Frequently Asked Questions
A capital campaign is a special, occasional effort designed to attract above average gifts within a specified time frame for a specific project or purpose outside of what can realistically be addressed through the ordinary operating income of the church.
Studies have shown that hiring a consultant will result in raising at least one-half times your church gift income more than doing a campaign on your own. Plus, you’ll save hundreds of hours of time that someone from the church would otherwise have to spend organizing and operating the campaign yourselves. So, unless the consultants’ fee and other expenses associated with their work will exceed the cost of your time and the income you’d lose by not hiring a consultant, hiring counsel is a smart and worthwhile investment.
It depends on what you are wanting to raise and how well you want to do in your campaign. If you are looking to raise less than 1 times you annual giving for a project that primarily involves debt reduction, less than 1.5 times your annual giving for a project that primarily involves plant maintenance, or less than 2 times your annual giving for a project that primarily involves new building or renovation, you can probably get by with more of a “consultative approach” with minimal (10 to 15 days) of on-site support from a consultant. This is especially true if you’re okay with doing more of the work yourselves and raising at least one-half times your annual giving less than you could otherwise expect from a more hands on approach. If you are looking to raise more than this however, and minimize the work of volunteers and church staff, you should hire someone who will agree to come to the church at least every other week for 2 to 4 days per visit for a total of 30 to 40 days over a 5 to 6 month period minimally to allow adequate time for the completion of key tasks and the cultivation and procurement of all but especially key gifts. In short, you need someone who will not only direct but will drive your campaign – someone who agree to coordinate and attend all meetings and major events and personally handle consultant critical tasks such as the development of various organization and orientation materials, printed, promotional and proposal materials, and the training of all campaign leaders and volunteers. Of course you could have someone come to the church for more time than this – even weekly if you wish - but this hasn’t proven to enhance results.
Campaign costs, inclusive of consultant fees, usually amount to less than five to ten cents per dollar raised. So while campaigns are not necessarily inexpensive they are extremely cost effective raising more money, faster and at a lower cost than any other form of fundraising.
You can realistically expect to minimally raise at least 1.5 times your annual giving for a project that primarily involves debt reduction, at least 2 times your annual giving for a project that primarily involves plant maintenance, and at least 2.5 times giving for a project that primarily involves new building or renovation with a professionally and correctly driven campaign. And you can do even better (or worse) than this depending on the level of service you get (see "What level of service should we look for and expect?" above), the length of the campaign and how you ask for gifts.
The more people that are actively involved in the campaign as volunteers the better. That’s because with more volunteers, you can reach out to people more personally. It’ll make everyone’s job just a little easier. There will be more and broader ownership for the project and campaign which will translate into more and better gifts from both your volunteers and the people they will ultimately invite to participate and give. Plus, with more volunteers you’ll build and strengthen relationships within your church which will create a greater sense of unity and community, which will continue to benefit you well beyond the campaign.
Most campaigns, depending on how you plan to operate and who you choose to guide you, require very little of the church pastor’s or staff time. The pastor of the church is usually asked to help by recruiting key leadership, assist in the solicitation of some key gifts, and to speak at various campaign meetings and events. Church staff is asked to do far less because most professionally-directed campaigns have their own campaign director and secretary who handle most of the details associated with the campaign.
A well-done campaign will take approximately five-to-six months to complete. That includes one to two months for campaign preparation and four months for campaign implementation, exclusive of the time it takes for a feasibility study if you plan one. This timeframe is long enough to allow adequate time for the recruitment of volunteers and the solicitation of key gifts. It also is not too long to cause people to lose enthusiasm for the effort or for the campaign itself to lose momentum. If you plan on doing a fundraising feasibility study in advance of your campaign, add two months to this schedule. And, if you plan to hire professional counsel to assist you, which you should do, add an additional two months to allow enough time for the search and selection process.