The nonprofit sector and congregations have weathered some significant upheaval over the past few years, the most recent being the COVID-19 pandemic. Alongside the pandemic, economic uncertainty and troubling political and social events have also taken their toll.

If you are considering delaying a capital campaign because you think it’s just not a good time to raise money, consider the following. Our experience and a recent study shows that it is possible to confidently move forward with a capital campaign despite what is going on in the world.

In a recent study conducted by Capital Campaign Pro, it was found that 73% of nonprofit organizations did not put their campaigns on hold during the pandemic. Also, 87% of nonprofit organizations did not put their campaigns on hold due to economic uncertainty or recession fears between 2020 and 2022. This proved to be true in our own experience with campaigns during this time period, as well. In fact, The James Company has seen this play out over and over again in our 35 year history. Whether it’s 2001, 2008, or 2020, donors in general respond to trying times with incredible generosity.

Even through tumultuous times, congregational and nonprofit work are still important priorities for people. For many donors, these factors only make the work of their nonprofit or congregation even more critical! I had a person say to me during the pandemic that, “I will support our capital campaign because it is a joy and is encouraging to know our church is moving forward with ministry in spite of the world being shut down…it is a sign of hope.”

To be successful no matter the landscape you’re conducting your campaign in, keep these things in mind:

  • Demonstrate a compelling need for your campaign using effective storytelling and communication strategies;
  • Test the case with your donors and stakeholders;
  • Ensure your board members and leaders are committed to seeing the campaign through;
  • Develop relationships with your donors;
  • Make a thorough plan and stick to it (but don’t be afraid to pivot, if needed)

When your congregation or nonprofit is prepared, you can still be confident you’ll cross the capital campaign finish line. And if you decide to pause because of world events, good luck finding a time when there is no real-world turbulence happening!

John V. Clark, President/Partner
The James Company
Phone: (815) 353-8997
Email: jclark@jamescompany.com