Directed Fundraising Campaigns
Part 1: Fundamental Requirements
When a church is facing a strategic time in their history of ministry in their particular locale, and is considering expanding, renovating or moving, the first item on the agenda is to find out how much money they have to work with prior to approaching an architect about alternative designs. A competent fundraising group can produce a Financial Potential Report when provided with current financial and attendance information from the church.
Once this report is complete, the church and fundraiser can work together to set the financial goal for a campaign, then sit down and discuss the design for the campaign. Some key concepts that need to be considered when considering conducting a capital campaign follow.
A. The Campaign needs to be customized to the church’s context.
The "cookie-cutter" approach does not fit all. Every church has its own "DNA" and campaign design needs to take into account the historical, theological and cultural values of the church, all in the context of tried and proven fundraising principles. Since we have worked with other denominations in the past, we at Faith Based Fundraising bring that experience to the table and tailor the campaign to your Congregation.
It is important therefore that in the planning stage of the Campaign that a Consultant with Faith Based Fundraising, meet with church leaders to go over the various components available and set the design for the Campaign for the church’s context. This will ensure that the process will fit the church culture and reap the most meaningful response from the congregation.
The model below provides a general idea of a campaign, with specifics provided by the Consulting Firm when working through the design stage.
B. The Campaign needs to utilize the most effective communication techniques.
It has been proven many times that face-to-face communication is the most effective form. The message does need to be printed and presented publicly but to be effective, opportunities need to be created for face-to-face communication of the "worthy cause” either through small group meetings, or one-on-one visits by the church leaders and campaign team.
C. The Campaign should emphasize leadership responses.
The most tried and proven principle in all of fundraising is that leaders need to set the pace to build believability into the process. When leaders lead… amazing things happen. Our observation is that prior to the All Church Event, successful campaigns often have 50-60% of the goal committed by leadership.
D. The Campaign should focus on inviting the donor to catch the vision of the church.
We define fundraising as “preparing the donor to respond to a new vision for the future” as opposed to just “asking for money”. People do not respond to just an ask. When donors understand the "worthy cause" and have developed ownership of the church’s purpose for the project, money follows that vision. Thus, at Faith Based Fundraising, we do not focus on the building or money but the vision because commitment to vision impacts giving.
E. The Campaign should not contain a strong push for a commitment
A specially designed ‘All Church Event’ (banquet or worship service) is suggested as the culmination of the campaign. It is more than a fund raising event, and includes a time to celebrate where you have come from, where you are going, and how you are going to get there. At that event the leadership commitments are announced and it is indicated that each household will receive in the mail, a commitment card during the coming week. The cover letter encourages the congregation to hold a family planning and prayer time to discuss their commitment. This is in essence, the ‘ask’. It is not high pressure, but affirmative of the vision and celebratory of the vision that God has called you to fulfill.
Read on in Part 2 of this article serices: Directed Fundraising Campaigns - The Capital Fundraising Campaign Process.