Director's Blog

Will cynicism kill your capital campaign?

I read today -- and I don't know if this is true -- that construction on an average new church building costs about $6,000,000. That's for 9,000 square feet, seating 288 people and a parking lot for 72 cars. 

That's a lot of money! And based on my experience with church capital campaigns (I did the marketing for a few of them when I was in that business), it can be pretty difficult to raise those funds. Aside from the fact that people tend to be strapped for cash, church building projects tend to tap into a reservoir of cynicism that can cause people's wallets to snap shut and go into hiding.

"Do we really need a new building? Are there better things we could be doing with this money? Should we really be spending millions on fancy buildings and expensive sound equipment when there are people starving to death all over the world?" 

I've heard all of those before, and I'm guessing most pastors have too.

And wait -- full stop -- before I go any further, I should say that I'm not here to criticize churches for building things. On the contrary, I'd like to *help* churches raise those funds. And, perhaps, help orphaned kids in the process.

What if every church embarking on a capital campaign took proactive steps to inoculate themselves against cynicism and enthusiasm-sapping congregational self doubt by building into every fundraising project for themselves a gift for orphaned kids?

Think about it. It costs an organization like Asia's Hope around $75,000 to build a beautiful new home for 25 orphaned children. That's an unthinkable amount of money to a poor child in, say, Phnom Penh, Cambodia. But that's really nothing in church construction costs.

I mean, when putting up a new building, most churches will make $75,000 decisions about carpet. Or AV equipment. Maybe even signage.

What if that $6 million campaign became a $6.1 million campaign, and what if pastors and elders added a new home for orphans into their plans for a new home for their congregation? If church members knew that the money they were giving was also transforming a community of orphaned kids half way around the world, they might be a lot less likely to dismiss the overall campaign as frivolous or unnecessary. 

If you're a leader in a church that's thinking of embarking on a capital campaign in the next few years, I'd love to talk with you about how we can work together to help Asia's Hope provide homes for orphaned kids and help your church raise the funds you need to build or expand your facilities.

If you attend a church that's doing a feasibility study or starting a capital campaign, ask your leaders to contact me. I think this just might work.

Email me or call me at 614.804.6233.