“How difficult can it be? We can do this ourselves!” “Their capital campaign was successful…why don’t we just copy what they did?” “We can buy the land next door so let’s just raise our campaign goal to pay for it?” “Let’s just ask him for $1 million. I know he has it and we need it.”

 As capital campaign consultants that have worked with hundreds of churches and nonprofits over many years, we have heard these words and others like them. And that’s when we know the nonprofit or church is headed for trouble with its capital campaign. It is an indication of one or more of the deadly sins of capital campaigns.

 The 7 Deadly Sins of Capital Campaigns have been around since the beginning of capital campaigns…and we have been warned about them for just as long. Maybe you have been involved in a capital campaign and been “tempted” by one of these deadly sins. Perhaps you are contemplating a capital campaign and want to know the “temptations” to avoid.

 For the next 7 weeks of Lent, I am going to introduce you to (or remind you of!) the 7 deadly sins. The list includes: Envy; Gluttony; Lust; Greed; Anger; Sloth; and Pride.

 #1 Deadly Sin – “Why can’t we just copy what they did?”

 This is no one way to approach a capital campaign. What worked somewhere else will most likely be a wrong approach for your situation. Scope of project, current yearly gift amounts, number of potential donors that you already have a relationship with, as well as leadership and volunteer availability, are just a few of the variables that need to be considered. Successful capital campaigns are not cookie-cutter programs or bought in a box.

 To find the right approach for your church or nonprofit, a well-organized planning process that includes a campaign feasibility study is the first step (sometimes referred to as a campaign readiness assessment). This will help design a capital campaign that is right for your church or organization, including the development of a case-for-support, timeline, organizational structure, financial goals, and number of leadership/volunteers needed, to name just a few.

 Follow us next week when we visit #2 Deadly Sin – Gluttony

John V. Clark, President/Partner
The James Company
(815) 353-8997

Email: jclark@jamescompany.com