Church Lenders Directory

Raising Maximum Dollars
Expert Tips to Maximize Your Capital Campaign: Part 1

by William C. Leathem and Ken Batts 

Church stewardship committees have several excitements and concerns about capital stewardship. The most pressing is the anxiety of securing adequate funds.

Evaluating the church’s statistical data can assist the campaign consultant and church leaders in making a reasonably accurate guess of pledge totals, but no consultant can really tell the committee how much money will be raised. The best they can do is position a church to raise maximum dollars — a goal that involves both a campaign foundation and campaign activities.

This month, we’ll discuss the foundation. And keep an eye out for the April issue, when we’ll move on to campaign activities.

The Campaign Foundation
Raising maximum dollars begins with a firm foundation, which consists of:

1. Clear Vision. Who are we trying to reach? What church ministries/activities will appeal most to those we’re trying to reach? Which ministries are core vs. supportive? How well do church families understand and own the vision?

2. Trusted Leadership. People want to trust leaders. They want to know that what they’re told will happen, will. It’s very important that existing church leaders — both staff and volunteer — have proven themselves trustworthy. It’s instrumental that they examine the project’s costs, needs and purposes. Church families need to feel confident their leaders are God-directed in their efforts.

3. Project Supports the Vision. An explanation of how the project will help the church maintain and develop ministry is valuable in positioning families to make financial commitments. There might be times when an explanation is necessary as to why this particular project has been selected when another needed building seems to be more popular.

4. Accurate Cost Estimation. As families are asked to make financial commitments in support of the project, they’ll find it hard to do so if church leaders are unclear about the actual costs. While there might be common project expenses that can’t be anticipated during the planning phase, church families will sense — if not hear from others — when the project committee didn’t do all of its financial homework. Trusted leaders demonstrate proper due diligence and demonstrate stewardship responsibility through planning.

5. The Right Consultant. The right consultant is one who understands the church’s personality and methodology, and then designs the campaign to reflect both.

The right consultant designs campaign activities in cooperation with church leaders and also maintains the partnership relationship with the church during the intensive campaign process, as well as in the long term — commonly a three-year giving period.

Finally, remember: In all your capital campaign planning and activities, you must seek God’s direct involvement. As you create an environment in which He can work in peoples’ lives, families will experience an affirming unity through the campaign activities and an exciting success of a collective effort — and you’ll raise maximum dollars. Ultimately, it all advances God’s Kingdom. C. Leathem is the national director of capital stewardship services for Strongtower Stewardship ( He joined the firm six years ago, after 21 years in church ministry as an ordained pastor. Reach him by calling 800.333.9893 ext. 174 or by e-mail at
Ken Batts is a senior consultant with 20 years experience in church stewardship and finance. Contact him by phone at 800.333.9893 ext. 503 or via e-mail at