As a capital campaign coach I have to admit I’m a little biased on this one. That being said, you might be surprised to hear me say that you may or may not need a consultant for your next capital campaign. Just because a consultant can likely help you to raise more money than your church could raise on its own doesn’t automatically make it the right decision for your church.
So what are some of the determining factors?
The Amount of Money you need to Raise
You may have a finite need; a roof repair, a new boiler, resurfacing of a parking lot. Generally speaking if you need less than one fourth of your annual general fund budget you may be better off without a consultant. Although a strong argument can be made for expanding the scope of the campaign to fuel additional ministry, mission and outreach programs, sometimes you just need to raise enough dollars to meet a specific need. In such cases there is little to be gained by hiring a consultant.
The Size of Your Church
If you have regular attendance of less than one hundred people it is unlikely that a consultant will be able to influence the outcome enough to offset the fee involved. Capital campaigns are a series of God-honoring, grass-roots communication activities. With less than one hundred people to inspire, a consultant is going to have a tough time adding sufficient value to warrant the investment.
While these are good guidelines there are many exceptions. It is not uncommon to need to raise a small amount of money in the short-term but have a larger project that you need to fund following immediately after. A consultant may be able to build an integrated strategy that improves the response to both needs. A smaller congregation may not benefit financially from working with a consultant unless the ministry objective of the campaign is to fuel growth. In this case an experienced consultant may be of incalculable worth.
Like most decisions there are few absolutes. My advice, irrespective of other factors, is to talk to a number of consultants and always ask any consultant exactly how they are going to add value. This may be measured in dollars and cents or it may be in other ministry objectives but either way the manner and extent to which they will deliver value should be crystal clear. Then, like any other situation pray about the decision. As always, His peace is the ultimate confirmation of your decision.
Alan Morrison is a capital campaign consultant for Midwest Church Design & Construction. For more information about funding the design and construction of your church or Christian education facility contact him at firstname.lastname@example.org or by phone at 419-283-9050.