Glenn and Barbara Holliman have an excellent little book well worth your time reading, With Generous Hearts. I was struck by their introduction, in which Glenn spells out everything he did wrong in a church capital campaign.
We managed to do almost everything wrong in that campaign.
- A few of us made all the decisions and failed to share information adequately about the program with the rest of the congregation….
- There was no feasibility study to make sure people were in favor of the project and willing to give.
- There was no leadership evaluation to make suggestions as to what giving levels people should consider.
- There were no one-on-one calls….
- We failed to set deadlines.
- Of course, we never asked an experienced fund raising firm or development officer for counsel or advice.
Glenn goes on to say that they raised half of what the set out to raise and were forced to borrow the other half.
I put that last statement in bold. Most churches are not equipped with any development staff and very little knowledge of “raising money.” Bringing a development professional in as early as possible, even before determining the “need,” can provide the needed expertise and time you need to complete your campaign.
I recommend interviewing three professionals. For more information, the Center for Congregations has a great guide, Selecting Fundraising Consultants.