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Stephen Lee, Founder  |  678.896.9296  |  steve@catalystfaithworks.com  |  

Communication Basics for a Church Capital Campaign

By Bo Gray

Internal Considerations

Please consider the communication issues in the following three scenarios.

Scenario One

Your church has embarked on a vision for ministry whose implementation is going to cost at least two to three times its annual budget. As a result, the leadership team wants to introduce the idea of a formal capital fundraising campaign, but it first wants to check the “pulse” of the congregation for such a venture. If the people like the idea, the leadership will move forward with their plans.

Scenario Two

The pastor had grown tired of hearing the youth minister “ask” about space needs, so in a fit of frustration one morning, the youth minister was instructed to “go figure it out yourself.” Now, two months later the pastor walks into the church board room and is greeted by charts, diagrams, renderings and detailed plans for a three-year church capital campaign.

Scenario Three

The governing board of your church barely meets twice a year and you as “Executive Director” cannot seem to get them to understand the disconnect between a capital fund and general operating expenses. So you invite a capital campaign consultant to your next meeting. The consultant’s appearance crashes like the proverbial lead balloon.

Cut! Stop! Rewind!
After reading the three scenarios above, your friends at Catalyst Faithworks hope you are able to see one of the most basic communication needs for church capital campaigns.

Clear communication at the leadership level

Please note, we did not say that “clear leadership communication” was the most basic of element, only “one” of them. In genuine Christian ministry, there is no debate that the most basic communication need comes from the top … the highest heavens where Almighty God sits enthroned in majesty!

All visions, dreams, hopes and directions must be initiated by the Lord. However, once you are convinced the Lord has prompted you toward a capital campaign, then you must make sure your leadership team is crystal clear on the details. In other words, clear communication among leadership is paramount before you share anything with your congregation.

 

"Clarity of what works is an ethical imperative."

Michael Novak, Theologian, author, and former U.S. ambassador

 

One basic communication model identifies three parts: Sender, Receiver and Message. Catalyst Faithworks would amend the model and insist that a fourth element be included. We believe communication is not successful unless the “message” is communicated in the exact manner intended by the sender for the particular receiver.

You can easily see from our three scenarios that something was lacking in each. Call it fuzzy vision, misinterpretation, garbled dialogue or low expectations; the “message” was not successfully received in the exact manner communicated by the sender.

We are reminded of the scene from the The Silver Chair in the Chronicles of Narnia series when the hard-of-hearing dwarf, the Lord Trumpkin, mistakenly believes the children are all “killed” after being introduced to the girl named “Jill.” Although there was a sender (Eustace Scrubb) and receiver (Lord Trumpkin) and a message (“her name is Jill”) .. the message was garbled, hence not communicated in the exact manner intended. In the narrative, this communication delay coupled with other events led to almost disastrous circumstances for the main characters.

In church capital campaign communications, it is vital that the vision and its needs for the particular organization be clearly understood by those in leadership first and foremost. Until it is, and there is agreement, any ideas or plans should go no further!

 

“Give to us clear vision that we may know where to stand and what to stand for.”

Peter Marshall, Chaplain to the U. S. Senate

 

So, long before any consultants are hired, or architects and builders are retained, or any related matter is made public, church leadership must be clear among itself:

  1. What is the Lord’s direction for the church?
  2. How does a capital campaign connect with the overall vision for ministry?
  3. Who will this decision affect?
  4. Why do we believe a capital campaign is the right solution?
  5. When is the best time to begin?
  6. Where will our detractors find their ammunition?

Naturally, there will be many other related questions to be considered before church leadership boards the ship on a capital campaign journey. Yet it should not attempt to leave the harbor without agreement and commitment among itself.


External Considerations

How Catalyst Faithworks can help.

If you were to ask anyone who has done a stewardship campaign: “What was one of the hardest parts of managing your capital campaign?” The answer will almost always be – “Communications!

If you were to ask the same person: “What was one of the most important parts of managing a successful capital campaign?” The answer will almost always be – “Communications!

Catalyst Faithworks understands that you need to create a memorable and effective campaign. It is imperative that your campaign communicates your story and your vision with both excellence and impact. Also, you must understand that a potent, quality communications package includes oversight of the printing process and video components.

Thankfully, Catalyst Faithworks has simplified the process to make it both fun and efficient for you to manage a communications campaign that exceeds what you have envisioned!

In Part Two of COMMUNICATION BASICS FOR A CHURCH CAPITAL CAMPAIGN, we ask you to please ponder the following external considerations and learn how to make your communications a hit!

First, you need to Determine Your Church Culture. This is crucial to help your team (and us) better understand your congregation, since they are your target for the communications. Ysour answers to the following questions will help us guide you in choosing from the various design options. Remember, overall consistency is the goal!


Questions for Consideration

(Answer each question with a simple YES or NO)

  1. Do you have an updated mission statement that the leadership clearly articulates to all attendees on a regular basis?
  2. Does discipleship and community time occur primarily on Sundays (i.e. Sunday School)?
  3. Do you regularly send out professionally designed mailers to the community that promote & invite?
  4. Is the Sunday morning worship assisted by a robed choir?
  5. Does the Sunday morning experience include PowerPoint or video on large screens during singing and teaching?
  6. Do you have a relevant logo & tag line created primarily with the outside community’s reception in mind?
  7. Does the sanctuary consist of pews, hymnals, and a pulpit?
  8. Is drama ever a part of the overall Sunday Worship/Teaching experience?
  9. Does the music on Sunday morning include a contemporary band?
  10. Has a demographic study of your geographic area been done? (people groups, income, lifestyle, values, religious prefs., etc.)

