Part Three of Three
Advice From a Volunteer Church Fundraiser
Church fundraising requires prayer. That is at the heart of the advice offered by Willis White who served as campaign co-chair for his church's $3.5 million campaign. We asked him how he prepared for the campaign. "Continuous prayer," was his first response. "I also had agreement from my family as this was a three-year commitment that would take a lot of my time. And my family had to make a meaningful gift over-and-above our giving, if I was to ask others to do so. We gave, and the Lord rewarded us. We were very committed; we believe in a church being debt free. There is power in being debt free, and we wanted the church to be debt free. That empowered and inspired us."
White was an ideal campaign co-chair in our estimation. We asked him for his opinion on what makes a good church campaign leader. "You have to be committed and have faith in what you are doing. You need good leadership and organization; clear goals and a strategy for achieving those. The campaign should have a defined time period; and the church membership must buy-in. You need people to lead the effort that can get other people to buy-in. You have to have marketing and sales skills in order to appeal to people who can give. You need good communication skills. You have to enjoy communicating with others and feel comfortable doing so. A church campaign needs everyone's involvement; you have to be communicating to everyone about what is going on and how people can get involved.
While the campaign enjoyed success, it also faced challenges. "Prior campaigns related to our Family Life Center were not able to achieve their goals. Yet people who had given to those campaigns felt the debt had been paid off because there had been no final report at the end of the first campaign. We also had a building campaign going on, and we had to communicate the difference between the building campaign and the Family Life Center campaign. Another challenge was communicating the importance of giving beyond tithes and offerings. We needed to maintain current revenue from tithes and offerings and have people give above-and-beyond to this campaign.
"Finally, the economic climate was a big challenge. We launched during a time that was compared to an economic depression. We are located in an African American community where people were facing unemployment and foreclosure while we were asking for campaign gifts. The membership was very prayerful, they had faith, and they believed that if they gave it would be returned to them two-fold."
© Copyright Mel and Pearl Shaw.
[Mel and Pearl Shaw are the owners of Saad & Shaw. They provide fundraising counsel locally and nationwide. Visit them at www.saadandshaw.com or call (901) 522-8727.]