Addressing Campaign Baggage, Skeletons, and Negative Perceptions

Campaign baggage, skeletons, and negative perceptionsDoes your church’s capital campaign have baggage? From your perspective, the reasons for your campaign are justified, you have a strong vision, and your goals are attainable. However, your potential donors, volunteers, and even the public may have a different perspective.

Being a “good cause” may not be enough to sway your members to support the campaign. In fact, your campaign may be haunted by skeletons or other image problems that you and your leaders don’t even know about.

As the old saying goes:

“You can please some of the people all of the time,
you can please all of the people some of the time,
but you can’t please all of the people all of the time.”

However, you can take steps to correct negative perceptions and show donors and volunteers that your campaign is worth their time and investment.

Here are some of the common negative perceptions that can stop donors from giving:

Lack of credibility
Your members may not be convinced that your campaign is worthwhile. You and your leadership have most likely spent countless hours developing the campaign over the course of a year or two. However, most of your members aren’t privy to this background information. This lack of knowledge can make it harder for donors to get behind the cause. They can be convinced that your campaign is credible with clear and honest communication about the need and scope of the project.

Past problems within the church
Every church is bound to have a skeleton or two in the closet. The best way to combat them is to address the issues head on. Rather than ignore past concerns, address them and explain to members and donors why they won’t be a problem now.

Lack of confidence in the leadership
There will always be members who have had personal conflicts with the current leaders. Or, poor leadership in the past may have created a negative perception that carries over to the new leaders. It is up to the current leadership to resolve old conflicts, as well as prove that they are strong, capable leaders. It takes time, patience, and compromise but negative perceptions about your leadership can be overcome.

A bad campaign experience or long-term debt
Some members may have a bad taste left over from a previous campaign. Others may have a hard time getting behind a new campaign if it means more debt. You need to be able to justify the need for your campaign and present a compelling case for the feasibility and success of the campaign. Members need to know in advance how the project will be funded and what continuing financial commitment may be expected from them. It comes back to clear and honest communication to change a negative image into a positive one.

Fear of creating an operating deficit
Some members may worry that running a capital campaign will affect the pledges to the operating budget. Your campaign should emphasize that a member’s first priority is giving to the operating budget. Capital pledges will be over and above the regular giving. Members should be reassured that the capital campaign won’t take away from the operating budget.

You may not be able to please everyone. With good leadership, a strong case for support, and a clear and actionable vision, you can win over most of your members and put the negative perceptions to rest.

If you have campaign baggage, skeletons in the closet, or other image issues, pleaseemail or call Church Campaign Services at 888.558.6873. We can help you overcome negative perceptions and create a positive, successful campaign!