You might create more questions along the same lines, but as you can see it is essential that you and your team share a consistent understanding of your church’s vision and philosophy of ministry.

Next, we will ask you to develop your Campaign Title This “title” should carry the big picture theologically and/or strategically and/or emotionally. One church wanted to raise funds to equip and update interior educational space for a building constructed during a previous capital campaign: “Beyond the Open Door.” Another church combined its missional mentality with a call for unity: Growing and Going Together. Your campaign theme must be clear, concise, and full of meaning, so that your people recognize, remember and repeat.

Your Campaign Logo will follow and it should be tied graphically and artistically with your overall theme, but it must also connect with the congregation.  The logo must be developed to resonate emotionally and be on target with the majority of members. We recommend you’re your capital campaign logo be distinct from your existing church logo. However, while the campaign logo look should be distinct, care must be taken not to vary from the expectations of your church culture. For example, The First Church of Ageless Tradition which meets in 220-year-old building listed on the National Registry of Historical Places would not likely use a skateboard or MP3 player in its logo. Remember, too, text logos can be just as effective as image-based logos.

As suggested in our previous article on “Communication Basics,” it is vital that congregational leadership rally behind the Logo and Title! Overall consistency is the goal.

From this point, your Campaign Design Items must be enough in number to build momentum and keep continual "top of mind" awareness. Campaign Design items should be consistent in colors, design, style of images, verbiage and paper ...with your campaign logo always included.

The experts at Catalyst Faithworks will help keep your copy clear, concise and compelling. Written text must communicate, but not overload, or it will not be read!

The Catalyst Faithworks design team will incorporate graphic devices such as pull-out quotes, verses, thoughts, et cetera, so your audience will read and then be drawn into the heavier copy areas. Another popular technique is the use of testimonials from your own people. Such are not only believable, but will powerfully reflect on the past, connect with the present, and envision a favorable future!

What about Oversight in the Printing Process? Does anyone on your campaign team feel competent in selecting ink colors or understand the bottom line costs of printing? The variations in today’s world of print and computer-operated presses are overwhelming. Catalyst Faithworks works with you to make sure your choices are appropriate for you and your church. We understand the print business so that your options of price and quality will remain in an acceptable variance.

We want to help you to obtain a great response on time and in budget! We have an established relationship with Catalyst Print Communications that will help you stay on deadline with each deliverable to the congregation, and maintain "top of mind" awareness! You must build consistent momentum.

Video/multimedia can also be a very effective complement to your print pieces. This is not inexpensive, as you know, but can have great impact. Many consultants recommend a Short Video, a Main Celebration Video and a Closer Video. As always, it is important to be consistent in look (colors, design, style of images, and verbiage). Medius Video Productions is our recommended source for “high-end” video.

In summary, stewardship communications through CATALYST FAITHWORKS has huge benefits, because:

  1. We are a Christian-based company dedicated to focusing only on biblical stewardship communications and proven, timeless principles! We exist to assist you in your stewardship journey with an understanding that our communications will be a support to the means of grace that come through prayer and faith.
  2. We offer FREE consulting to help you all the way...and with high-speed connections, design proofing and file transfers are easy!
  3. Stewardship communication is our specialty! Our process of using “visual-resources” and our design concepts are industry-leading!
  4. Our one-stop-shop design and print capabilities ensure quality and speed–and free your staff and members for top-priority tasks!
  5. Our professional quality digital designs are created using industry-standard Adobe software, which mean less worries at the printing stage! Please understand that Microsoft Word and Microsoft Publisher are NOT high-end programs and they bring considerable risk when the files are being created for actual offset printing.

Want to learn more?

Please contact us at Catalyst Faithworks because:

  1. Capital campaigns like yours are our specialty! Our design packages are tailor-made to your specific capital campaign approach!
  2. We have templated campaign design samples to view via e-mail or our website so that most of the design guesswork is eliminated!
  3. With today’s faster internet connections, viewing and approving our designs on your monitor is so easy it’s like we are on site!
  4. We offer both design and printing services to simplify your job as well as to free your staff and volunteers for other priority tasks!

Our approach to developing church capital stewardship materials...puts you in the director’s chair.

With your direction, we’ll develop campaign communications that resonate deeply with your congregation to build top-of-mind awareness and excitement. We will deliver superior design, printing, and video services for consistent and timely delivery of each campaign communication element. Unlike most general church marketing and design firms, our church capital campaign materials and stewardship fundraising packages focus solely on church campaign communications. Let us not only save you time, but also help you multiply your valuable people resources. We’ve worked with many churches across the country from denominational and non-denominational backgrounds (see our client list), and we consider every church campaign unique. Along with hiring a consultant, an architectural firm, and church builder, we’ll be one of the best partners you can enlist to maximize your campaign.



Bo Gray, Catalyst copywriter
A former account manager for CATALYST FAITHWORKS, Gray brings a wealth of leadership experience that includes 20 years in the marketing communications field, and another 20+ years in pastoral ministry. He holds a Bachelor of Science (B. S.) degree from the University of Florida and a Master of Divinity (M. Div.) from Trinity Evangelical Divinity School. Happily married since 1980, he and his wife are parents to six children. 



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Stephen Lee, Founder  |  678.896.9296  |