How Long Does a Church Capital Campaign Take?
In most cases, the “perfect world” church capital campaign timeline (for all but the small church capital campaign) from beginning of preparation and planning until commitment Sunday, is at least five to six months. This period is used for organizing, recruiting, training, doing all the background preparation, and the 5-7 weeks of the public phase of the campaign. After this, there is a giving period of 1 to 3 years (with three years being typical). The capital campaign timeline can and will be adapted to your church’s timeline, but do not try to rush it if you can help it. You will have a much more effective capital campaign, and will cause a lot less wear and tear on your church’s leadership and capital campaign team if you allow yourself plenty of time.
A recent testimonial from one of our clients included this advice:
“If I could offer just one piece of advice, it would be to give your church plenty of time to prepare for the campaign.”
There are several aspects of a church capital campaign that benefit from more time – vision casting and donor development being among them. Shortchanging your church on the timeline does not reduce the amount of work that needs to happen, it just gives you less time to accomplish that work. A shorter timeline translates into more effort and stress for your people, and can reduce both the spiritual and financial benefits to the church.
When preparing for a church capital campaign, time is your friend. Time is a critical factor in taking your church capital campaign from good to great. Depending on the size of the church, it can take 3 to 12 months to give yourself (and the church) the time to properly prepare for and execute a capital campaign. The right timeline for your church and its unique circumstances will depend on a variety of factors. While church size is a factor in defining the timeline, other factors can also impact the time you should take to prepare for a church capital campaign.
- Church capital campaigns raise money for specific capital projects, like construction, renovation, or large capital purchases. If there is not high and across the board level of excitement, unity, and support, this would indicate the church should take more time to make the case for support.
- If the amount to be raised is at the higher end of the normal range of results or will need to be a real stretch, this would certainly be an indicator that you should take more preparation time in order to increase the odds of reaching your financial goal.
- If the church does not already have a culture of generosity and sacrificial giving, more preparation time will allow you to improve giving on a week by week basis, thereby transforming the giving patterns of your members for a lifetime, not just 3 years.
- A lack of experience at successful capital fundraising is another reason to take your time. The more time you have to spiritually and tactically equip your staff and campaign team, the more effective will be the campaign.
Time is your friend in a capital campaign because it provides:
- Time to get the right people involved.
- Time to do proper donor development.
- Time to create a culture of generosity.
- Time to do the work without burning anyone out.
- Time to make the most spiritual impact.
- Time so that your church does not fee like the capital campaign was “shoved down their throat.”
- Time to do it right as opposed to”good enough.”
Anything worth doing is worth doing right. Taking a little extra time will reap both spiritual and financial rewards.
Excellence is found in doing a lot of little things right. Having adequate time to prepare and execute your church capital campaign is one of the key quality factors that we have identified as making the difference between an excellent campaign and the “other kind.” To learn more about what separates a successful campaign from the other kind read our article on the Top 10 Success Factors in Church Capital Campaigns.