December 12, 2016

Communications is Key in a Capital Campaign

In my corporate work, I used to facilitate a workshop called the M.A.G.I.C .of Customer Relations, which emphasized communications and relationships as two of the keys to delivering exceptional customer service. Early in the program we pondered a quote by Virginia Satir, the American social worker and author who is widely regarded as the pioneer of family therapy. According to Ms. Satir, “Once a human being has arrived on this earth, communication is the largest single factor determining what kinds of relationships he makes with others and what happens to him in the world about him.”

Ms. Satir’s wisdom is relevant for how congregations approach capital campaigns. Consider the first of ECF’s three phases to a capital campaign – Discern, Study, Ask. In Discernment, ECF urges churches to reflect on what God calling their parish to do. The vehicles for reflecting on the question are various forms of communication – cottage meetings, interviews, broadcasting and narrow casting come to mind. Benefiting from communications done well are the relationships between parishioners as they participate in the Discernment.

Relationships, formed or strengthened, make people feel connected, engaged, included and perhaps even excited about the future of their church, including the capital campaign. Relationships facilitate interactions between parishioners – pleasant ones where they dream together what their church might become, or challenging ones where they may disagree, or even uncomfortable ones where they invite one another to increase their annual pledge or give to the campaign.

If I were to paraphrase Ms. Satir for our context, I might say something like this, “once a church commits to a capital campaign with ECF, thorough communications will play an important role in determining the relationships parishioners develop and how they connect with one another and the overall success of their capital campaign and beyond.”