The Three Phases of a Successful Capital Campaign

Posted on October 15, 2018

We’ve got two words for you… capital campaign. You know what we’re talking about, right? That clearly defined season at your parish that’s designated to raise money for a specific ministry.

Those two words probably evoke one of two reactions from you as a parish leader or staff member:

  1. You’re excited about the possibility.
  2. You’re overwhelmed with dread.

Honestly, we understand both!

No matter how you feel about capital campaigns, here’s the truth: they’re probably a necessary part of life at your parish.

Creating a calendar for raising money at your parish is huge!

Think about it…

  • For starters, without a designated and organized effort, it’s hard to gain momentum.
  • Next, people understand campaigns. They recognize that campaigns have both a start and end date. In other words, parishioners know that your parish is asking for money specifically for this season.
  • Campaigns allow your parish to increase its focus and energy around your parish budget for a short period of time.

So whether you’re raising money for a specific fund, vision, building expansion, staff hire, or new ministry, we want to help make your capital campaigns both simple and successful. To do that, walk with us through the three phases of a great capital campaign,

Phase One: Before

Before you talk about the capital campaign with your parish, there are several steps you should take ahead of time.

Clarify the goal. Make sure your goal for the campaign is clear before you start. The goal is typically the financial number you want to reach. Make sure you clearly identify it. Be realistic, but also choose an amount that will challenge your parish and stretch your faith.

Write out your plan. There are so many details that go into running a successful capital campaign. Once you launch your campaign, however, your attention needs to be on your people, not your details! That’s why writing out your plan before you start will help you stay focused. Sit down with your team and craft the plan for your entire campaign—events, announcements, signs, sermons, social media, special stories, etc. Map them out ahead of time and write them down.

Create your calendar. Once you write down the details, schedule them. Create a calendar for every part of your plan—every social media post, email blast, announcement, sermon, etc. This will hopefully guide you through the campaign and answer the question, “What do we need to work on next?”

Do the prep work. Now it’s time to actually do some work! All the stuff you mapped out and scheduled…now it’s time to do it! Create social media posts that can be shared later. Write out letters and emails ahead of time. Stuff like this is tedious, but the more you do on the front end, the less stress you’ll feel once the campaign begins.

Rally your team. A capital campaign is about raising money for your parish, but it’s ultimately about the life and mission of your ministry (and the heart behind whatever you’re raising money for!) Take time before you launch the campaign to rally your team around that vision. Get them excited about their part in helping your parish reach its goal.

Phase Two: During

Once you’ve done the prep work, its game time! Your capital campaign can’t run itself!

Here are a few things to keep in mind as you launch…

Cast vision. It’s key that you cast vision about the campaign. We’re not just talking about the financial goal. We’re talking about why.

  • Why the funds are critical for the mission of your parish?
  • How is the parish’s financial generosity connected to life change?

People love to rally around vision, so make sure you reiterate it throughout the campaign!

Promote. Let people know about your capital campaign.

  • Share it on social media.
  • Talk about it during your worship service.
  • Send emails and letters.
  • Put printed materials around the parish and in the bulletin.

Make sure you think through promotional ideas when you’re mapping out your campaign plan and calendar.

Share your progress. As you continue to emphasize the financial goal you’re trying to reach, continue to update people on how close you’re getting. Celebrate big momentum and small milestones that are reached along the way. Continually thank people for supporting the vision behind the campaign.

Connect it to people. In conjunction with casting a vision for your campaign, a great way to get people emotionally invested is to connect it to real human beings. Make it tangible to your parish by sharing stories of people who will actually be impacted by the funds. Whether it’s a school, charity, family, missionary, or something else, find ways to talk about real people.

For example:

  • Ask someone to send an email explaining their situation or what they do. Read excerpts to the parish at Sunday mass.
  • Show pictures.
  • Have someone record a short video and send it to you. Play it for your parishioners on Sunday morning.
  • Do a live interview. For example, if you’re raising money to expand your children’s ministry area, interview an outgoing kid who loves being in your children’s ministry each week.

Phase Three: After

It’s easy to think the work is done when a capital campaign ends. After all, it was a lot of work!

However, you’re not done quite yet. There are a few things you need to do, not only for the sake of this campaign but to help you set up future ones to succeed!

Share your success. You asked for a lot from both your core team and, of course, your donors. Don’t forget to celebrate the progress that was made, and don’t forget to acknowledge the sacrifice that so many people made.

    • Talk about it during your announcements Sunday mornings.
    • Send an email to everyone who gave.
    • Maybe share it on social media.

If you have the margin, you may even want to dedicate an entire Sunday service to celebrate the success of your campaign and thank God for what He’s doing in the life of your parish.

Share stories. You’ll be surprised at how God moves in the hearts of people throughout your capital campaign. Share stories of how people were impacted by stepping up and being generous. And if possible, share stories of how people were impacted by that generosity.

Sharing a story on both sides of the process—a giver and a receiver—is such an effective way to demonstrate the power of generosity!

Show your gratitude. If you get ONE thing out of this blog post, make sure you thank your people over and over again. Do it privately. Do it publicly. Do it through every avenue you possibly can. Remember, your parish gave up something up to give to your parish. That’s a big deal!

You can’t possibly express all of the gratitude you need to by yourself. So utilize your team to help you write notes, send emails and letters, make calls, etc. Not only is this a great demonstration of humility and appreciation to your donors, but it’s also a great way to get them involved in your next capital campaign!

Next Steps:

Part of a capital campaign is getting your parishioners to actually give. And, as a parish, it helps to make it as easy as possible for people with online giving.

Take a few minutes to see just how easy this can be with ParishSOFT Giving. Register now for your free demo or contact ParishSOFT Sales at 866-930-4774 x6 to learn how ParishSOFT Giving can make your next capital campaign a success!

One thought on “The Three Phases of a Successful Capital Campaign

  1. Nice post. I used to be checking constantly this blog and I’m inspired!

    Extremely helpful information particularly the closing phase 🙂 I maintain such info a lot.
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