Nowadays, we hear a lot about ‘the new normal.’
The question many people are asking right now is, “Why would I conduct a capital fundraising campaign during a time of pandemic?”
It’s a good question, but an even better answer is, “Why wouldn’t you?”
Today, our work is needed more than ever in the communities we serve. The old paradigm used to be ‘Build it and they will come.’ To be honest, Disciples Church Extension Fund (DCEF) never agreed with this paradigm. You have to know what your church’s mission is and part of that is knowing what matters to the community you serve. This is the foundation of your plan. Until you know how you should be using your space to effectively carry out your church’s mission, your fundraising efforts will not bear fruit, now or even in pre-coronavirus times. As advised in John 15:2 (NIV),
“He cuts off every branch in me that bears no fruit, while every branch that does bear fruit he prunes so that it will be even more fruitful.”
Before I fully answer the question, ‘Should we do a capital fundraising campaign during this time,’ let me share a personal story. My husband and I are in the middle of a home renovation and the first couple of things our contractors asked us were, “What is your plan for the space and why do you want to have this in this area?”
My initial thoughts were that I wanted my home to be modern and to look good. I really had no specific ‘why’ as a reason. So, even though it sounded good to have a state-of-the-art space with the most modern accoutrements, it probably wouldn’t have worked. Without the foundation for a plan on how our space would be used, what we’d intended to do probably wouldn’t have been functional for our family or for our future as empty nesters. The purpose of this story is to illustrate that we all need to have a plan that equals our vision.
In short, YES, you should do a capital fundraising campaign during this time if the following things are true:
- You can identify your new mission and vision with the new situation.
- You can name the capital needs that are essential to helping your church meet your community’s needs.
- You are planning for every space in your building to be functional, flexible, and to serve multiple purposes.
- You can match your capital needs with your program needs.
- You intend to invest in ways to make your building safer (e.g. touchless doors and faucets).
- You have thoroughly considered what outreach will look like in your space.
- You are adjusting how you deliver your worship message to be more digital, with online services and the ability to donate through your website or an app like Givelify or Tithe.ly.
- You consistently communicate your ‘why’ and why the gifts of your donors matter so much.
- Lake Institute on Faith and Giving explains it best. In brief, for congregations to receive gifts during a capital fundraising campaign, the prevailing mindset must shift from left-side thinking to right-side thinking.
People like giving to a cause that makes them feel good and lets them know that their donations will have a positive impact. COVID-19 has now given us permission to do things differently.
I close with this quote from one of my Christian Church (Disciples of Christ) Center for Faith and Giving colleagues, the Rev. Dr. Bruce Barkhauer:
“The building now gives us the opportunity to make good stewardship decisions about an asset that helps carry out our call.”
To see how DCEF can help you conduct a successful capital fundraising campaign, click here.
With nearly two decades of experience in business banking, commercial lending, investment management and client service, Belinda King leads the DCEF Advisors team. Besides working directly with congregations in her assigned zones, she relates to Regional Ministers, other Disciples of Christ ministers, denominational Bishops, and a host of church partners. Belinda holds a Bachelor of Science in Public Administration & Labor Relations from Indiana University and an MBA from Indiana Wesleyan. She also holds the FINRA Series 6 and 63 licenses. Belinda resides in Fishers, IN with her husband, Rod, and their children Brittany, Gregory and Kyra.
For 137 years, DCEF has offered mission-driven building and capital planning services to congregations and organizations of the Christian Church (Disciples of Christ). Together with our investors and partners, we are Disciples helping Disciples.