Running a church requires incredible generosity.
Operating costs, resources for your community, and salaries represent a significant number each month, and you most likely depend on regular giving from your church family to meet those needs.
Beyond your regular needs, however, there are times when your church has an additional need for financial giving.
You might be launching a church building campaign that will move your church family into a new facility. You might felt led to respond to a crisis in the local, national, or global community with volunteers and resources. Or you might be planning a church-wide mission trip overseas, and you need funding for travel costs and equipment.
Asking your church community for partnership towards a high-budget goal requires you to do more than make a simple request on a Sunday morning.
To get people excited and motivated–and to teach them about the power of generosity–you’ll want to launch a church capital campaign.
In the following article, we’ll take a look at how to launch and sustain this special giving campaign for your church.
We’ll look at what not to do – the mistakes that can keep you from succeeding. Finally, we’ll look at tools and technologies to help you meet your financial goals and accomplish the dream God has given your church.
What is a church capital campaign?
A church capital campaign is a special campaign that promotes a specific and significant financial need at your church.
That financial need may include:
- A church building campaign – you are building or renting a new facility, or maybe doing heavy renovations on your existing church home.
- A community outreach – you are responding to a specific need for resources and aid in your community as a result of a weather-related crisis, financial recession, or shortage of resources.
- A mission trip – you are planning an ambitious mission trip to a different state or country, and your church is raising funding collectively to pay for plane tickets, housing, and resources to help those in need at your destination.
- A year-end giving campaign – you are raising additional funding at the end of the year to help you remain debt free.
- A need for a single individual or family – if your church is smaller, you may be raising funding for a single family or individual that needs to buy a new car, rent a new home, or pay off debt or a medical bill.
- Anything else that represents a significant cost to your church, and isn’t covered by your tithes and offerings.
A capital campaign is different from collecting regular tithes or donations. It’s a campaign that asks your church members to go above and beyond their regular giving–and to partner with you in accomplishing a Jesus-centered mission.
Build your team
To run a successful capital campaign, you need a team. You might build your team from pastors, ministry leaders, staff, or volunteers.
In any case, they need to be excited, envisioned, and motivated to help your church meet this giving goal.
Your church capital campaign team may have:
- A team leader that knows the bigger picture of your capital campaign, including financials, marketing, and administrative planning and can lead others well.
- A marketing leader that has vision for creating an awesome marketing strategy, and can communicate your vision with confidence and clarity.
- A “hype” guy or gal that has a ton of enthusiasm, and can get people of all ages excited about your capital campaign (and can run your social media accounts 😊)
- An admin that can handle administrative details, run meetings, and make sure nothing slips through the cracks.
Finally, make sure roles and responsibilities are defined, and that there’s clear communication between everyone on the team.
The last thing you want is conflict or confusion. Kicking off your campaign with a team meeting (and plenty of prayer) is the best way to make sure everyone is on the same page.
Decide on timelines
Next, you’ll need to create two distinct timelines for reaching your goal and running your campaign.
The first timeline
The first timeline is for meeting your financial goal.
Once you’ve nailed down how much money you need to raise, you’ll need to decide on a general timeframe for the campaign.
Remember that a church capital campaign can last anywhere from two weeks to two years–or longer.
Deciding on a timeframe for your campaign includes asking questions like: How many people does your church have? Do you anticipate any large donors? What is God speaking to you?
This timeline may include benchmarks for meeting specific goals along the way.
If you’re raising $20,000 for building renovations, you may want to set incremental goals along the way.
Raising $5,000 over one month can feel a lot more doable than raising $20,000 over four months. Baby steps, people!
The second timeline
The second timeline is focused specifically on marketing your campaign.
You need a specific launch date that kicks off your campaign with a burst of enthusiasm and communication.
You need touch-points along the way – email campaigns, social media posts, special in-service messages, and more.
And you need a “final push” to create anticipation and excitement towards the end of your campaign (think of the end of a marathon).
Develop your message
Believe it or not, your messaging is the most important part of your church capital campaign.
If your campaign’s message doesn’t clearly communicate your vision – or your desire for partnership – then your campaign will fall flat.
But if your message is action-oriented and easy to understand, your campaign can help your entire church community catch your vision and respond–with just a few words.
To come up with an effective message for your capital campaign:
- Use action verbs like “dream,” “pray,” “give,” and “think.”
- Don’t start your message with “we.” Start your message with “you.”
- Keep it short and punchy – i.e. “Dream with us.” “Give big.” “Build God’s house.”
No matter what you’re communicating, remember to keep your audience in mind.
Your capital campaign isn’t about presenting an image; it’s about creating a vision for partnership. Your capital campaign should feel empowering and exciting to your church community.
Remember that communicating your campaign message isn’t just a one-time event, either. Your campaign message applies to:
- How you present your campaign verbally–during services, worship nights, conferences, and meetings.
- Your marketing campaign, including special emails and postcards that promote your capital campaign.
- Regular church communications via your website, church bulletin, or even social media posts.
Finally, make sure everyone on your campaign team knows your message inside and out. It should be easy to remember and repeat!
Host a church fundraising event
To kick off your capital campaign, host a church fundraising event.
A fundraising event can help you quickly raise awareness for your capital campaign, raise initial funding, and create momentum.
It can also be a fun way to get your entire church involved in your vision.
Use your event as an opportunity to communicate the vision, hand out pledge cards, and even sell merchandise for your capital campaign. Your goal should be simple: Get your church family onboard for the long haul.
Your fundraising event can be as fancy as a black-tie gala, or as simple as a picnic and a car wash.
Here are a few other ideas for fundraising events for your church capital campaign:
- A car wash + bake sale
- A church-wide picnic and game day
- A concert
- A special luncheon or dinner
- A paid workshop or seminar
- A church-wide garage sale
Don’t feel the need to stop at one event; you may want to host two or three events over the course of your capital campaign to keep momentum going.
Use the right tools and technology
To help people donate to your capital campaign, you’ll need technology to help them give in a way that’s easy and convenient.
An online donation platform – like Anedot – makes it simple for members to give with a credit or debit card.
Anedot empowers your church family members to:
- Make a one-time gift on their mobile phone
- Respond quickly to an appeal for donations
- Set up recurring giving towards a fund or campaign
- Give via text message
- And more
To learn more about how Anedot can help you run a church capital campaign, click here.
Don’t make these mistakes
Imagine that you’ve launched your capital campaign. You’ve got a catchy tagline, a kick-off event, and a number of committed supporters.
And then, crickets.
If you find your capital campaign loses momentum, you might have made one or more of the following mistakes:
No call to action (CTA)
If your capital campaign doesn’t call supporters to action, you might see a lot of enthusiasm without a lot of response.
To prompt people to action, use words/phrases like “Give Now” and “Partner with Us.”
People are busy. Don’t expect them to remember the details of your capital campaign a month after you’ve announced it.
Plan for ongoing touchpoints, and continue to communicate with your church community about your vision and goals.
Follow up with potential donors who have committed to partnering with you.
Give them a friendly call, send an email, or plan an in-person meeting to talk about your vision.
A church capital campaign can be an effective way to help you reach a large financial goal such as building a new facility or planning a mission trip.
But it can also be a fun, empowering opportunity for your church family to grow in generosity and see God move.
If you’ve got a dream for your church that requires high financial investment, we’d love to partner with you.