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Capital Campaigns from a Conference Perspective
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By Jackie Phillips
 
Many churches are looking to do capital campaigns. Not just for new buildings, but sometimes to do major upgrades or renovations in their older churches, or building additions to their churches for Sabbath School rooms or fellowship halls. Trying to figure out what to do and when to do it are always the big questions. 
 
First, contact your conference to see if there is money available for new buildings. Also, there are usually funds available from the Union if you need to borrow money to match monies your church has raised.
 
For a capital campaign, it is sometimes necessary for a church to hire a consultant to do a feasibility study, which includes internal and external interviews to see if it is financially feasible to raise the money you need for your church building or improvements. Always call PSI for a list of qualified faith-based consultants. You can then make an intelligent decision on hiring and using a consultant, and ensure your money is well spent.
 
One-on-one fundraising is always much more effective than just standing up at the platform every Sabbath or mailing out flyers with return envelopes. These are all part of the fundraising strategy but I encourage churches to set up a fundraising committee of a few confidential people that are personally giving and have a passion for the project to go out and visit every home in your church. This can not only be financially rewarding but spiritually rewarding as well. Many times, members are hurting and when someone comes to visit, it can many times be a moment during which you can minister to them.
 
It is very important to have you, the Pastor, on board and that you are personally giving to the campaign. In fact, each of the leaders and church board members should be donors and you need to have 100% participation. You must share your commitment with the church members. This shows the church that you are serious and personally invested in the campaign. When you give, it is easier to ask others to join you.
 
Many times there is a fear that if you do a capital campaign other projects in the church such as tithe might be affected. It is always valuable to educate your congregation about the importance of continuing the ministries and community projects that the church is currently doing and the value to Christians to return a faithful tithe to God even with the vision of adding a campaign to their giving. Most people won’t defer their regular giving to campaign giving.
 
When we began a capital campaign in our conference, we found many donors who not only gave large gifts to the campaign, but they actually started getting more involved in their local churches as church leaders, and some started paying tithe again and began attending church on a regular basis and are now active, vibrant, contributing members. My experience is that people give to vision. Be brave in sharing your vision and asking for their support.

Communicate, communicate, communicate. Share the vision. Share the progress. Share the passion. Share your need for their participation.
 
Thank your church members as many times as you can. Church projects are successful because church members CHOOSE to participate. So, the church should CHOOSE to thank the church members.
 
Jackie Phillips has been a fundraiser for 21 years. She has been the Capital Campaign Director for the Central California Conference since 2001. Prior to that, she was an academy fundraiser for 8 years.