Does Your Church Facility Represent Your Vision and Values?

Originally posted at Church Campaign Services.

There is nothing glamorous or exciting about building improvements like roof repair or window replacement.

That was the reality that a recent client faced. Built in the late 1950s, their building had become worn and dated. Each proposed improvement seemed minor and cosmetic. All together, though, the updates added up to a substantial sum.

As you know, a successful capital campaign solves these types of problems. A good campaign will raise funding for facility improvements and stay true to the vision of the congregation. A compelling campaign will carry a message that speaks to your vision and values.

Drafty Windows, Dark Shades

In this case, the members weren’t willing to sit near the drafty windows. Shades were an inexpensive option. But they made the sanctuary dark and gloomy. This didn’t represent the vision of the church. They wanted to give members and guests a bright, welcoming place to worship. They wanted a sanctuary they could be proud of.

Updating the church facility represents vitality.

How would a capital campaign benefit the church’s ministry? How could it benefit current members, future members, and the community? The challenge was to identify and name the ways the remodeling efforts would help carry out their mission.

By replacing the windows and removing the shades, the sanctuary became bright and comfortable. The atmosphere of worship was enhanced. As a result, the light made the area as inviting in February as it was in May.

The truth is, your church’s physical presence is an icon for who you are as a community of faith. Does your facility represent your vision and values? Above all, updating the church represents vitality.

We, at Church Campaign Services, are specialists in helping churches maintain their facilities in a way that is aligned with serving and growing their congregation. A well-maintained church reflects the spirit and vibrancy of what’s really happening inside the church. It sends a message that the church respects the house of God, cares about its members, and wants to create a legacy.

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.


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.

How Much Money Can Your Campaign Raise?

ID-10085522There are many factors that will contribute to the success of your church’s capital campaign. You can change or positively address some of the factors while others are out of your control.

Following are 6 primary factors that have the greatest impact on how much money you can raise and how successful your campaign will be:

1. Urgency
How immediate is your need for funds? Do you need to initiate ground breaking or want to retire debt in order to expand your opportunities for ministry? You may want to time your capital campaign plans with other goals for the year. You may feel that delaying your campaign may negatively impact your results.

2. Focus on stewardship
Giving that is spiritually rewarding to the giver is more likely to be supported by your church members. Many churches today are struggling with the concept of stewardship and generosity. So, how do you balance being sensitive to the needs of your members with the desire to live generously? Read more in our blog, “How to Create a Culture of Generosity.”

3. Compelling Vision and Case for Support
When you embark on a major capital campaign, you need both a compelling vision of what you want to accomplish and a plan for how to get there. Without a clear vision, you will struggle to capture the imagination and hearts of your donors and volunteers. In addition, your members must believe wholeheartedly that the vision can become a reality.

Your Case for Support will bring your donors and volunteers on board to support and promote the campaign. The specific objectives of the campaign need to be outlined so that everyone is on the same bus going to the same destination.

4. Inspiring Leadership
Your leaders are the backbone of your campaign. From the pastor and the campaign chairperson to the sub-committee chairs and volunteers, everyone must be working toward the same end result. Through trust and confidence, the leadership will inspire others to join in the vision and achieve your campaign goals. Strong leaders turn a vision into reality.

5. Timing/Economic Uncertainty
The timing of your campaign can have an impact on the amount of money you raise. Your campaign funds may fall during a recession when finances are strained and money can be tight. While it may affect the results of your campaign, it doesn’t necessarily mean you are doomed to have a poorly-performing campaign. If the vision and leadership are strong, you can build a successful campaign even in tough financial times.

6. Campaign Readiness
When you’re preparing to conduct a capital campaign, you need to be sure you’re asking the right questions. Use the “Are You Ready for a Capital Campaign” questionnaire to decide if your church is ready to move forward.

Keeping the factors above in mind, here are the typical Capital Campaign Financial Expectations:

Initial Campaign
New construction or an addition: 2-5 times annual contributions
Deferred maintenance: 2-3 times annual contributions
Debt retirement: 1.5-2 times annual contributions
Endowment funding: 1-2 times annual contributions

Subsequent Campaigns
Phase II – 60 to 70% of the first campaign (adjusted for potential loss of major gifts due to death, retirement, etc.)
Phase III – 50 to 60% of first campaign, adjusted.
Long Term – an amount equal to debt service on loan if the case is made.

Download a PDF version of the Capital Campaign Financial Expectations.

To talk more about planning your church’s capital campaign and how much money you can expect to raise, please email or call Church Campaign Services at 888.558.6873.

6 Capital Campaign Trends for Churches in 2015

tech_trends_2015The economic times of recent years have affected all organizations that raise funds, including churches wanting to expand their ministry and mission.

