5 Common Stewardship Capital Campaign Mistakes

Erasing mistakeIf you’ve ever embarked on a major church project, you’ve no doubt learned that it’s almost impossible to go it alone. Whether your plans involve a multi-site ministry or starting a capital campaign for a new church design, you’re bound to need professional help along the way. That’s why we’re happy to help connect you with other seasoned professionals who can help make your new project a success.

One such group is Generis, a team of Christian strategists who know a lot about supporting churches with successful stewardship fundraising efforts. Recently, they shared some of the common mistakes they see churches make when it comes to capital campaigns. Below are five of the worst mistakes that you should try to avoid.

Mistake #1: Not Thinking Broadly Enough About Stewardship

The people at Generis think in big-picture terms, and we agree with them. Churches focus a lot of time and energy on teaching their communities about the need for funds. But if you stop there, you’re missing an even bigger opportunity.

Why not expand the conversation and talk not just about fundraising, but also about discipleship? Everyone needs to understand the importance of good stewardship in every area of their personal and professional lives. Teaching church members to think as lifelong givers will not only support your church in your current capital campaign, but also in your church’s fundraising efforts going forward.

Mistake #2: Not Understanding Today’s Giving Climate

Have you thought at all about the impact of Kickstarter and GoFundMe on your church’s capital campaign? If you haven’t, you need to.

Gone are the days when church was one of the primary places where people contributed money. Nowadays, there are a lot more opportunities out there to give, and every church has to think about how to stand out in a crowd of meaningful projects.

Mistake #3: Not Building Momentum for Your Capital Campaign

Just because you’ve been thinking about your new church design project for months, you can’t assume that others are going to jump on board right away. You need to allow time to share information about the project and captivate your audience. By helping them understand the church’s needs, you gain buy-in from all your church members.

Mistake #4: Not Understanding Church Giving Patterns

For capital campaign specialists, it’s not about “location, location, location” like it is for real estate agents. Instead, it’s about “data, data, data.” You and your fundraising team have got to take the time to analyze the giving trends in your congregation. Otherwise you can’t reliably understand what it will realistically take to raise a certain amount of money. If you don’t understand the giving capacity of your community, you’re setting yourselves up for failure.

Mistake #5: Not Sharing Enough Information About Your New Church Design

It’s critically important to share ample information about your church building or renovation project before you ask people to commit to a capital campaign. If people don’t understand the reasons why you need a new building, or the project doesn’t make sense to them, they will be unwilling to commit.

Learn More Mistakes to Avoid —And Best Practices to Remember

These five mistakes are the biggest ones and just a portion of what Generis shared in their recent article on capital campaigns. There were six more stewardship mistakes to avoid. To read about them, click here. And if you want to discover other useful information for your new church design or renovation project, visit our website. There, you can sign up for our free i3 webinars.

2016-06-15T11:57:13+00:00 June 15th, 2016|Advice, Church Design, Financing, Stewardship, Uncategorized|

Why Winterizing Your Church Building is Wise Stewardship

church-building-winterizationWinter is definitely a time when ignoring your church building can lead to serious problems. Insurance companies report that as many as three times more insurance claims are filed during the winter months than other times of the year. So during these cold and blustery days, it’s important that you’ve winterized your church building to prevent damage and accidents from occurring.

Begin at the Top

We have written specifically on the importance of roof maintenance in the past, and we suggest that you review that article for more details. In short, winter snow, ice and wind cause millions of dollars of damage to the roofs of buildings across the country each year. Snow is heavy, and can surpass the roof load capacity. Melting snow and ice invade cracks, re-freeze overnight, and expand those cracks, causing leaks and damage. Backed-up drains prevent needed runoff of that melting snow and ice. All of this can cause problems for your roof, which protects the rest of your church building.

Maintain the Heating System

In the same way that you should regularly inspect and maintain your roof, you need to schedule regular maintenance for your heating system as well. Replace the filters, test the controls, and make sure that heat is coming out of every heat register in the church building. But don’t just rely on volunteers; schedule a licensed contractor to check belts, lubricate the furnace motor and check the flue for any blockages or buildup.

