Timing a Church Capital Campaign

By • on October 21, 2007 • Filed under: Church Capital Campaign

Timing is critical for churches that want to execute a capital campaign, and preparation for a spring capital campaign needs to start the previous fall (and vice-versa).

A church’s capital campaign has 5 phases and it is the third, or public phase, that most church people think of when they talk about a capital campaign. As you will see below, there are two other phases of the campaign that must happen first – and that means the church needs to be getting started in the fall.

A capital campaign takes time to prepare, committees must be formed, people trained, and all of the behind the scenes work to make the campaign happen have to happen before the campaign goes public. As a pastor who recently finished a spring campaign said, “If there was one piece of advice I would give about a capital campaign, it would be to give yourself plenty of time”. While their church had a very successful campaign, their short timeline put a great deal of stress and burden on the staff.

The following is a sample time line for a 5 church capital campaign:

  • Planning & Recruiting: 3 weeks – 3 months
  • Equipping & Preparation: 5 – 10 weeks
  • Public Phase: 5 – 8 weeks (Elapsed Time 13 to 20+ weeks)
  • Receiving Commitments: 1 to 3 weeks
  • Collection & Follow-up: Typically 3 years

Phase 1 – Planning & Recruiting
This phase can take from 3 weeks to 3 months, depending on size of congregation, method of church governance, availability of staff to the project, and other events on the church calendar. In this phase a general timeline is established, the director and executive committee members are considered and recruited based on job descriptions and gifting. Workers for the various teams or committees may also be solicited during this phase.

Phase 2 – Equipping & Preparation
This phase can last from 5 to 10 weeks, or often even longer. The shorter the time frame for completion, the more intense the effort. It is during this phase that recruitment of workers for the capital campaign teams is completed, training for the stewardship committee is accomplished, and much of the “behind the scenes” background work is completed. The more time the church allows for this phase, the easier it will be for everyone involved.

Phase 3 – Public Phase
It is this phase that most people think of when they conceptualize a capital campaign. This phase can last from 5 to 8 weeks, depending on the size of the congregation and other factors. The goals of this phase are to clearly communicate the need; clearly teach and model stewardship; and for everyone prayerfully consider how the Lord would them contribute to the campaign.

Phase 4 – Capital Campaign Wrap-up Phase
This phase will last from 1 to 3 weeks depending on size of congregation and method of collecting pledges. The major goals are: to have a celebration Sunday to give thanks and Glory to God; collect any remaining pledges; provide a final total to the church; send thank you letters; acknowledge and thank workers; and implement a plan and process to provide regular statements on giving.

Phase 5 – Pledge Collection & Follow-up
This phase consists of the tasks of collecting the monies pledged, providing regular statements to members for pledges received, making regular reports to the congregation on capital campaign pledge receipts, and integrating new members into the program.

Churches will typically raise about twice as much money by utilizing an outside capital campaign consultant than they will on their own. While some churches may be put off by the cost or idea of a consultant, it is easy to see that this is an investment that will pay for itself many times over. A church consultant will lead the church’s capital campaign committee and help them apply the best practices that have been developed by the thousands of churches in their own capital campaigns over the decades. By getting started with their campaign at the appropriate time, the church will make it easier and more effective, not only for the capital campaign consultant, but for the church as well.

Captial Campaigns have gotten even more important due to the economic crisis; see this post about financing and church capital campaigns. If your church is interested in a cost-effective capital campaign that offers the flexibility to be anything from a DIY in-house campaign, to a full capital campaign consulting engagement, visit www.OurCapitalCampaign.com


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