If you’re considering a capital campaign in 2015, here are 6 trends that may impact your church:

Projects may become less building-related
With rising construction costs and the need to create less expensive buildings, church leaders are turning to more creative alternatives. Some are finding relevant ministry spaces in their community that can be rehabbed, while others are remodeling existing areas within the church. Remodeling costs are often less expensive than new construction and can help revitalize the community. Debt retirement campaigns have also become more common as organizations rebound from the recessionary times.

A clear vision is even more important
As more and more organizations vie for the attention of donors, it is even more critical to develop a clear vision. By defining and communicating your church’s vision, you will inspire members and your campaign will flourish. Learn more about creating a compelling vision.

Mission components are vital to success
Adding a mission component to your capital campaign provides a rare opportunity to build faith and create excitement about your cause. Now more than ever, a mission expansion project is a spiritual journey for your congregation and its members. It’s a time to teach, preach, and celebrate the joys of sharing your faith.

Communications are more targeted
In the past, capital campaign communications have been one-size-fits-all. However, churches have diverse and unique groups of people. Your conversations need to be customized to different audiences. A Baby Boomer may have different motivations and passions than younger adults from Generation X or Y. Learn more about speaking to the different generations.

Multi-media helps tell the story
Technology is rapidly changes our lives. The good news is that this technology gives us more ways to explain our vision and mission, as well as communicate and connect with church members. You may currently incorporate direct mail, in-person events, and phone calls into your campaign plans. Social media, email, and texting can help keep the lines of communication open throughout the entire campaign process. Learn more about leveraging the power of social media.

Strong leadership is essential
Visionary leaders who inspire the congregation are vital in the success of a capital campaign. Great leaders are able to pass on the ownership of the vision and plan by articulating the plan clearly, giving tangible evidence of how the plan will be achieved, and being transparent with all relevant information. Inspiring leaders give every member in every pew the opportunity to succeed as a community. Learn more about creating a sense of campaign ownership.

While all of these current trends may not apply to your ministry, I believe that big changes are in store for church giving in the coming years. I encourage you to be open to new opportunities that will allow you to grow and expand your church’s stewardship.

To talk more about capital campaign trends or starting a campaign for your church in 2015, please contact Church Campaign Services by email or call us at 888.558.6873 today.

Can You Answer These Key Fundraising Questions?

baby-and-mom-feet-1439844-mA few months ago, I wrote a blog called “Is Your Church Reaching Every Generation?” The post gave 10 key findings about each generation’s giving habits, including online giving and social media usage.

This post was based on a study called, “The Next Generation of American Giving: The Charitable Habits of Generations Y, X, Baby Boomers, and Matures,” published by Blackbaud, Inc., a firm that specializes in products and services that help non-profit organizations.

The study provides both strategic and practical guidance for raising funds for ministry and looks at the giving habits of four generations of Americans: Generation Y (or “Gen Y,” born between 1981 and 1995); Generation X (or “Gen X,” born 1965 – 1980); Baby Boomers (or “Boomers,” born 1946 – 1964); and Matures (born 1945 or earlier).

Based on this report, here are a few key questions you should be asking about your church’s stewardship programs:

Do you value your Baby Boomers?
Baby Boomers are the largest generation with 51 million individuals. They are also known as being one of the largest contributors to fundraising efforts. According to the study, more than 40% of all money donated comes from this age group. Make sure you are including those members age 50 to 68 in your campaign plans, and that they feel their input and contributions are important.

Are you paying attention to the up and coming younger generations?
While the older generations currently control most of the wealth, that balance will begin to shift in as time passes. Generation X and Generation Y combined represent 31 percent of all dollars donated. In addition, younger donors are more likely to say they plan to increase their giving in upcoming years. Keep this group in mind as you plan campaigns in the future.

Do your campaigns have a place for both direct mail and social media?
Just like the introduction of television didn’t kill radio, the use of social media hasn’t made direct mail obsolete. Both direct mail and social media have their place in your campaign communication efforts. You can reach younger and older generations by incorporating multiple media channels. Use direct mail, email, social media and the telephone to talk to your donors where and how they want to be reached.

Are you addressing the special demands of Generations X and Y?
Younger donors may expect more from your campaign. They want more transparency from fundraisers, such as more in-depth explanations of campaign plans, financial information, end goals and progress reports along the way.

Have you empowered your most enthusiastic supporters?
Every church has those members who are the most enthusiastic supporters and sing the praises of your campaign. Give them the tools to spread the word and get every member in every pew engaged in the campaign process.

And what’s the most important thing you can do? Listen to your donors. Let your members help guide the success of your capital campaign.