Don’t Forget the Pipes

We’re not talking organ pipes here, but water pipes. Churches tend to keep building temperatures low in winter to save money, but good building stewardship requires that the church building internal temperature stays above 55 degrees to prevent freezing water pipes. Pay attention especially to areas of the church that might not be directly served by your heating system. You should also inspect and insulate any pipes that run through attic areas. Many times a communication, technology or other volunteer or service may have moved insulation over a pipe and not replaced it.  Finally, especially if your church building doesn’t host weekday activities such as Bible studies or a church school, make sure someone checks the church daily for issues during extreme cold snaps.

Walk This Way

Finally, don’t ignore the walkways inside and outside of your church building. Slip and fall accidents increase when the sidewalks are slippery and the indoor floors get wet. Repair uneven sidewalks, steps and parking lots before snow covers those bumps, creating tripping hazards. Make sure all handrails are sturdy and well-fastened. Use only non-skid rugs and floor mats, purchase—and use—“wet floor” signs, and clean up wet floors as soon as possible. Create a snow removal policy, document it (for insurance claims) and organize a snow removal crew to make sure the church building and surrounding areas are safe before every church event.  Do not use a salt to melt the snow on your sidewalks. Salt will cause concrete surfaces to pop off and break up over time.

Think Maintenance All Year Long

Of course, good stewardship requires that you think about church building maintenance in every season, not just winter. The McKnight Group can answer questions you have about church building maintenance.  Give us a call and we can help you with your maintenance questions and offer solutions to your maintenance issues. And be sure to sign up for our free i3 webinar series, to learn about church building principles and a variety of other topics throughout the year.

2016-01-13T11:40:40+00:00 January 13th, 2016|Church Building, Stewardship, Uncategorized|

Jump-Start Your Church Building Plans with a Fall Stewardship Campaign

church-building-fall-stewardshipSome things just go better in the fall. Perhaps because it’s when the kids return to school, fall is traditionally the start of a new “program year” for many things. It turns out that fall is also a good time to start a capital stewardship campaign, so if your church is discussing a church building or renovation project, now’s an excellent time to get it up and running, but only if you’ve properly prepared.

Consulting the Calendar

A big reason why fall is a good time to hold the public portion of your stewardship campaign is related to that school/program year idea. You want to launch a stewardship campaign when you will have the most people around to be in church and hear about it. Summer—when kids are out of school and families take vacation—is obviously not a great time for that. Winter, between the weather and the holidays, is also not necessarily a consistent high-attendance time of year. That leaves spring (February through May) and fall (September through November) as the best seasons for talking about financing and launching your stewardship campaign.

Taking the Time

It’s also important to recognize that a full stewardship campaign takes four to six months to complete. The first portion is about preparation and planning for the “big pitch.” The “public” portion—when you’re talking about it in church—is usually six to twelve weeks of that time. This is when it’s really important to have people in the pews, listening to you talk about the vision God gave you for ministry; and how the new church building or renovation project and its financing  will have to happen to make that vision a reality. All that talk leads up to Pledge Day, when the people in your congregation will be asked to make their pledge toward your church vision for ministry.

Looking at the Bigger Financing Picture

When it comes to the fulfillment of those pledges, most churches choose a three-year timeframe. This means that people have three years to fulfill their pledge commitment, often giving on a regular basis—monthly, quarterly, annually—during that time. You can expect to raise about one to two times your annual operating budget over the course of a three-year capital campaign. However, that number depends upon the hiring of a professional capital stewardship campaign consultant. Churches that run a capital campaign by themselves typically bring in about 50% less money.

Bringing in the Professionals

This is why we recommend that churches bring in professional church financing consultants, the same way that we recommend you use our services for your church building project. People who do this work for a living understand how to do it effectively.  These professionals also bring the most current strategies and methods with them for reaching people in the modern culture of giving.  If you would like to talk directly with a capital campaign consultant that has a good track record; you can find the ones we know of by clicking here. And while you’re on our website, take a moment to sign up for our free i3 webinar series so you don’t miss any of our recommendations about church financing, church building and remodeling, and other important topics.

2015-09-16T10:48:24+00:00 September 16th, 2015|Church Design, Stewardship, Uncategorized|