July 11, 2014

How Much Time Should Church Leaders Spend on Fundraising?

First of a two-part series...

Church leaders: How much time should one spend on raising funds?

I am a fan of healthy expectations. I like knowing what I`m committing to prior to jumping in---and how far I need to stretch to get intended results.

Recently I began exploring about how much time a given church leader could anticipate spending on the day-to-day activities of successful capital campaign.

Sarah Matthews, ECF capital campaign consultant writes, “I was recently at a meeting of the Association of Fundraising Professionals where it was suggested that during a capital campaign the president of a college needed to hand over one third of his or her calendar to the development director.

"One-third!! Part of the reason is that the donors who have the capacity for larger gifts often need several visits by the head honcho, and that is after staff and volunteers do other cultivation. This may be the single most difficult thing I have encountered in these larger campaigns -- the diocesan bishop has incredible demands on his or her calendar."

Adding a capital campaign to an already busy schedule is challenging at best. But if the campaign is to be successful – in cultivating relationships as well as in raising the needed funds – then the commitment to the campaign must be demonstrated by committing a significant portion of their calendar to the efforts.

What kinds of time and types of contacts count?

Fortunately not all of it is spent in one-on-one meetings. 

Also necessary is getting in front of groups (large and small) to talk about the impact the funds would have on the project. Clergy conferences, convocation meetings, ECW gatherings, lunches at retirement homes, and of course, the fundraising standard: a small group gathering in someone’s home. These all count toward putting in the time necessary to cultivate and secure gifts.”

Our churches are full of experienced professionals working in non-profits. What has been your experience of successful fundraising?

Read part 2 here.