When you hear the word campaign, you probably think of a capital campaign to raise money for a new building or fund a new project.

Capital Campaigns are a great way to raise a significant amount of resources for a significant opportunity or project.  If you’re in need of one, don’t try to figure it out on your own.  It’s worth 10x the investment to get some proven help.

Capital campaigns work because the entire leadership is involved in planning, the schedule is typically clear and clutter-free, and there an intentional communication plan.

Because the opportunity is great, the leadership team tends to focus on the finances.  The ministries work together.  And there’s a consistent message.

But there are three other campaigns you should run.

They don’t involve money, but they do require intentional planning and communication. And, they can make just as big a difference over the long-term.

#1 – A Volunteer Campaign

Purpose

Sign up a bunch of new volunteers quickly.  Churches of all shapes and sizes need volunteers.  But instead of recruiting all year long, the whole church, including every ministry and every department, can make it a top priority.

Timing

90 days, including time to plan, a key event and necessary follow up. You could run a volunteer campaign in the fall in order to have new volunteers serving in January.  Or you could run it before the summer months in order to get volunteers in place by a fall kickoff.

Best Practices

To make this work, make sure you incorporate the following elements:

  • Keep the calendar in sync. You can’t run a successful church-wide volunteer campaign if you’re also promoting other things.  Every ministry needs to be involved, and every ministry needs to clear communication space.
  • Drip, drop and follow up. Let people know what’s coming.  Then spend one or two weeks giving this maximum stage or pulpit time.  And follow up with an intentional strategy to provide next steps to those that engage and first steps to those that don’t.
  • Talk about the benefits of serving, not just the needs.  Most people in the church know the nursery has volunteer needs.  But step inside the mind of a busy person.  Why should they serve?  What’s in it for them.  At first, it seems like a superficial exercise, but the more you can tell stories and communicate benefits, the more people will engage.

Resource: Recruit Volunteers Fast.  This resource has coaching you can watch with your staff or team, tons of documents and templates to make your campaign run smooth, and a detailed, 90-day checklist you can follow.

 A Small Group Campaign

Purpose

Just like you need volunteers to serve, you probably want to connect people into groups or classes to help them grow in their faith.  No matter your strategy or system, a short-term campaign to kick off a new season or groups can help you connect people quick.

Timing

90 days, including time to recruit leaders, a kickoff event key and all the necessary follow up. January and September are great times to start new groups or classes, as the start of a new year or the beginning of a new school year is a time when people dive back into relationships.

Best Practices

If you want your small group sign-up campaign to work well, make sure you do these things:

  • Keep the calendar in sync. You can’t run a successful church-wide small group campaign if you’re trying to raise money, fill the food pantry, and recruit volunteers.  If you want people in groups, make it a sole, church-wide focus for a set period of time.
  • Use a kickoff event.  Some pastors preach a sermon or two on Biblical community and ask people to sign up on the spot.  Others organize an event like GroupLink, which is sort of like speed-dating for groups.  The key is to prime the pump but then go big.
  • Provide one simple next step.  Try a “starter group” or find a way to ease people into a new group.  Make sure your on-ramp is appropriate for new people and introverts.
  • Talk about the benefits of getting in a group.  Sure, it’s a great place to study the Bible and grow in your faith.  And yes, many people desire that.  But don’t forget the seemingly superficial reasons someone should join a group, despite being busy: friendships.  What other short-term and long-term benefits will people experience when they join a group.

Resource: How NorthPoint Gets So Many Adults in Small Groups. This case study is a part of the Church Fuel One Resource Library.  We went behind the scenes of the process North Point uses every year to connect adults into small groups.

 3. A Series Outreach Campaign

Purpose

Hopefully, it’s always appropriate for people to invite their friends to church. But once a year, make it super easy by providing extra tools and planning a series of Sundays laser-focused on reaching new people.

Timing

90 days, including preparing your congregation to invite, plus a focused time of outreach, advertising and inviting.  The weeks surrounding Easter, as well as a month in the fall is a great time for a campaign like this.

Best Practices

To make this work, make sure you incorporate the following elements:

  • Think about the series before the series. Prepare your church for what’s coming by talking about mission, vision, evangelism or purpose. Lead your church to prayer for the community and spiritual preparation for what’s to come.  During this time, lead them to identify people they want to invite and get ready to equip them with tools.
  • Get everyone involved.  Just like the other campaigns, you’ll want to get all ministries and departments involved and have a single focus.  It’s counter productive to lead the church on an outreach campaign if the children’s ministry is focusing on world missions and the women’s ministry is planning their discipleship groups.
  • Advertise and reach out.  Advertising can be spiritual if done for an eternal purpose, so as you transition from preparing the church to invite to actually inviting the community, try some new advertising methods.  Use email, direct mail, door-hangers, social media, press releases, content marketing, banners, and anything else you can think of to invite your community to church.
  • Plan a series of messages for the community, not just the church.  Your preparation should lead to a series of messages (it could also be one big day or one big event) planned with the public in mind.  Choose your topic wisely and work hard to engage those who don’t normally attend your church.

Resource: The Series Arch. This resource combines coaching and resources to help you plan and pull off a campaign like this.  You can watch the coaching with your team, but you’ll also find message notes, graphics and advertising assets to help you execute your plan.  This resource is included in the Church Fuel One membership program.

So What's Next?

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