Capital campaigns remain the same. Capital campaigns are ever changing. At least that is what I have seen in my 12 years of guiding churches through campaigns.
I continue to see some of the basics of campaigns remain the same and always will because they are fundamentals of the process:
- The vision of the church and how the project fits into the vision must be clearly defined.
- The senior pastor must be a passionate communicator of the vision and how the proposed project will help the church better fulfill the God inspired vision they are called to.
- Communication must be clear, concise, and constant.
- Lay people must be involved in the development and execution of the communication plan.
I do not think these fundamentals of a successful capital campaign will ever go away; they must be in place for a church to have a spiritually AND financially successful campaign.
Some of my A-ha’s from the spring of 2013 campaigns stem from these four fundamentals of the capital campaign process.
- Most churches have a vision statement. However, most people in the church (staff included) do not have any idea what it is. You have to make sure the people of the church know what the vision of the church is WAY in advance of beginning a capital campaign (12 months at least).
- Senior pastors give their staff, leaders, and general congregation WAY too much credit as it pertains to their understanding of the vision of the church and the project. Senior pastors time and again are surprised when their people don’t ‘buy in’ to the vision with a financial commitment on commitment Sunday. The main reason for this is the people were not given a chance to understand and embrace the vision of the church WAY in advance of the campaign process. (Are you seeing a theme here?)
- There are many more methods to communicate with people than even 5 years ago. Multi-faceted communication plans is the flavor of the day for church communications. I totally agree with communicating in multiple methods. However, the problem I see is the message delivered in the multiple methods is not consistent. Leaders talk themselves out of saying the exact same thing in worship and in a letter, email, video and blog post. They think they are being redundant and people will quit listening/reading. Redundancy is not always a bad thing and you are kidding yourself if you think your people read everything the church sends them. Say the same exact thing at least three times before you begin to change the content.
- There is a trend toward having a smaller group of people planning and executing the campaign. I am a big believer in leaders leading but in the churches I work in I find it to be a mistake to try and communicate from the top down. Lay people need to know what is going on and what is coming. They need to know it soon and often. The core lay leaders in a church are going to give the most money (as they do for everyday giving as well) so these core leaders need to be “in the know” very soon. Invite them into the conversation. Ask their opinion. (I know that is a scary proposition). Listen to them. Ask for their support. You will be glad you did.
Have you been through a campaign recently? If so, do you agree with what I have said in this post?
Are you thinking about a campaign in the not too distant future? If so, have you started communicating the vision statement with everyone?