Part Two of Three
The Power of Faith and Planning
Fundraising is one way congregations secure the funds needed to bring their vision to life. We met Willis White when he served as co-chair for his church's $3.5 million campaign. He shares his reflections to help those considering their own campaign. Motivation, prayer, faith and teamwork were key to his experience.
"Our campaign leadership committee had to stay motivated and we had to motivate the congregation. We had awareness Sunday on the first Sunday of each month where we reported on the progress of the campaign. People would rally around; it reminded people the campaign was going on, and motivated them to participate. Our strength came from faith and prayer. We were always amazed by the success we would have from month-to-month. We were making payments of $50,000 a quarter for debt service during difficult economic times; that was amazing.
Faith, prayer and planning are at the core of the advice he offers to church leaders who are considering a campaign. "Number one: be prayerful. You will be successful because of your faith. But make sure you give God all the glory for your success. Number two: work from a plan. Number three: consider a co-chair approach. It gave us continuity and constant leadership. When something came up for one person there was always a co-chair there who knew what was going on and could keep things going. We used that approach with the tribes as well. This is helpful because in a church there are usually a small number of people who do much of the work. Having a co-chair took some of the pressure off of the leaders and created support. In our church there is always the same group of individuals who volunteer to serve in the auxiliaries, and the co-chair approach shared the leadership responsibilities.
We asked how he sustained his commitment throughout the campaign. "Faith. It was always exciting and always rewarding to be able to raise money and to make $50,000 payments towards our debt. We wouldn't know in the beginning of the quarter where the money would come from and to see the money appear in time to make the payment was very motivating. We felt the Lord blessed us every quarter to make these payments. It increased the faith of our membership – people continued to be amazed about what we as membership could do. We knew that continuous work and continuous prayer would make us successful.
Fellowship was an unexpected benefit. "We had an executive committee throughout the campaign and these were people I didn't necessarily have fellowship with before. Our meetings and dinners brought us closer together. We found out there were talents and leadership within the church that we weren't aware of before and this has served the church beyond the campaign.
© 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.]