DickersonBakker Blog

When You Wish You Had a Reset Button — 5 Common Mistakes Churches Make in Conducting Capital Campaigns: Mistake #5

Sooner or later every church faces the need to raise money for facilities–whether to expand, renovate, or repair. Church campaigns are complex, and it is important you get it right the first time.

In our previous post(s) we talked about the importance of making sure your campaign is on solid ground with your congregation, understanding why it is important to engage major donors early-on in the processmaking a solid plan and executing it without a hitch & ways to prayerfully follow through with the work once started. 

Let’s pick back up with our series & find out the final, common mistake churches can make during their capital campaigns:   

Mistake #5: Lack of follow-up

Reaching the commitment goal for your campaign is cause to celebrate, but it doesn’t mean your work is done. The plain fact of the matter is that you can’t spend pledges — you need to make sure you are turning those pledges into cash. Too many campaign teams celebrate and call the job done right after Celebration Sunday. In truth, that is only the beginning — a capital campaign is not complete until the last pledge is collected, and that can take years. Many a church has found themselves in hard times because they spent, borrowed money on a building, assuming that the cash would come in as pledges were fulfilled based on the outcome of a campaign, only to discover down the road that they only actually received two thirds to one half of the amount pledged.

We are often asked what percentage of pledges a church should reasonably expect to receive in cash. If you neglect to follow-up with a strong fulfillment plan, you should expect to collect only two-thirds or less. But done right, you can collect over 100%! I know what you are thinking: “How can you collect OVER 100%?” The answer is new money. We have seen many of our clients collect over 100% of their pledge totals. By “keeping the campaign alive” through the entire pledge fulfillment period, new money from new members will offset shortfalls from those whose situations change, or who leave the church. But this money doesn’t raise itself — you need a planned and deliberate approach to doing so, and it must be handled in an appropriate time and in an appropriate way.

A lot can happen in the two to four years between when you launch your campaign and when your members make their last pledge payment. It’s a big mistake to assume everyone will remember their commitments. Without a follow-up plan in place commitments will fade and you will come up significantly short on cash. For a capital campaign to succeed in the long run, you must finish strong.

Whether you are looking to raise money for expansion, renovation, debt reduction, missions, or any other purpose, a successful capital campaign can help your church take a substantial leap forward in the fulfillment of its God-given ministry. Truth is, a capital campaign is probably one of the most complex initiatives that your church will undertake. With so much at stake, most churches wisely choose to retain a capital campaign consulting firm to help avoid these types of mistakes and to guide their church capital campaign through to a successful completion.

Don’t wish for a reset button! Let our team of professionals expertly guide you through the process of conducting a successful campaign for your church. Contact us today for information.

Back to blog