A church capital campaign is largely about communication. Whether you are crafting communication materials, presenting testimonies or preaching, the church often misses that mark in achieving the 4 C’s – communication that is Clear, Consistent, Compelling, and Contagious.
One of the biggest problem is that all too often the language or imagery used in the campaign is too sanitary. Consider this example; instead of talking in clear terms about feeding starving people, you talk about providing nourishment to the calorie challenged. Whether this is an attempt to be politically correct, or to show how erudite you can be in your communication, it will have a negative impact on your results. Sanitizing your communications does two things, it is unclear communication and it takes the emotion out of your work, and donors give in part because you trigger an emotional response in their heart. That is why the commercials you see on TV about feeding the hungry masses in 3rd world countries show you pictures of starving women and children in the streets instead of container ships full of food. What will your money provide? Food! What do they show you? The NEED, not the accomplishment.
Your message, whether text or photos don’t show need as much as they show accomplishment. What are accomplishment photos? They’re photos of happy, smiling kids, joyful people, and beautiful buildings. What’s wrong with these, you might wonder? To the potential donor, they communicate that you don’t have a need. Showing and telling of need reinforces in your donor’s mind, the impact their sacrificial gift will make. It does not hurt to show accomplishment as well, but make sure you communicate that the accomplishment can only happen with financial support.
It is often no better behind the pulpit. So many pastors are afraid to preach on this topic in a clear and compelling manner. All too often I have witnessed really good pastors go all wobbly kneed and preach all around the subject instead of confronting it head on. They take the hard word and wrap it in so much velvet that no one in the congregation feels the impact of the Word. I am not advocating the bully pulpit, because there is no place for heavy handedness or berating in a capital campaign, nor is there any need for it. The scriptures are full of positive encouragement for biblical giving, you do not have to chase people with the Bible and hit them over the head with it when you can encouragingly lead them with it.
Part of the way we communicate need in a capital campaign is through the testimonies of those people whose lives have been impacted by the church. Showing how the church met their need is also a good way to show accomplishment and the fact the church is meeting needs – and could do even more with the financial support it is seeking. These testimonies are powerful and, like other communication, should not be so sanitized and proper in the delivery as to lose the emotional appeal. Real emotion is a powerful motivator and should not be held in check.
A capital campaign is about raising money to meet a Kingdom need, for God has promised to meet our needs. If there is a Kingdom need, there is a Kingdom provision to meet that need, a provision which is made available in the abundant grace of God poured out onto His people. This is the whole point of Paul’s discourse on giving in chapter 9 of 2 Corinthians, and it is also the basis for the Abundant Giving Capital Campaign.
People will step up to the plate to meet a need. God has provided for needs to be met. All you have to do is consistently communicate the need in a clear and compelling fashion and in a way that it will be contagious.