Church Communications resources and tips from Justin Dean

3 Common Mistakes in Church Capital Campaigns & How to Avoid Them

Unfortunately, there are no shortcuts to an effective church capital campaign. However, there are simple ways to avoid typical pitfalls to ensure your church is set up for success. 

Whether your church is planning a capital campaign soon, you’re gearing up to write your capital campaign’s landing page, or you’re in the middle a campaign right now, you can sidestep these three critical errors: 

Ignoring Storytelling

No matter how old, people love stories. If you’ve got little ones in your life, you’ve been asked to tell a story a time or two. 

Author Jonathan Gottschall puts it this way: “Even when the body goes to sleep, the mind stays up all night, telling itself stories.” 

It is key to remember the power of storytelling when you undertake your church’s capital campaign. 

Include practical elements such as the amount of money needed, how it will be used, and when the project will take place. But don’t miss incorporating pictures and videos in your initial presentation and in updates. Even a simple video shot on a phone can draw attention and leave a lasting visual memory the way numbers simply cannot. 

Paint pictures with your words, too. Don’t just share the need, but share the vision. For example, explain how this new building will be filled with children learning about God for the first time. Words have power and creating an image through what you say will drive connection.

Focusing on Numbers

Numbers are important, but numbers in context are even more valuable. 

If you say, “We raised $1,000 yesterday,” that won’t mean much. But it’s exciting if you tell me “We raised $1,000 yesterday” when I know you were only $1,500 away from your goal. 

Don’t just update numbers. Show progress. 

While you may want to use the tried and true method of a giant cardboard thermometer with the established goal at the top, technology now allows you to create  a visual to auto-update your campaign’s progress. Your congregation can watch in real-time as gifts come in, creating a feeling that they are a part of the process. There are various online giving platforms available to help.

Overlooking Roadblocks to Giving

You might have perfectly planned and executed every step of your giving campaign; however, if the pathways to giving are blocked . . . your campaign won’t be as effective. It is essential to have a direct link to your giving campaign fund. 

Embed it on your campaign landing page and include it in all emails and newsletters so donors don’t have to sort through a dropdown of several different funds before contributing. 

Then, ask yourself these two important questions:

  • Is it easy for people to give right away, as soon as they hear about the campaign?
  • Is it easy for people to give over time, weeks and months after the campaign starts? 

Some people will want to give right when an opportunity presents itself — before they even walk out the church doors or leave the live stream service.

A tangible  option for in-person services to encourage generosity is creating a giving kiosk. People still have a hands-on experience similar to a traditional offering plate but without the necessity of carrying around cash or checks. This way, there is little room for excuses to not contribute. Kiosks are available for setup through online giving platforms. 

For in-person or online services, make sure you’ve set up mobile giving and texting to give. Most people will already have a phone in hand or within reach. Take advantage of that!

For online services, allow people to give from the same place they’re watching. For example, if you stream services from your website, add a giving button.

Whether your goals seem large or small, your ministry matters to your congregation, your community, and the world. By making your capital campaign message simple, choosing tangible projects, giving people ways to take action, and setting reachable goals, you’ll be in a great position to help your givers see the importance and value of your campaign.

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