What people are REALLY asking... Will my money be used wisely if I invest it with you? Will it have a long life? Are the leaders competent money managers?
The Case for Support Think of the case for support as a well thought out ‘Prospectus’ inviting investment in the mission and ministry of the parish.
Getting started... It is the task of the parish leadership team to develop a Case for Support to answer the ‘How will you spend it’ question. That case needs to do the following: Articulate the mission of the parish and imagine the shape and scope of that mission in the near term future. Thoughtfully lay out compelling reasons for donors to invest in the ministry of the parish. Illustrate how the parish will, by fulfilling its mission, impact the local community and individual lives.
Remember this fundamental axiom when preparing a parish case for support People don’t give TO the church. They give THROUGH the church to touch the lives of other people.
Do you have a parish Strategic Plan? A case for support is basically the distillation and dressing up of the central elements of the parish strategic plan. If you have a plan already you are ¾ of the way there! If you don’t yet have a parish strategic plan you will need to do some strategic thinking. Who are the best people to be a part of this strategic exercise? What kind of gifts would be needed in this group?
A Key Question... How does the diocesan ‘Renew’ case for support provide synergies with what we are trying to do at the parish level?
Strategic Plans – Some Key Questions What is the parish’s top priority in the next five years? What new programs do we foresee the community needing? What is our parish plan for evangelism? Do we need to increase endowment funds or create endowment funds? Is there a plan and the necessary funding to keep the physical plant operating?
Strategic Plans – Some Key Questions Do we have a plan to deliver new member ministry? How will we cultivate and support volunteers? How do we identify local need in the community and keep our response faithful and relevant? Does our physical space support our worship goals?
How we Developed our Strategic Plan at Grace/Counterpoint We struck a committee of six representing the clergy, wardens, parish council and youth The committee divided parish life into six areas: Worship Evangelism Christian Education Pastoral Care Social Justice and Outreach Fellowship
Grace/Counterpoint Strategic Plan Structure – An Example of One way Forward Worship Evangelism Christian Education Pastoral Care Social Justice and Outreach Fellowship For each of these six areas of ministry we developed: Objectives, Strategies, and Tactics. Each area was grounded in scripture.
From Strategic Plan to Case for Support Each of the key elements of the strategic plan becomes a building block of the case for support So a case for support might have several key building blocks – or ministry elements that people are being asked to invest in. –eg. A strategic objective to become more involved in local food security to the hungry becomes a building block to solicit funding for a new food cupboard.
Setting up ‘Pockets’ Donors like something tangible to give to so we might set up pockets for them to ‘park’ their donation. For example a parish might choose to create the following pockets: –a Parish Endowment Fund –A Parish Missions and Ministry Fund –A Worship Arts Fund for funding performing arts in music –A Clergy Discretionary Fund –A Social Justice and Outreach Fund A pledge card would then have these individual funds for donors to direct donations
THE MOST IMPORTANT STEP in Developing Your Case for Support Any ideas what the most important step at this point is?
THE MOST IMPORTANT STEP Is the case for support compelling?
TESTING THE CASE FOR SUPPORT Select some key parishioners and get their feedback on the case for support you develop before launching to the congregation at large The biggest question to ask them is: Is this Case for Support compelling? Do the building blocks motivate and inspire? Does the case resonate with donors’ personal passions for ministry? Do they understand the Case for Support? Would they donate based on this case?
Understanding Donor Dynamics Donors will be asking.... Why this campaign? Why now? Why me?
IS IT EASILY EXPLAINED If a parish leader (heavily invested in the project) can’t clearly explain the case sitting down with a parishioner one-on-one, how will less invested visitors be able to explain the case? If the case is hard to explain this is a sure sign it needs re-working
Success or Failure Many parish campaigns fail before they ever start because the case for support is either not compelling or not easily understood. Sometimes the best campaign is the one that doesn’t happen. If the test donors don’t find your case compelling it is best to go back to the drawing board and refine things.
Components of a Compelling Message to Donors A sound theological framework – how does the campaign respond to the gospel call to be the church at this time in this place? An explanation of why the campaign is absolutely necessary and no other reasonable (that is, less expensive) alternatives to the project exist A vision of how parish life will be significantly different when the project is complete A vision of how peoples’ lives will be impacted by new ministry
Components of a Compelling Message to Donors A reminder of how the campaign fits synergistically with the mission of the parish A detailed timetable for how things will unfold once the money is collected Concrete specifics on how all the money raised will be spent A plan for how new programming will be sustained once operational A non-technical explanation of how the project will be funded and if bridge financing will be needed if it is a multi-year pledge campaign
Don’t just tell people – help them ‘See’ the future PAINT A PICTURE. TELL A STORY. MAKE A MOVIE IN DONOR’S HEADS I recommend the person actually writing the Case for Support interview people in the parish whose ministries will be positively impacted by the campaign and let those individuals’ passions ‘sing’ off the page
What I like about the ‘Renew’ Campaign It provides many pockets that I believe are synergistic with what is going on in many parishes I think the designers were wise in not demanding that a portion of every dollar go to the diocesan coffers I think they were incredibly astute in including a Planned Giving component and parishes would be wise to include a planned giving component in their case for support
And remember – you are not in this alone I am about to do a new thing here; behold now it springs forth, can you not see that I have already begun? Isaiah 43:19