Most churches, at some point in their history develop a need to raise money for special projects – often, a building project. Very often the church executes a capital campaign to help raise this money.
Church Capital campaigns are nothing new, they have been done in thousands of churches of all sizes, denominations and cultures, for many years. Church capital campaigns have their basis in the Old Testament! (See Exodus 25 & 35, Ezra 1 & 6, Nehemiah 2, Haggai 1.)
The Donor Environment
Most churches do not realize the very complex and competitive fund raising environment in which they must operate. Today, the ‘pull’ on your members’ hearts, time, and pocketbooks is intense. Much of this competition comes from other worthy organizations. Each of these nonprofits must seek money in order to stay in ministry and to achieve their goals, and the people they pursue are often the very same people a church depends on for its support.
In order to properly prepare for a capital campaign, many churches are beginning (like their non-profit partners) to commission a capital campaign feasibility study. A campaign feasibility study provides several very valuable benefits to the church. It helps gauge congregational support for a fundraising campaign, it helps define or validate a planned campaign goal, and perhaps most importantly, a feasibility study begins the important process of donor development.
Why Do A Capital Campaign Feasibility Study?
For years secular nonprofits (and increasingly – churches) have used Capital Campaign Feasibility and Planning Studies to:
- Determine if a capital campaign is needed and what it will cost.
- Determine realistic and obtainable goals and the potential for success.
- Determine the amount that might be raised and the time it will take to raise the funds.
- Determine campaign strategies to be used.
- Build support and confidence with potential contributors.
- Develop plans for soliciting individual prospects.
- Surface any concerns or tensions within the congregation
- Ascertain donor confidence in the church leadership.
- Obtain indications regarding the level of financial support from potential large givers.
- Determine how the church is viewed in the eyes of prospective donors and if the proposed project is perceived as important to prospective donors.
- Determine the church’s spiritual readiness for a campaign.
- Determine potential challenges and barriers to success.
- Begin building a campaign leadership team
- and much more…
Gauging Support and Goal Setting
A capital campaign feasibility study can be used to determine both the leadership’s readiness and the congregation’s receptiveness to a capital fundraising effort. It will help insure the leadership team is ready to execute a campaign and that all the leaders are on-board with the process.
Through a series of interviews, a campaign feasibility study will also help identify whether the congregation, particularly your largest potential givers, support the vision and leadership and are ready to give sacrificially to the capital campaign. These same interviews will also gauge the level of financial support which is then used as a predictor of financial results that can be used to either set a financial goal, or to validate if there is a reasonable expectation of meeting a desired goal.
Developing generous donors takes vision, communication, discipleship, teaching, relationship, and time. A capital campaign feasibility study will determine if the vision is widely understood and embraced, particularly by the base of potential large donors. Since these potential large donors can have such a large impact on the results of your capital campaign, it is important that we begin to communicate with them early. A feasibility study begins the process of communication with your key partners well in advance of discussions with the typical congregant.
Can I help you process your next steps? Let’s chat…