When embarking on a major fundraising effort, you will face a number of difficult questions and decisions. None may be bigger than this: Where do we begin?
Simply put, the planning stages of successful capital campaigns can begin long before you make a call to a fundraising consulting firm or launch the campaign with your congregation. A good capital campaign consultant will want to be part of your planning process, but we also know we do our best work when we partner with you at the right time. That “right time” for your organization usually means after you have completed the following steps:
1. Strategic plan
Work with your leadership team to construct a strategic plan, that focuses on your mission and financial goals. This planning process helps you determine where you are and where you are going as a church.
Although the vision of your leadership team is important, it is also key to identify what is important to your constituents. This will help guide your decision-making process. Before you begin asking for money, you must have an idea of how a potential capital campaign fits into your strategic plan.
Again, it’s not just your leadership team you should be hearing from. Your members and donors will be the ones who determine the success or failure of your campaign, and their input is important as well. Doing this on the front-end will give them a sense of ownership for the campaign, and that will build needed momentum.
Email surveys and in-person interviews are great avenues for feedback. You might also consider hosting town hall style meetings that will allow your constituents an open forum to discuss the proposed direction of your organization. Have a strong moderator and stick to a specific agenda so that order is maintained and all topics are covered. The goal is to collect feedback and input, so be sure to create questions that will spark dialogue.
3. SWOT analysis
Determining how strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, and threats impact your organization will direct you to your next steps. Often a SWOT analysis leads you to seek a capital campaign management firm. Sometimes this internal and external analysis can reveal that more steps need to be taken before considering outside counsel.
If you think your organization is ready to move forward, but you aren’t sure if you have enough pieces in place, contact the Steier Group and we can help you work through the critical first steps. These steps will put your organization in prime position to run an effective feasibility study and a successful capital campaign.
I encourage you to contact me if you have any questions regarding best practices and the professional services of the Steier Group.