The rule of thumb goes something like this: a church should be able to raise 2.5 to 3 times their annual budget in a capital campaign and 1.5 times their annual budget in a debt reduction campaign. So why is it that many churches can raise 4–5 times their annual budget while other churches struggle to raise anything? The answer boils down to several critical factors:
The Six ‘C’s of a Successful Campaign
- Church Health. Based on five key indicators, the overall health of a church is a major factor in the success of a campaign: a strong sense of community, a clear and congruent code, shared leadership, an outward focus, and ability to navigate change.
- Compelling Vision. A campaign will fall flat on its face if members don’t know why they are giving. People give to vision, not debt. Even in a debt-reduction campaign, the vision must be clearly articulated. More importantly, the vision must be shared. It can’t be handed down.
- Culture of Stewardship. If stewardship is not stressed on a regular basis at the church, a campaign can come as shock to members. Stewardship is the process of helping members connect to a greater sense of purpose and mission by aligning their own resources: time, spiritual gifts, talents, and money.
- Communication. The 7-11 principle applies here. The average person won’t remember something unless they hear it between 7 and 11 times. The campaign must make use of all available means of communication: e-blasts, brochures, public visuals, sermons, newsletters, one-on-one conversations, home gatherings, and more.
- Clarity of Process. Too many campaigns falter because the process is unclear. False starts, stops, and delays can kill momentum. This is one of the greatest values in bringing in an outside specialist who can help map out a process and keeps the church on tasks.
- Committed Leaders. Your leaders must be willing and able to lead the charge in a campaign. They need to walk the talk. Leaders must be the first ones to give their time and money to support the church’s vision and mission. A successful campaign never relies on one major donor. A great campaign is supported by all of the church’s leaders.
A stewardship campaign’s success is dependent on the work that is done before the campaign ever begins.