Church Capital Campaign Communications 101

1/28/19 12:39 PM / by Denis Greene

Just as important as the purpose of your capital campaign is the methodical communication your vision. This is one of the tasks in which you need to put on your business cap and start thinking about your project like a communications professional would. The key word: marketing.

Millions of companies are competing every day for the attention of your church members over social media. And thousands of non-profit organizations are running the fundraising race to get their hands on your members' hard-earned and limited dollars. Bear with me for a little math. In 2017, Americans gave $410 billion dollars to non-profits. The largest share (32% or $131 billion) went to religious institutions - that leaves $279 billion to other non-profits. Charity Watch and Charity Navigator consider effective non-profit fundraising to bring in $100 for every $25-$35 spent. Using the low end benchmark as an average:

Nonprofit fundraising spent

Even if your stewardship or finance committee believes the need for the upcoming building project, renovations/repairs, ministry funding, etc. at your church to be obvious, this won't be the case for most of the people who sit in the pews on Sunday. You are competing again the local zoo's campaign showcasing the face of the adorable baby panda just born. You have better develop a good plan to make the case that supporting your church's vision is just as (albeit more?!) important and urgent as the baby animals (not knocking the zoo, and I love pandas).

The point of this is not to create an us vs. them mentality or to criticize non-profits, clearly they do a lot of good. The point is to be realistic about the fact that every day people are faced with tough decisions about what causes they are going to support with their limited resources. People make values-based decisions and are often surprisingly emotional in setting their priorities. Denis Greene explains the research backing this claim:


The Wisdom of a Nobel Prize Behavioral Economist

The BEST communication strategy is what Denis described, increase engagement with church members through:

  1. Involving them in the decision-making
  2. Creating social connections within the church
  3. Asking them to get involved as a volunteer (preferably in one-time opportunities)
  4. And asking people to make a decision based in prayer - not a marketing or sales proposition

With those things in mind you can move forward with figuring out how you are going to communicate the need and value of your project to the community. That's where marketing does come into the picture. Choose a slogan and logo for your campaign that helps to communicate the message. Produce high quality, professionally designed brochures, flyers, email communications, newsletters, social media posts, banners, and pledge cards to get the word out about what an exciting time it is at your church. Utilize the BEST marketing principles of engaging members in this process by forming a committee to work on getting the word out about your campaign - what we call in our capital campaigns the "Communications Committee".

This committee should be made of marketing-minded church members who are excited about the project your funds are going toward and have an evangelistic spirit. A variety of people with skill sets including writers, social media posters, photographers, graphic designers, and other artistic types are great members of this committee as they can use their God-given gifts to move forward the campaign. We have a timeline and checklist for projects (brochure, newsletters, church capital campaign pledge card, etc) they'll need to think about and plan to get the word out all written down in a convenient downloadable guide to branding your church capital campaign. Click below to access the guide. church capital campaign branding communications guide


Topics: Research & Statistics, Stewardship Ministry, Capital Campaigns

Denis Greene

Written by Denis Greene

Greene began working in the nonprofit development field in 1981. He founded Church Development in 1992 after a near-death experience motivated him to integrate his faith, education and skills in work that served the church and the virtue of stewardship. He has helped over 200 churches across the USA raise more than $200,000,000. He is the author of The Stewardship System, Stewardship-Based Capital Campaigns, and How To Ask For Donations as well as numerous articles on stewardship.

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