Capital Campaigns

Capital Stewardship Campaign

Despite a waterfall of gloomy analysis that soaks  observers with the notion that most churches are flat or declining, a significant number of churches are growing. These growing churches, along with many other strong churches, find they need to expand, repurpose or refurbish facilities or pay off debt to freely pursue next steps.

As a minister and consultant through The Columbia Partnership I help churches to pray over, plan and conduct campaigns to raise funds from among their members for these special purposes, resulting in spiritual growth among individuals and a stronger church body. I’m concerned that your project not just raise funds, but also raises faith.

A campaign creates a buzz of enthusiasm in the church, a new awareness and appreciation of the church’s mission — and when conducted prayerfully and transparently — a significant amount of giving within a relatively short time. When a church, unified for Kingdom purposes, sees God at work among them, such campaigns often lead to an increased spirit of generosity that pervades the membership for years.

Working with passionate volunteers for several months leading to several weeks of the actual campaign, I and my TCP colleagues consistently see churches respond to the challenge.

The result is a mission accomplished with new giving rather than gifts simply transferred from one purpose to another. A campaign prompts an inflow of resources beyond outright gifts of cash or appreciated assets. Commitments arise that may be given over a period of time, usually three years. Typically, your church can expect to receive 90 percent or more of the commitment indicated through such pledges. And almost always there will surface a significant gift from a source no one ever would have expected.

We call a campaign “capital” because it usually focuses on a project that is a new building or renovated building or debt retirement, something that adds to the assets of a church. Campaigns are also “capital” because very large gifts from the accumulated assets, or capital, of members are needed to raise the funds necessary to pay for the project.

We like to consider a campaign a “stewardship” campaign if the funds raised will be used to carry out the congregation’s mission and thereby extend the Kingdom of God into the community and the world. The word “stewardship” in the New Testament is most often found in the context of God’s Kingdom coming into the world. Stewardship can be defined as all we do with all we have to carry out our God-given mission.

A properly, prayerfully led and conducted campaign will have the effect of developing better stewards among your members of all the resources God has given them.

Every church is different. Every need is different. No consultant can stamp a cookie cutter formula onto the soft dough of your project and bake up a standard result. But, to give you some sense of scope, you can know that once your church has discerned the need and decided to rally to meet it, a capital campaign will be conducted in a relatively short time frame. Including one to two months of advance preparation, the campaign can be successfully conducted within 12-13 weeks.

If your case is compelling and the congregation is behind it, church capital campaigns often raise 1.5 to 3 times the amount of their annual budget. Three is high and rare. More typical is two.

Members who cannot give large gifts at one time will plan to give meaningful and proportional gifts over time. The campaign fundraising strategy is the most productive, most efficient and most affordable way to raise significant funds for your congregation’s project.

I want your success. As you are considering next steps, I would be pleased to talk with you about campaign readiness. Is your church or non-profit organization ready for a campaign? What are the signs? What are the yellow flags?

I’m happy to talk with you about it with no obligation. Simply write me at or call me at (919) 607-4991.



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