A capital campaign is often a once-a-generation opportunity for a congregation to come together and invest in the future. It invites members to dream big about what is possible for Unitarian Universalism in their community and in the world. Capital campaigns are usually conducted in support of a major building program, although some portion of campaign proceeds may be used as seed money for new program initiatives. A capital campaign requires a collective leap of faith on behalf of the members — in one another and in a future in which Unitarian Universalism and their congregation thrive and grow in mission and impact. Many congregations choose to conduct capital campaigns combined with their annual budget drives. This approach is not only efficient but also encourages messaging that links annual operations with long-term capital programs, ensuring that one supports the other.
Because congregations conduct capital campaigns infrequently, many engage consultants to assist in planning and execution. Stewardship For Us consultants have the expertise and experience to help you with all phases of the campaign, and we help you focus on the key factors that will lead to success. These include creating a compelling case for the building project, engaging the entire congregation and all constituencies, helping identify potential lead donors, generating and sustaining momentum and excitement, determining optimal timing and whether to combine with the annual budget drive, and planning and carrying out the campaign effectively and efficiently. In most cases, our capital campaign services follow from a successful Financial Feasibility Study which is the final step in determining readiness, likely financial capacity, and willingness to support the program.
- Realistic and effective plans that balance sustaining momentum with opportunities for congregational deliberation, involvement, decision-making, and ownership
- Campaign leadership development that fosters broad yet efficient participation, leveraging diverse talents and skills
- Sharing stories of how members of other congregations found substantial sums to commit to capital campaigns, and encouraging creative thinking to enable everyone to contribute
- Integration of a capital campaign within a larger context of long-term mission and resource planning
- Assistance with governance process and relationship to capital campaigns, addressing policy governance in all its various forms
- Follow-up support to encourage new pledges and rigorous tracking of receipts to maximize pledge fulfillment
What we Offer:
We bring you comprehensive services that guide you through the entire capital or combined campaign process from the earliest planning stages through completion of the campaign. Early work includes developing a comprehensive plan and timeline that specifies all activities, tailored to the calendar, culture, and governance structure of the congregation. The plan identifies all resource needs, including staff time, volunteers, and outside services. Our planning work is coordinated with executive, professional, and lay leadership to ensure feasibility and broad buy-in.
Once a campaign is launched, we provide tailored support as needed. Typical services include assisting with communication plans and reviewing campaign case statements and other materials; support for data management; training for the volunteers who will meet with congregants to discuss and accept their financial commitments; assistance in planning for major events. Our support is provided via a combination of site visits and off-site support using video and audio conference calls, email, and document exchange. We work with you to ensure that you get the services you need while managing travel and consulting costs.
As the campaign comes to an end, we help you make and carry out final decisions such as tailoring the building project to the funds raised, exploring financing or close-the-gap options, and setting up systems for receiving and tracking capital funds. We provide initial and follow-on support to ensure that you have solid systems and procedures in place to encourage additional pledging over the term of the campaign, from new members and from those whose financial situations improve, and to track receipts to maximize pledge fulfillment. And we help you celebrate your success!
Deluxe support, especially for large congregations — includes more intensive consulting engagement during planning and execution, including virtual attendance at all staff and committee meetings, weekly or more frequent review of pledge data, ongoing refinement of communication methods and messages in response to progress and issues, and consideration of “end-game” options including challenge and matching grants or Miracle Sundays.
Capital Campaign Consulting Reviews
Exceeded our goal
Barry Finkelstein gave our recent capital campaign a needed boost of expertise and coaching. From the initial “Next Steps Weekend” that determined our readiness to take on a major capital project to my final call over a year later that we had, in the end, exceeded our fund-raising goal, he was with us every step of the way. Now we are working with our architects on final building designs and will soon break ground, thanks to Barry’s guidance.
Bob McArthur, Chair, Building Project Steering Committee and Board of Trustees member,
Unitarian Universalist Fellowship of Athens, Athens, GA.
Worked well with leadership
“Barry is a great communicator with good experience in supporting Capital Campaigns. He has worked well with leadership and has been well received.”
George Belsey, CC Co-chair, First Universalist, Denver
Capital campaign much more successful
Our capital campaign was much richer and more successful from having your guidance.
Jamie Sharp, Capital Campaign volunteer UU Society of Iowa City, IA
Pledge increased by 50% directly after the training
Barry “helped us with the training for the capital campaign and the stewardship drive. That training actually caused a capital campaign pledge to increase by 50%, directly after the training. Barry was exceptionally well tuned into who we are and what our needs were.”
Conrad Paul, Stewardship Leader, Mountain Vista UU Congregation, Tucson, AZ