How do I know we are ready for a Capital Campaign? It’s a fundamental question often asked.  The answer is arrived at by listening well.   By listening, I mean listening to the conversations that are swirling around the proposed project… listening to the nature of the questions that are percolating among the members. And as you listen, categorize the questions you hear into two camps… WHY questions, and HOW questions.

Simply put, if many people are asking WHY question, you are not ready for a Capital Campaign.  Why questions sound like this…

  • Why is the proposed project necessary?
  • Why can’t we live with what we have?
  • Why can’t we use the funds we raise for a different purpose… like outreach?
  • Why are we focused on what we “want” instead of what we “need”?

Don’t expect people who are asking WHY questions to financially support a Capital Campaign. Their heart is not in it… neither will their money.

What about HOW questions? HOW questions are normal and expected, especially during the early stages of project planning.  HOW questions are asked by those who are beyond the WHY questions.  HOW questions are asked by those who are energized by the vision of the proposed project, but in a practical way wonder how the project may be possible….

  • How can we afford such a costly project?
  • How can we accomplish the project without incurring stifling debt?
  • How can we make sure we are funding our ministries even as we take on a Capital Campaign?
  • How can we make sure we take on a project that we can truly afford?

Amidst the HOW questions, you can go forward with a Capital Campaign. Throughout the project planning process, it is important to assure your members that the HOW questions will be addressed before final project approval is given.  Conducting a Capital Campaign is an important step forward in answering the HOW questions.   Once you know the financial support of your members, you will be that much closer to knowing what you can truly afford.

We can teach you practical steps you can take to listen to your members prior to a Capital Campaign.

If you have questions and would like to talk further about the Capital Campaign Process, don’t hesitate to contact us at

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