One responsibility that most church leaders hate – is fundraising. Crossing that bridge can be difficult and frustrating. There aren’t many people who feel called to pastor a church and who will say that they did it so they could raise money to build buildings! Nevertheless, we all know that the church is a group of people, who need a place to meet. And that is why securing a building is so important.
There are many different approaches to raising money. The experts will show data to support that hiring a professional to facilitate a capital campaign will more times than not yield a higher result. However, the fees can be high, and not every organization is comfortable bringing in an outsider. The challenge is to determine the best approach for your church culture.
10 Things Members Want to Know About Your Giving Campaign
We’ve all heard the phrase, “all they want is my money…” Those statements are spoken by people who really don’t get it. They don’t get what it takes to create a church experience that brings people into God’s presence, teaches biblical principles and facilitates the process of spiritual development. Those who question the fact that the gospel is free, but delivering it is not, are just not getting it. So the challenge becomes how to help them get it!
Any of us who have experienced a capital campaign know that it can either inspire you to give, or introduce feelings of resistance. If there is resistance to the project, there will be minimal giving.
So what would make someone resist giving?
The secret is to teach on giving coupled with communication – and a lot of it. People need to understand what it is they are signing up for, how it lines up with God’s word so they can think/pray about how they will participate.
A major part of the communication is to proactively address those things that members might have questions about.
What do people want to know?
1. Scope of the Project
People want to know what it is that you will be raising money for. Specifically, will it be a new building, a building expansion, a remodel, new equipment? You need to articulate what it is the money will be spent on. Show a picture of the proposed project to give them a visual of what the completed project might look like.
Church members are interested in the why behind a capital campaign because it will ultimately mean giving more than their tithe. And, for people on tight personal budgets, that can be a big deal. It is important to articulate why the project was proposed and the data that supports the need. If it is church growth driving the need for a larger worship center, show the growth data. If you can demonstrate consistent growth through numbers, people will support the need.
In the same way, people want to know how this project fits into the big picture. In other words, how does it fit into a long-term strategy or master plan for facility growth? People want to know that there won’t be any do overs in five years because there wasn’t a plan to systematically expand the church campus.
People want to know the total amount of money that is needed to complete the project. This should include architectural fees, permitting fees, consulting fees, etc. Don’t make the mistake of asking for $800,000 when the true total cost will be $925,000.
5. Cost Containment
If you’ve ever been on a planning committee for an expansion, renovation or new building you understand how easy it is to get caught up in the “oh wouldn’t it be cool if we did…..” kind of planning. It is easy to let the project run away with itself. Givers want to know that those making the decisions are thinking smart and conserving valuable resources.
6. Debt Load
People want to know if the campaign will secure all of the money needed for the project, or if the church will need to borrow the balance. If so, what percentage of the total will be raised and what percentage will be borrowed? And, how that will affect any current debt?
7. Minimum Needed
If there is a “no go” point, let people know at what point the project will be stopped or modified. Will it be if 50% is raised, 75% or will the project be put on hold until 100% comes in? Making this point very clearly creates a sense of urgency.
8. Church Budget
What kind of strain will this project put on the church budget? If we borrow money, how will that affect the operating budget? Will it impact current programs and if so, how? The more information you share the more members will understand the financial need.
People want to know how long their personal budget will be impacted so they can prepare. Let them know up front if the campaign will be 6 months, 1 year or 3 years. Helping people prepare financially will impact their follow through.
10. Payment Options
What are my payment options? Can I pay weekly, monthly or give a one-time gift? Will I be able to make a payment on-line, ACH transfers or by credit card? You want to make giving easy by offering a wide variety of payment options.
To be successful, the campaign should be presented to members over the course of several weeks leading up to the start of the campaign. Give members time to think about the need, and to determine their giving level. You don’t want people to sign up on an impulse. Rather, you want to give them the necessary time to think and pray about their commitment to the project.
Make it easy! Have materials everywhere – at the doors, in the lobby, in the bulletin on the website, during announcements. Be creative with materials and use them to engage the members and get them excited about the project.
It is never easy to stand in front of church members and ask for money. However, having a plan to present the need, the reason for the need and to answer all questions helps members connect and participate in the campaign. And, the greater the participation the quicker the money will come in.