How to run a successful church capital campaign

March 27, 2023

Church capital campaigns are important fundraising initiatives that any church can benefit from. Often called “church building campaigns,” these efforts are popular because they help raise funds for purchasing or renovating church facilities.

Learning how to raise church capital is important because of how it can help your church thrive! This might mean buying new properties, renovating buildings, investing in new ministries, or any number of avenues for adding fuel to your mission and making more disciples.

Successfully running capital campaigns for churches involves five major steps:

We’ll explore each of these and offer advice on how to execute them successfully so your church can raise the funds it needs for its future growth. But first, let’s start with the basics.

What is a church capital campaign?

What is a church capital campaign?

Capital campaigns for churches are large-scale fundraising efforts that many churches undertake to raise money for specific projects. These fundraising campaigns offer significant financial benefits, usually take several months to coordinate, and often last from one to three years.

There are many church capital campaign themes, but these four are the most common:

  • Church renovation fund: This campaign is focused on renovating your current space with more up-to-date design features, or replacing aging systems and equipment.
  • Funds for church construction: Churches that are in need of growing space may use a capital campaign to expand their existing property or find a new location.
  • Church debt reduction: Reducing or eliminating church debt is an incredibly effective way to plan for the long-term financial health of your church!
  • Large purchases: Churches often require very expensive equipment—such as vehicles or multimedia equipment—that may need to be purchased or replaced. Capital campaigns for churches can help with these important investments!

Even if your church does not currently have a need for a capital campaign, it’s worthwhile to become familiar with how these large fundraisers work. Let’s take a deeper look at this process and what it takes to get the best results.

How to run a successful capital campaign

5 steps for running a successful capital campaign

Whether your ministry is a new church plant raising capital to get off the ground or your aging church building just needs a facelift, here are the five steps to running a successful capital campaign fundraiser.

Church capital campaign goals

1. Establish goals for your church capital campaign

The first step of your capital campaign should be to establish your goals. Larger, more expensive projects will require greater contribution levels from members, as well as time commitments from leadership.

Start by recruiting a diverse team of church leaders, board members, business professionals, and financial experts. This capital campaign team will serve as your planning committee to strengthen the decisions made and bring accountability for the project. Here are some action items for determining the size and scope of your fundraising project:

  • List and prioritize your goals
  • Identify potential risks or roadblocks
  • Weigh the pros and cons of moving forward
  • Conduct a feasibility study to prove the viability of your budget

The insights gained here will help protect your church from walking blindly into any risky financial situations!

Church capital campaign timeline

2. Develop a timeline and budget

Your capital campaign needs plenty of time to gain momentum and reach its full potential. At this stage, you'll want to determine if the project is meeting a short-term or long-term need, as well as whether it's part of a broader plan.

Using the information learned from your planning committee, establish a capital campaign budget. Your budget should be comprehensive and include a surplus fund for any surprises or emergencies.

Both your timeline and budget should be specific enough so that you can evaluate their effectiveness. Here are a few examples:

  • “We’re aiming to raise $50,000 in six months.”
  • “In order to get fresh water to the people in Somalia, we’re going to collect and send $122,000 by the end of the year to our missionaries for a new well and water filtration system.”
  • “Our church capital fundraiser will help us pay off our church debt of $1.2 million dollars within the next two years.”
Timeline for church capital campaigns

3. Create an action plan with measurable goals

In order to ensure your campaign stays on track, it's important to monitor your goals throughout each phase of your fundraising project’s timeline.

For example, during your planning phase, your action plan should include recruiting committee members, gathering potential donor lists, and writing up a case for support (a simple document to encourage people to support your fundraiser). Continue to monitor each of these activities to ensure that they are being accomplished on time.

Keeping track of goals is especially important during the kick-off phase of your campaign. Here are some sample questions to ask your capital campaign committee at each meeting:

  • Are we on track for reaching our goal?
  • What percentage of our donations came from new donors?
  • How many major donors have we contacted?
  • Which businesses and organizations have pledged to donate?
  • How many people have taken pledges?
  • Are we ready to launch the next stage of our timeline?

With this information in hand, your committee can review and revise your timeline as you move along through each stage of your campaign.

Church capital campaign engagement

4. Engage your entire congregation

It’s crucial that everyone in your church is supportive of the campaign. Spend time casting the vision to your board, church leaders, congregation, and community. Let them know this is an undertaking that will take time and effort from many people to get it off the ground successfully. Paint a mental picture of the amazing results that will come about as they help your church toward its financial goals.

Of course, not everyone in your congregation may be comfortable talking about money or asking for donations. To make this easier, consider creating capital campaign marketing materials to share with potential donors, sharing your vision behind the project and the case for support. Understand that some people may not be able to donate money but can certainly volunteer time or resources instead!

Make giving as easy as possible by ensuring that your church has an online giving solution. For example, Subsplash Giving allows your supporters to donate anytime from anywhere through your church’s website, mobile app, and text-to-give. You can create a specific campaign fund for donors to use, and your staff will save time as all donations are tracked automatically!

To see how Subsplash Giving generates real results, check out how Church of the City was able to pay off over $7 million on multiple buildings and become completely debt-free !

Major donors for church capital campaigns

5. Identify major donors & organizational partners

In order for your campaign to be successful, you'll also need to establish what type of donors are needed. The more specific you can get, the better!

This is a great time to enlist the help of individuals from your financial planning committee. Many board members, business owners, and government officials know people who are willing to make large donations to local nonprofit organizations. Ask them to share your church’s capital campaign with their network!

You can also invite other churches and businesses to participate with your church on the project. This can increase donations and provide more volunteers for construction projects. Reach out to local media outlets to spread the word about your organization’s mission and impact on your community. Be sure to include specific information about how to make donations to your campaign.

Get started on your church capital campaign

Providing your growing church with the resources it needs for effective ministry doesn’t happen overnight! Planning how to get donations for church buildings takes a lot of careful coordination, networking, volunteers, and hard work. Remember that churches around the world successfully hold church building campaigns every year, and with some strategic thinking and execution, so can yours.

Online giving solutions are powerful tools your church can use to run effective capital campaigns for churches. There's no better donations solution for churches than Subsplash Giving! For example, NorthStar Church used Subsplash Giving to pay off their debt of $2.6 million. Now they give back $30,000/month to various charities in their local community!

To find out how your church can use Subsplash Giving for capital campaigns, fundraisers, and to increase your overall donations, [.blog-contact-cta]let’s chat![.blog-contact-cta]  If you’re already leveraging the Subsplash Platform and are looking to take your giving strategies to the next level, just reach out to your Client Success Manager.


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