Are you thinking about the possibility of a significant building project for your congregation or non-profit? Just the thought of such a project can seem undaunting… and full of questions. What is the proper sequence of planning steps? Is the donor community ready to support such a project? What can we afford to build? How can we make sure we don’t get in over our heads?

Listed below is the 10-Step Building Process. Following this process will keep you on track, answer your pressing questions along the way, and lead you to a successful, affordable, building project. 

Step 1: Explore a Building Program
Through visioning and strategic planning, the community explores a building program and establishes a planning committee.

Step 2: Choose Consultants
The planning committee chooses (1) an architect to complete a needs assessment and building analysis and (2) a fundraising consultant to begin thinking of fundraising potential.

Step 3: Prepare Building and Financing Options
The planning committee and the architect develop a preliminary plan with various building concepts and their associated costs. The planning committee prepares a preliminary financing plan, including the proposed capital campaign.

Step 4: Inform the Community, Receive Input, and Test their Support
This step is sometimes referred to as a Feasibility Study. An informational mailing outlines the vision, shares the preliminary building plans, and outlines potential funding. A survey is attached to receive input and test their support. Dialogue sessions are held to answer questions and receive additional feedback. The goal throughout is to build awareness and consensus among the community, as well as listen to, and address concerns that arise.

Step 5: The First Decision
Based on the feedback received from the community in the prior step, the governing body votes to proceed with the capital campaign.

Step 6: Conduct Capital Campaign
The campaign goal is to secure initial cash gifts and multi-year financial commitments.

Step 7: The Second Decision
Now that the capital campaign results are known, and borrowing potential is determined, the governing body votes to approve a budget for the building program. Working drawings are then developed and construction bids are received.

Step 8: The Third Decision
The governing body votes to: (1) accept the construction bids, (2) begin construction, (3) borrow funds, if needed.

Step 9: Begin Construction
A construction loan is secured, and construction begins. The mortgage is finalized after construction is completed.

Step 10: Pay the Mortgage
The most common sources for meeting the mortgage payments after the initial capital campaign is to conduct a multi-year debt retirement campaign.

Let us know if we can help you navigate this 10-Step Building Process!

Fred Stoltz, Sr. Program Director
The James Company
(414) 690-3426
Email: fstoltz@jamescompany.com