Letter from a Happy Church Leader
The author of the unsolicited letter below also volunteered to serve as a reference. We encourage you to contact him. Click here to read more testimonials.
Open Letter from an Impressed Capital Campaign Worker
April 4, 2008
To Whom It May Concern:
Late last year I was in a position likely similar to yours. I was part of a committee tasked to determine if, for the first time in Mt. Hope Baptist Church’s 108-year history, we wanted to hire an outside consultant to help us run the capital campaign for our new building. And, assuming that the answer was affirmative, we were to recommend a specific consultant.
Like almost all consultants and firms we interviewed, Dr. Rod Rogers had an impressive stack of recommendations from pastors, organization heads and CEO’s who had previously contracted his services. I remember thinking at the time, “All of these letters are great, but the people I’d really like to hear from are the “worker bees,” the folks responsible for the day-to-day details of these capital campaigns, and the ones who worked with the consultant directly. I promised myself at that time that if we did in fact hire an outside consultant who impressed me, I’d write one of these “worker bee” letters myself.
As you can likely infer at this point, we did hire Dr. Rod Rogers. And, to quote a reference of his that I called during the vetting process, “I wasn’t impressed by Rod’s work….I was blown away.”
What first caught my attention during our interview with Rod Rogers was not his answers, but his questions. While we interviewed a number of strong candidates, if our experience was any indication, the capital development field has a much higher population of talkers than listeners. I would describe our interviews with him more as “conversations,” rather than the question/answer, question/answer format that these meetings often take.
In fact, I asked Rod directly at one point, “When you are speaking in front of a congregation or a group of potential donors, how would you describe your tone?” His answer was essentially,
“Conversational, just as we are talking right now.” Three weeks later, when he spoke in front of our congregation for the first time, his conversational tone, not to mention his dry wit, went over beautifully.
Despite the image that many people have of Baptist churches, ours is quite the opposite, and any shouting, or manic calls for an immediate commitment, would have spurred a stampede for the exits. In fact, during the business meeting when we voted the funding to hire Rod, one of the members said straight-out that he wanted assurance that there would be no home visits or high-pressure tactics. Coincidentally or not, after hearing Rod’s first talk, the same member who had expressed this concern was one of the first to invite Rod into his home to discuss the campaign further.
Rod used a phrase called “relational giving,” to describe his philosophy. In short, it means that while some people would indeed give out of obligation or social pressure, the long-term givers with the most generous gifts are usually those who feel most personally invested in the program. By the time we kicked off the campaign, more than 75 percent of the adult membership had volunteered for at least one committee, a higher participation rate than we have ever experienced for anything.
One concern we did have was that fundraising for the building fund might “cannibalize” the weekly collection, which funds our operating expenses. Rod shared that, in his experience, the regular donations actually increase during a well-coordinated capital campaign because so many more people feel invested in the organization. Six months later, that is exactly what we have experienced.
Inevitably with a search process like this one, several strong candidates emerge, and then it becomes a matter of personality and the most comfortable fit. While I wouldn’t presume to tell another church or organization who or what would be the best fit for them, I can say unequivocally that I was confident in Rod Rogers’ abilities when I signed the recommendation to hire him, and that confidence only grew exponentially as we worked together.
I wish you the best of luck with whatever decision you make for the next step in your fundraising program and invite you to contact me if you have any specific questions regarding our experience with Dr. Rod Rogers.
Sincerely,Christopher P. Nicholson 24 Cinnamon Court Sterling, VA 20164 703-478-3389 firstname.lastname@example.org Contact Christopher to learn what it's like to work with Rod Rogers in a church capital campaign.