March 31, 2016

Taking the Plunge

I’m not sure we can do this…”

Often when I first visit a parish in my capacity as a capital campaign consultant I find that folks are hesitant about fully embracing a capital campaign. There is usually some fear about impact on their annual stewardship efforts (“Will we be able to maintain current giving levels?” “We’d hoped to increase annual giving this year.”), finding enough volunteers, (“People are so busy…), and, most of all, being able to raise enough money (What if we can’t meet our goal?). While some might find these concerns daunting, I find them comforting because these fears are normal. This is why I love what I do and why I believe fundraising is an important part of the ministry of the Church.

While I may be biased, I do believe when the time and energy is put into the discernment and feasibility study phases of a campaign, your community will arrive at the solicitation phase with a sense of contagious excitement.

I saw this contagious excitement most recently with a parish that adjusted their goal coming out of the feasibility phase. They were raising money to build a new parish hall, repurpose their existing parish hall, and create a maintenance fund. They entered into the congregational gifts phase having already met their initial goal and were well on the way to their challenge goal! By the end of their campaign, both goals were met and they had raised an additional $17,000 to seed their maintenance fund. Not only were they able to complete their new parish hall, but they could do far more then they imagined.

When done right, a capital campaign will quash the normal anxiety that I often come across. At the beginning you want to engage the entire community in the process. The more folks are involved, the more likely they will become engaged in the process. This will lead to new lay leadership as well as reengaging past and current leaders. In doing so, you will see a sense of excitement and renewed interest in the mission and ministry of the community.

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