Two Phases of a Major Funds Campaign

678948_writing_check“From everyone to whom much has been given, much will be required”
Luke 12:48

First of all, let me address the evolution of the category I intend to describe. Twenty years ago, it was common to have two phases of a major funds campaign in the church. The first phase was most commonly called Major Gifts. These tended to be gifts, at that time considered “major,” of $10,000 or greater, up to 15% of the goal for a leader gift. The rest of the members fell into the second phase of the campaign, or the congregation phase. Many of these members were left out of the first phase, and some were offended.

The next evolutionary step was to call these gifts “Advance Gifts” and became inclusive of campaign and church leaders. Over time, the size of this gift grew to include gifts over $15,000. For some, including myself, I prefer to refer to this campaign phase as “Leadership Gifts” – a tangible witness to faith and commitment.

Another evolution has been the impact of this phase as a percentage of the goal raised. Twenty years ago, it was expected that a campaign would raise half its funds in this phase, and half in the congregation phase. Now, it is almost necessary to raise 65-70% of the goal in this initial step.

The financial squeeze on general congregants to support an annual commitment as well as a major funds initiative has, for many, become too much to handle. So, the result is greater disparity in church funding. And more pressure on leaders. There are few opportunities for second chances in planning a campaign – make sure you do it right the first time.