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

The Right Outside Communications Can Help Your Church's Capital Campaign Come to Life

By Stephen Lee

It’s become a truism for churches: You’re either growing or dying. There is no in-between. And fewer milestones are more significant for a church’s life than raising capital to accomplish growth – a new sanctuary, new youth facility, new nursery. Maybe it’s land for construction or purchasing a new worship item like a pipe organ. The list is endless, but all signify growth and momentum.

Good stewardship begins with understanding God’s mission for your church and then planning and acting to accomplish that mission. But many churches face severe challenges in planning and acting quickly to help further that mission. There simply are not enough resources. There may not be members with the expertise to carry out a long-term capital campaign alone. It may be difficult for a congregation to look objectively at what needs to be accomplished. And, finally, it may be difficult for church leaders to move their congregation to action.

Volunteers can get bogged down and burned out serving in other capacities. As a result, the communications process can get bogged down or off track.

That’s where outside expertise can help. Although a church may spend money initially to hire a communications firm, it receives much needed benefits. A clear vision articulately expressed. Consistency. Frequency. Professionalism. Timeliness – one of the most critical elements for success in a fund raising campaign. Finally, a professional communications firm will make sure each communication item is planned for proper release to motivate and educate the congregation.

Here are some tips for selecting and using a capital campaign communications firm to energize your capital campaign growth.

  • Choose a church campaign communications firm that understands the uniqueness of the mission of faith-based organizations. Asking some basic questions about their background, who they’ve helped before. More particularly, is church capital campaigns their main niche? A quick survey of their capital campaign client list and total number of campaigns as well as their range of product and service offerings should tell you what you need to know. Also, references from similar organizations can quickly tell you the people most able to help you achieve your mission. Having a large and diverse church capital campaign client list often leads to a better understanding of the unique process and can bring fresh perspective with an objective ear to your vision and goals to communicate to your congregation.
  • Does the church campaign communications firm listen well? Beware of communications professionals who are constantly telling you “what to do” before listening to where you think you are and what your mission is. They should ask you questions to get the right solutions to your growth challenges? They should engage you with printed and online visual options that stimulate thought and ideas for your team that helps them envision your desired end. They should help you and your team articulate the desired end result so that you know that they understand and will produce what will be just right for your church ? If not, keep looking.
  • Look for a church campaign communications firm that understands the marketing communications process of creating top-of-mind awarness and enthusiam that is built around a centralized theme and message that tells a compelling story. Do they have a roadmap to guide you through every step of conceptualizing and rolling out a capital commuications campaign? Are they able to do campaigns with consistent themes that shine through in all their materials? If you have trouble getting the message from their materials, then your congregation will have trouble, too.
  • Choose a church campaign communications firm who can offer your church campaign team the whole range of creative options from: 1) design, copy, print and video services that lead to very high-end, uniquely custom communications campaign (high-impact) as well as  2) design, copy, print and video services that yield a semi-custom communications campaign that starts from a pre-designed template that your church can then quickly customize at a more affordable price. Either approach can be what is needed. Good stewardship means investing the “right amount” that will maximize your congregation’s potential to give.
  • Look for a church campaign communications firm with expertise in a broad range of media. For example, can they produce not only outstanding high-impact, custom brochures, newsletters and pamphlets and more, but also can oversee and/ produce custom video, DVDs and web sites? Do they exhibit a talent for reaching all generations of the family – not just kids, teens, married couples or senior citizens? A good communications partner will understand your total audience and be able to create communications for all of them.
  • Choose a church campaign communications firm that exhibits a talent for helping bring together a vision among the pastor and key church leaders? That is a true talent in and of itself. Because the vision starts at the top. First with God, then through leaders he picks to accomplish His tasks. The pastor and the leadership must be encouraged to work together to help communicate the “vision.” For, as stated in Proverbs, “Without a vision, the people perish.”  Good people skills from your chosen firm’s account director(s) on the front end of the communications process is worth its weight in gold!
  • Finally, choose a church campaign communications firm with a sound understanding of biblical stewardship principles and has years helping others in the same area? And a capital growth campaign can help congregations dig deeper to rekindle a commitment to God’s vision. It’s a unique perspective. Many people want to give, they just don’t know how or what the priorities are. Stewardship in the form of capital campaigns can help motivate the heart and help grow an overall stewadrship culture that leads to more faithful giving for years after the campaign. Your outside communications partner must be fully attuned to this reality and be prepared to guide you every step of the way

The popular movie Field of Dreams made famous the line, “If you build it, they will come.” But the reality is, before you build it, you must have a communications investment plan. Good outside counsel can help you plan and communicate a capital campaign that will galvanize your congregation to give until the mission is complete and God is glorified.

Stephen Lee is the founder of Catalyst Faithworks, an Atlanta-based company dedicated to providing church capital campaigns, annual stewardship campaigns, debt relief campaigns and more to help church leaders tell their story, vision and challenges in an effort maximize fundraising pledges. His company also serves Christian private schools and para-church ministries. He brings more than 22 years of experience, from church branding and community outreach efforts to capital campaigns.

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Stephen Lee, Founder  |  678.896.9296  |