The Importance of Follow Up – Part II

Initiatives // March 21, 2010

In the previous post we explored the first three considerations for achieving strong results during the giving phase of your capital initiative. I refer to this giving period as Campaign Enhancement (CE).

Here are the next three considerations:

4. Setting Expectations

What percentage of commitments should you expect to receive? A church receives approximately 85% of the dollars committed in a three-year capital initiative. That stat assumes the church was led through their effort by professional campaign counsel. (I am blessed that my personal clients average 95% of dollars committed.)

Church lenders tell us that churches who “go it alone” by conducting their own campaign will receive 75% or less of what is pledged, with some coming in as low as 50%! Engaging counsel? Insist on consultant assistance during CE!

5. Monitoring Results

Once commitments are known and the total result tabulated, a projection worksheet should be prepared that calculates expected monthly receipts. Do not divide the dollars committed by the number of months in the giving phase! This will not produce an accurate projection. Instead, start with the monthly average, and then factor in weighting for each month of the year.

As occurs with general giving, you will have months (usually summer) when giving is lighter, and others (late fall through end of the year) when giving is stronger. The total projection should equal 90% of the commitment total.

6. Consistent Communication

This may be the most critical and difficult to achieve. Your constituency views their commitment as an investment in your ministry. They want to know that they have made a wise investment that iss making a difference. They do not want to be embarrassed by supporting an effort that might fail. It is vital that continuous updates be provided throughout the entire CE phase to keep your donors fully informed about the project and the campaign.

As in all church communication, it must be offered frequently (almost redundantly) through every channel that your church uses to provide information to the congregation. This would include (but is not limited to):

• Worship folder

•Church and special edition newsletters

•Electronic newsletter and/or email blasts

•Social Media

•Platform announcements – at least once per quarter – (fifth Sundays in every month where they appear are great triggers to remember as update Sundays)

Updates should include:

•Progress reports from the building committee

•Updates on campaign giving – including performance vs. projection (see #5 above)

•Individual updates by quarterly giving statement

•Ministry impact

•Success stories – let those who are “all in” share their excitement for the project and what it will mean to the future ministry of the church. Allow them to encourage others to join in if they haven’t been participating, while cheering on those who are participating to “continue the good work.”

In the next post we’ll review considerations seven through ten.

Until then…

About Rusty Lewis

As a church leader, there’s nothing more frustrating than not having the funding to do what God’s calling you to do. But when you think about trying to address that problem, you feel overwhelmed, you dread the potential pushback from your congregation, and you’re not sure where to turn for help. Over the last 18 years, I’ve helped more than 120 churches close the gap between their current financial reality and what they need to move forward in ministry.

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