So Your Church Needs Capital Funds

| February 9, 2014

fundraisingChurch projects are jumping. Whether constructing new environments, renovating space, going multi-site or expanding missional outreach, churches are shaking off the doldrums and moving forward. These projects usually need increased funding from the congregation. As leaders evaluating the process and options, what are the trends and expectations you should consider moving forward with a project initiative or capital campaign?

1. People want to give and do give. Givers will invest in projects, but the environment is very competitive for giving dollars. Givers are far more careful to give where they confidently expect largest impact.

2. It takes longer for givers to engage, embrace the vision and to decide. A five-week push to tell the church project story falls short in engaging the heart of the giver. In an increasingly crowded world of messages and demands on money, church leaders must be far more intentional in connecting the mission and project to the passion of the giver. Successful leaders winsomely engage their congregation months in advance with incremental information based on their grouping within the church. The information is followed by inspirational elements that cement the mission and project to the heart of the giver before there is an invitation to give.

3. Results are better with a generosity platform than a fund-raising approach. Givers and potential new givers hit a wall if the focus is solely on funding a project. Better results come when church leadership shifts the conversation to values of generosity, heart-change and how this church engagement is good for them and their spiritual development. A transactional process smacks of fund-raising. A more transformational process brings results.

4. Creativity engages more people. Poor results flow from simply giving information and believing that information alone moves givers to action. Creative inspiration couples with the information to prompt abundant giving. People will give loyally to their church because of obligation or sense of duty. People will give abundantly when their hearts are engaged. The foundational elements of telling a project story are rock-solid proven. Leaders must add passion, visual arts, anchor information and influence of leaders. The elements are:

  • Vision: Why are we doing this?
  • Problem: What is blocking this incredible vision?
  • Solution: What is the mission critical step to solve the problem?
  • Urgency: Why do this now? What bad outcome results if we fail to take action?
  • Action: What are you asking me to do?

5. Consider fresh, giver-friendly options. A classic approach most often yields better approaches. We are seeing much more traction with innovative approaches. Just a few:

a. Leveraging a project to increase all giving. Ready for this? You can do a project without using a designated fund approach. Taking the project to a higher, missional level can attract more first time givers, move people to more consistent giving, and surface significant gifts.

b. A 24-month or less giving season. The more traditional 36-month giving period has drawbacks that are detracting from results.

c. Engaging in more conversational processes with higher capacity givers. This dialog is more relational intensive, but yields much better results.

You can expect good outcomes in your project needs if you take advantage of these trends.

Category: Non-Profits

About the Author ()

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Email| Website | Nathan Artt is the President of Ministry Solutions, which provides financial consulting and project leadership through construction planning, financing, and debt restructuring. He has extensive corporate experience in the banking industry, including positions of National Marketing Director and Vice-President of Corporate Development in large lending institutions.