Sunday, April 09, 2017

Seminary PL40: Fundraising and Capital Campaigns

This is the ninth post on church administration in my "Seminary in a Nutshell" series. In this series, I first did a section on the Person and Calling of a Minister. Now this is the fortieth post in a section on the Pastor as a Leader (see at the bottom).

The previous post looked at giving in the Bible. This post is about fundraising and capital campaigns.
1. Gary McIntosh and Charles Arn suggest that there are five reasons why people give to a church:
  • to pay the bills
  • to further missions
  • to support education
  • to help those in need
  • to build something
The oldest generation, those born before 1945, are the ones most likely to give toward paying the bills. Older congregations still often also have a strong (overseas) missions emphasis and often sponsor specific missionary families. Specific individuals and families often have a special burden for this kind of giving.

If I continue this series and do a series on mission, we can discuss this rapidly changing area of the church. Much overseas church planting is increasingly done either by those of the same ethnicity as the country of planting or by missionaries from the two-thirds world, who are now increasingly coming as missionaries to North America as well. Rapidly diminishing are the days when mission work had a not so faint overtone of unintended colonialism.

So, in the future, the second and fourth reasons for giving will likely be folded together into one bucket, something along the lines of "outreach." But of course if you are in a "missions"church, then keeping the two separate makes more sense.

2. People give for specific purposes far more than they give just to give. McIntosh and Arn suggest that giving for each bucket doesn't tend to take away too much from the giving for other buckets (207). If a person has a passion for missions, then they are going to give to missions. If you have a building fund offering, it probably isn't going to take too much away from their giving to missions.

Their point is that balancing the different kinds of giving opportunities will tend to increase the overall giving more than to diminish the giving in a particular area. Let people give in the area of their passion! Trying to move a person from their passion to another area is not likely to be fully successful. [1]

3. It is good for a church to pursue projects associated with its giving over time. If your church hasn't had a major vision project in the last 10 years, perhaps it's time to have one. It could be a project for something in the community. It could be a project overseas. It could be a project to plant a church. It could be a project to raise up ministers. It could be a building or renovation project.

Of course many churches struggle year over year simply to stay open. That's a challenge again for a series on mission. As far as finances are concerned, McIntosh and Arn suggest that "A church needs a minimum of twenty-five giving units to be financially stable and independent" (211). They define a giving unit as an individual, group, or family that gives 10% of its income to the church.

4. Building projects are probably the most notorious reason for having a "capital" campaign, a season in which you are trying to raise a large amount of money. Studies show that churches that hire a professional to lead the campaign tend to raise about 50% or more of the amount that they would raise on their own. However, a smaller church is not likely to have the resources or the desire to do this.

There are, however, firms that specialize in church fundraising of this sort: national firms, regional firms, local firms, and denominational resources (214).

McIntosh and Arn suggest that all good fundraising campaigns have the following elements (214-15):
  • participation (Give everyone something to do.)
  • clear timing (a beginning, a middle, and an end)
  • giving (everyone's gift counts)
  • information (do people know what's going on)
  • a clear goal (when will we have arrived?)
  • enthusiasm and celebration
5. A church shouldn't take on an indebtedness for such a campaign that is more than 2.5 times its normal yearly undesignated income. The first phase of a capital campaign thus might aim at raising the amount of money that gets you below that threshhold of indebtedness.

McIntosh and Arn give the following example. Say your annual undesignated income is $500,000. Then the church shouldn't borrow more than 1.25 million dollars. So if you want to enter a building project of two million dollars, you will need to raise 0.75 million ($750,000) that is not borrowed. That would make a good first phase of a building project, getting down to the amount that you need to borrow.

Over a three year period, a church can raise the amount of its yearly income over and above its normal income. Perhaps that's a good deadline for the second, middle phase of a campaign.
6. A church often has key givers who are able to contribute more to a building project. Such individuals often are more than happy to be part of such projects. If they are approached individually, they will give much more than if they are simply part of a general petition to everyone.

I heard of a building project campaign that was within a couple million of reaching its goal. The pastor, given the awkwardness, was tempted to make a generic pitch for the last two million from the pulpit. But he was strongly counseled to go personally to the homes of some key givers in the church and to challenge them.

They gave, and now when the pastor made the final push he only had to raise about 500,000, which the church easily reached. Individuals who know about such things said the church would have never reached the two million if he had only made a generic pitch from the pulpit.

7. A pastor inevitably uses up "influence capital" when she leads a capital campaign. But it is part of the responsibility of being a lead pastor. The pastor I mentioned above knew for a couple years that the church needed to build a new facility before he finally was willing to spend his influence on it. It is usually much more pleasant to focus on preaching the word. But occasionally a leader has to embody the spirit.

Next Week: Pastor as Leader 41: Communications

[1] I also take this from Terry Munday's, It's Not About the Monday: How to Tap into God-Given Generosity.

Leadership in General
Strategic Planning
Church Management
Conflict Management
Church Administration

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