. You must elicit passion among your members.

An example of a well thought out plan occurred several years ago at a small church in Kentucky. This church added a $35,000 mission component – to buy an ambulance for a mission hospital in Africa. At the end of the campaign, the congregation was thrilled to see a photo of their new ambulance delivering a patient to the hospital emergency room.

A strong mission component will allow members to support a cause that’s near and dear to their hearts. It makes your fundraising efforts bigger than your church. And, it brings the vision of your capital campaign alive.

To talk more about adding a compelling mission component to your church’s capital campaign, please email or call Church Campaign Services at 888.558.6873.

Join us at PC(USA)’s Big Tent Event 2013

The Presbyterian Church (USA) Big Tent event is just a few days away. Church Campaign Services is excited to be exhibiting at this year’s event – August 1-3, 2013. We hope you will stop by and visit our booth!

Here is a sneak peek at some of the information we will have available out our booth.

Church Campaign Services has the experience and versatility to serve churches in all parts of the country. Here are some of the churches CCS helped across the country last year:

This is where CCS was last year

And, wherever you are in the campaign planning process – from the Feasibility Study and Vision to Growing your Stewardship and Selecting the Right Consultant, CCS can help you achieve your goals:

Where are you?

Come by our booth at the Big Tent event and let’s talk about your next capital campaign!

When Should You Call Church Campaign Services?

When to call Church Campaign Services?Your church may be at various stages in the capital campaign planning process. Or, you may not even be considering a capital campaign at this time. So, how do you know when you should start a conversation with Church Campaign Services?

Here are some of the reasons you should give CCS a call:

When you’re ready to start a new capital campaign
You’ve decided you have a need to raise funds for remodeling, new construction, or to reduce your church’s outstanding debt. But, where do you start? How do you know if your church can support a campaign? What is involved in the planning process? It’s time to talk to CCS.

When you feel stuck in the pitfalls of planning
Have you decided you’re ready for a capital campaign, begun the planning process, and don’t seem to be getting anywhere? You may be stuck in the Pitfalls of Planning. It happens quite often to churches, and CCS can help you overcome these pitfalls and plan a successful campaign.

When you hope to create a clear vision
One of the key elements of a successful capital campaign is creating a clear vision and mission. CCS can help you develop a Case for Support that outlines your vision and the mission for your campaign.

When you need to inspire support
Many churches have the “if we build it, they will come” approach to capital campaigns. However, you need to inspire your members and the community to support your campaign. Your supporters aren’t interested in what your church needs. They care about the benefits. How will it help the church, its members, and the community as a whole? CCS can help you inspire support.

When you want strong leadership
Your leaders are critical to the success of your capital campaign. Great leaders can envision the campaign process and have the integrity to follow it through to the end. When a church has visionary leadership, you can feel the vitality and energy of it when you walk into a church meeting or worship service.

When you’re thinking about doing dual campaigns
It can be tricky to run two campaigns at once, but it can be done – and done well. With proper planning and a well-funded campaign effort, you can create successful dual campaigns.

When you worry your church may be too small
In the past, it was more difficult for CCS to assist smaller churches with fundraising campaigns. Our minimum campaign fees were frequently too high to be cost effective. Now with new technologies, we are able to successfully support smaller campaign funding needs with much lower fees. So, smaller churches give us a call.

When you have any questions
CCS is here to help you with all your capital campaign and fundraising needs. We are happy to discuss any aspect of your campaign and how our services can help you achieve success. To talk about your capital campaign, call us at 888.558.6873 or send us an email.