You've identified that your church is in need of a capital campaign. And you've realized how much work it would be to pull that off on your own. So you're looking at firms to consider hiring. Below is a selection of questions to help guide your request for proposal and interview process when deciding upon a fundraising firm.
Before you begin, it is best to get suggestions of church fundraising consultants from trusted colleagues (we know some folks who would recommend us) and/or your local diocesan or regional leadership office. We recommend that you interview 3-4 firms and pick the one that best meet your parish/congregation needs.
History & Approach
- Tell us a little about your firm and its general approach to capital campaigns.
- How does the firm define the success of a campaign?
- In your experience, what are the keys to a successful campaign?
- What are potential roadblocks to successful campaign?
- How do you integrate basic principles of stewardship into the capital campaign process?
- How will the consultant get to know our congregation?
Feasibility Study Process
- What is the value of doing a feasibility study prior to the campaign? Is this something you recommend?
- What are the components to your feasibility study?
- After completing a feasibility study, have you ever told a church not to do a campaign and what were the circumstances?
Capital Campaign Process
- How would you start a campaign process for us?
- How is your standard methodology adapted to accommodate the unique qualities of our congregation?
- Should we decide to use your firm, what will your service package provide?
- How do you integrate scripture, reflection and prayer into the program?
- How will the invitation to give be presented to the congregation?
- How many church members will be needed to work on the campaign? How are they recruited?
- What kind of follow-up work will you provide after commitment Sunday? What does it look like? How long to you continue to work with us? Is there an additional cost for follow-up work?
- How many different consultants will we be working with you?
- How often will the consultant be on site? How will they be available when they are not on site?
- Will we have the opportunity to interview our consultant before deciding whether to use your firm?
- Ask for a lot of details about previous campaigns conducted by the firm. If the president is making the sales pitch and can’t provide specific information about previous campaigns, chances are the president wasn’t deeply involved in campaigns. Keep this in mind when the president does the sales presentation and promises to be "deeply involved" in your campaign.
- Tell about your experience with working with churches like ours, in our size of community and with our type of population.
- Based on your experience, what do you foresee as challenges for us?
- Has the firm worked with churches with similar staffing? How much additional time will this add to our pastor(s) work load(s)? Will we need to secure any additional staff during the time of the campaign?
- It's okay to ask about failed campaigns, but don’t expect a firm to "spill its guts" about past failures (and every firm has campaigns that don’t make goal). Evaluate how the presenter responds to the question – and what work they did outside the original contract to help a struggling organization.
- Can you provide a list of references from the past two years – three successful congregational campaigns and one failure and their campaign financial goals.
- What is your fee structure? Are expenses included in the fee? What is the payment schedule?
- Are there other costs to the congregation that we need in our budget that are not part of the fees and expenses paid to the firm?
- How much can we reasonably expect to raise through our campaign?
For more tips and a step by step guide to see what goes into running a capital campaign project at your parish/church, download our free ebook, Stewardship Based Church Capital Campaigns. Church Development president, Denis Greene, CFRE, shared his success, failure, and research-based best practices from over 25 years in the field of stewardship ministry and fundraising.