Mark Brooks

A Better Way to Raise Funds

The good news is that there is a better way to raise capital funds AND regular giving! Pastors and church leaders are looking for a new way to raise funds apart from the traditional two fund capital campaign process. They want a change in the way they have traditionally raised funds.

Before I explain the concept to you, let me share with you why I see this new platform for giving as a game-changer for churches.

First, let me give you a bit of historical background.  The first church building boom of the modern era began in the 1960s with the rise of the Baby Boomer generation.  Churches needed new facilities to put all those kids in.  To fund those buildings they needed to raise capital dollars.  Stewardship firms were organized to help these churches raise billions and billions of dollars in capital campaigns during this time.

Yet at the same time that firms were helping churches raise capital dollars giving to the regular budget started declining in the late 1960s.  That decline has gone unchecked down through the decades that followed.  So, while we were raising billions for buildings we were at the same time losing billions EVERY year for missions and ministry!

How could that be?  Capital campaign dollars are raised primarily by the top tiers of a church. Few firms want to tell you this, but the reality is that the few have always and will always give the majority of the dollars in any capital campaign.

In my research, I have found that on average 15% of a church’s donor base gives half of what is given annually.  In a capital campaign half that number gives half of what is pledged, and the other half gives another 30% to 40%!

The vast majority of that 15% are Baby Boomers.  Those key donors are entering daily into their retirement years and thus have a limited ability to give at the same rates as they once did.  A recent study on the shift in generational giving concluded that we have about a five-year window with this current group of donors.

If we are not raising up the next generation of donors, we are in danger of not being fully funded in the years to come much less build any new facilities.

So, what are we to do?  We need to think outside the box, and that is where a unified plan for giving comes in.  This approach is a giving plan designed for the church that desires to fund operating and capital needs in one “ask.”  The operating and capital needs are aggregated into one number, which is presented to the congregation as the funding goal over a two or three year period.

There are two major benefits of this approach:

1.  It simplifies the presentation for the church.  No longer does the church have to present operating needs and then a separate capital funds opportunity to the church.  While the church financial department still has to decide how to allocate funds as they come in, the congregation only has to focus on one number – the consolidated funding goal.

2.  It unifies the church body around one vision and one number. For some church people, giving to capital needs is not appealing.  To others, giving to operating needs is not appealing.  The unified approach is a vision-driven giving opportunity, not project-driven.  It unifies the entire church body around the vision of providing all the funding the ministry will need over a two or three year period.

The driver of a unified campaign is to make the “ask” all about the mission and vision of the church, stressing discipleship.  This is the heart of why people give, and it is the heart of any giving initiative.  By teaching the concept of disciples being generous you arrive at fulfilling the primary number one goal of a unified approach,

100% participation! The goal is to see people start giving for the first time.  To see those who are occasional givers become regular givers.  Those that are regular givers to move further up the giving ladder.  This helps you build out and increase your donor base thus, better assuring your financial future.

Does it raise funds?  Yes! Your top end donors will step up and help meet capital needs as well as operational needs in a much more excited way.  When they see an emphasis on increasing the donor base, it engages them.

Using a unified approach to giving enables you to meet capital AND operational needs at the same time!

For more information about how this innovative approach can help your church contact me today!

Mark Brooks – The Stewardship Coach