One of things I really enjoy doing is having that first phone call with a congregation or non-profit who is trying to learn more about conducting a Capital Campaign…and trying to figure out what their next steps might be. Undoubtedly, there are many questions posed from both sides of the conversation. I thought it would be helpful to share with you the top 4 topics that I feel are important to cover in this early conversation. Hopefully these topics are helpful to you early on, as you think about the possibility of a capital campaign for your congregation or non-profit. Note: The wording found in the topics below are geared for a congregation, but they can easily be adjusted to apply to a non-profit.

Topic 1: The Proposed Project(s)

  • What are the proposed projects?
  • Why are these projects important to your mission at this time?
  • If new building construction is being planned… has an architect been engaged? Have preliminary drawings been developed?
  • Are there preliminary cost estimates for the proposed project(s)?
  • Are there any expectations regarding the timeline for fundraising & project construction?

Topic 2: Congregation Profile / Financial Health

  • How many members/households comprise the congregation?
  • Is the congregation growing?
  • What is the total annual giving of the congregation?
  • Over the past few years, has congregational giving covered the congregational expenses?
  • Does the congregation have debt? If so, how much? For what purpose was the debt needed?
  • Does the congregation have an Annual Stewardship tradition, whereby members pledge their annual giving?

Topic 3: Readiness of the Congregation for a Capital Campaign

  • How has the congregation been involved in project planning to-date?
  • What has been communicated to the congregation about the proposed project(s)?
  • Has the congregation been given opportunities to share feedback about the proposed project(s)?
  • What have your learned from the congregational feedback?

Note: Oftentimes, a healthy portion of the early conversation focuses on what steps may be needed to 1) get the congregation up-to-speed, 2) provide opportunities for the congregation to provide valuable feedback, and 3) provide a way to measure the congregation’s support before launching a capital campaign.

Topic 4: Capital Campaign Goals & Project Funding Sources

  • Has the congregation conducted capital campaigns in the past? What were the outcomes?
  • Do congregational leaders, at this early stage, have a capital campaign goal in mind?
  • Does the congregation have other funding sources in mind? (e.g. Endowment funds, other congregational savings, assets that could be sold, or an openness to potential short or long-term borrowing).

Note: Oftentimes, we discuss reasonable capital campaign expectations. For example, congregations generally raise 1.5 to 3 times their annual giving in a 3-year Capital Campaign.

Give us call… we would love to “get into” these topics with you!

Fred Stoltz, Sr. Program Director
The James Company
(414) 690-3426