Mark Brooks

2 Reasons Capital Campaigns Are Doomed

I have spent over 20 years in the stewardship field and I see 2 reasons capital campaigns are doomed. This is one of the major reasons I founded Acts 17 Generosity. Because I knew that had to be a better way!

Let me tell you about it for free by hitting the Red Button on the opening page. Then we can talk.

For now back to the 2 reasons capital campaigns are doomed. They are doomed because of…

Spontaneous Giving

Roughly one-third of Gen Z (35%) and Millennial (32%) practicing Christians characterizes their recent giving as completely spontaneous.”  That is what a recent Barna study uncovered. 

I believe this will be one of our greatest challenges in the coming years as we strive to be fully funded in our churches.  I know that is a bold statement given all that we face.  But think about it…

1/3 of the future giving of your church could be left up to the spontaneous!

I shared with my clients how to manage this! Click the Red Button to find out more.

Spontaneous giving will make traditional Capital Campaigns a thing of the past.  Why?  The typical campaign is set for a year to three years.  It’s a planned giving approach.  I pledge to give your church X amount over and above my regular giving for that time period.  I plan out what I will give.  If a 1/3 of your younger members responds spontaneously to giving, do you think they will readily sign your three year or even one year pledge card? 

They might give to your “campaign” but it will be spontaneous.  Spontaneous givers always give less than planned givers.  Churches will finally “get” this as they continue to see amounts pledged in capital campaigns decline sharply.

Here is reason #2 of why capital campaigns are doomed…

The Decline of the Baby Boomer

Capital campaigns peaked right before The Great Recession of 2008 and have never recovered.  They never will.  Why?  Because Baby Boomers, the largest donor group in America by dollar amount given, is at the end of their careers and thus their top earning.  Soon the Rock N Roll generation will be living on fixed incomes. 

Having watched their parents worry about outliving their retirement, you can expect a hesitancy about giving away much of their precious nest egg.  The great unknown for Baby Boomers is how much unexpected health care costs will their aging bodies cost them?  Then there is the whole solvency worries about Social Security.  Boomer giving leaders in multiple churches have been pointing this out to me this for the last five years.  Then they tell me they will be pledging less to the next campaign.

Add to this that 1/3 of practicing Christian Gen Z and Millennials, the future of the church, give spontaneously not planned and you can see the challenge we have when it comes to raising capital dollars.  The Church has about a five year window left before the decline in giving picks up speed downwardly.  What does this mean for your church?

Move NOW on any major capital project or risk being unable to fund that project.  My mantra for the last few years has been, build now what you need and work now to pay off what you have built.  We have a challenging future ahead of us and we need to make hay while the sun is shining.

My goal is to lead my clients to stop holding capital campaigns by 2025.  I long ago jettisoned the 20th century “traditional” campaign model that most firms use.  Baby Boomer retirement and spontaneous giving by younger generations is already changing the landscape of generosity.  We need 21st century thinking.  Any campaign firm that isn’t thinking like this isn’t thinking!

Are you ready to position yourself for the future when capital campaigns are no longer with us? Go back to the home page and click the red button and let’s get you started with a free 30 minute consult with me.

Mark Brooks – America’s Stewardship Coach