To talk more about the key campaign questions you should be asking, please contact Church Campaign Services by email or call us at 888.558.6873 today.

Are You Speaking the Language of Millennials?

Screen Shot 2014-11-18 at 7.53.45 AMI recently read a blog post on NPR that talked about how millennials’ giving habits are different than any another generation. They are reshaping charity and leading the way in online giving habits.

There are nearly 80 million millennials coming of age, and it’s going to become important to nonprofits to understand how they spend their money. Their spending habits are different than the habits of their parents.

Here a few tips to help you speak to millennials in your church fundraising efforts:

Be wary of making it an “obligation”
This younger generation does not have that sense of giving as an obligation that older generations might have. Rather than being motivated by believing it’s something they should do, millennials are looking for more of a connection when giving.

Ask them to invest in a cause
Millennials may be more motivated by investing in a cause. They want to feel their gift matters. They want to make an investment in order to make a change in the world, even if it’s only a small piece of it.

Keep technology in mind
The younger generation has grown up on technology. They will expect a smart digital platform. They want to be able to donate online and create a community to connect with others who have the same goals and ideals. Social media can help create a sense of community and provide information to donors.

Give them the details
Young donors are far more likely to demand accountability and transparency than older donors. They want details and want to understand how things work – why are you doing what you do, what are your monetary goals, and how do you plan to achieve your plans?

Millennials will spend and donate their money differently than any generation so far. They are changing the giving landscape, and we need to adjust how we speak to them.

To talk more about reaching millennials with your church’s capital campaign message, please email or call Church Campaign Services at 888.558.6873 today.

How to Create a Capital Campaign Theme

abstract-3-1394141-mCommunication is key to the success of a church capital campaign. Your communication materials need to share the campaign’s vision and message through both graphics and text. A campaign theme can help you deliver your vision in a clear, concise, and compelling manner.

The theme should capture the imagination and hearts of the congregation and convey the essence of your church’s capital campaign. You can use a logo as an artistic interpretation of the theme. The theme and logo can then be used on any materials that are developed for the campaign, such as an informative brochure and stationery. The theme and logo will be used throughout the three-year pledging period in order to maintain interest and remind people to keep up with their pledges.

Here are some tips for developing a theme:

Keep it short and sweet
A campaign theme is usually about three to five words that summarize the core message of the campaign. You may want to try to fit everything into the theme, but it should focus on the most important aspect of what you want to accomplish. For instance, if you are building a new structure to allow you to expand your youth programs, the theme might be, “Building for our Youth.”

Focus on benefits
The theme should accentuate the benefits of the campaign to the church, its members, and the community. What’s the single big idea that you want to convey to donors? If you’re remodeling your church’s sanctuary, you may want to reassure your members that you understand the historical significance of your church. Your theme might be, “Honoring Our Past – Growing the Future.”

Be consistent
Once you have your theme, be sure to use it consistently. It may be tempting to modify the theme to suit different purposes. However, think about the tagline of some of today’s major brands. Would Nike ever modify its well-known tagline, “Just do it,” to “Do it now” or “Just do it sometimes”?

Create professional materials
To help achieve the best campaign results, your communication materials should be professional and made of quality materials. You’re asking donors to make a substantial financial commitment to your campaign, so you want your materials to reflect the importance of the funds being raised.

For more tips on creating a compelling theme for your church’s capital campaign, please contact Church Campaign Services by email or call us at 888.558.6873 today.

The Challenges of a Second Capital Campaign

two-736618-mYou’ve conducted your first capital campaign and are feeling good about the results. Now it’s time to start the second campaign.

This campaign, even more than the initial campaign, may need the help of professional fundraising counsel to receive the results you want. The second campaign brings new challenges and motivations to give.

Church Campaign Services can help you face and overcome these challenges. Some things to consider include:

  • CCS can bring insight into renewing the excitement of the first campaign.
  • Over a three-year period, mission goals can change and we can help your church articulate new mission objectives.
  • Members who participated in the first campaign are often at a different place in their faith journeys. You may need to approach them with a revised message.
  • A second campaign needs be as successful – or even more successful – than the first effort in order to ensure the financial stability of your church.
  • Your church may have gained new members who did not experience the first campaign and need special consideration.
  • Church personnel can benefit from a “refresher course” in the campaign process.
  • By using CCS to relieve staff of some of the planning and oversight, the staff can dedicate their time and energy to doing the critical one-on-one contact with members.
  • CCS has years of experience developing successful plans for subsequent campaign efforts.
  • CCS understands your denomination and emphasizes stewardship to increase commitment and enhance the credibility of the campaign.

If your church is considering a second – or even third campaign, call Church Campaign Services or email us to talk about how we can provide the support to make your next campaign as successful as possible.

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.