Planning for a Capital Campaign
We build on foundations we did not lay. We warm ourselves at fires we did not light. We sit in the shade of trees we did not plant. We profit from persons we did not know. We are ever bound in community.
-The Rev. Raible (paraphrased from Deuteronomy)
In late 2016, the Unitarian Universalist Church at Washington Crossing began a comprehensive strategic planning effort to ensure the continuing strength of the church in serving its ministries and members in the years ahead.
The inclusive and thoughtful planning process that took place over eight months involved a broad array of leaders and congregants, and yielded an estimated $1.7 million in proposed renovations, repairs and improvements to the church facility and grounds:
- Stabilize and Expand Parking
- Expand Office, Activity Rooms and Storage
- Expand Lobby and Nursery
- Renovate and Modernize Kitchen
- Repair and Refresh Crossings Room
- Sanctuary Improvements- Accessibility, Technology
To assist in this planning process and to explore the inclination and financial capacity of UUCWC to support these ambition plans, we hired a consultant, Andrew Hamlin, to conduct a feasibility study. The Strategic Visioning Task Force drafted and finalized a document articulating the proposed plans and associated cost estimates. This “Case Statement” was shared and discussed during 27 interviews involving 46 church members that took place in November and December of 2017. We have received the results of the study, and are pleased to report that the collective response of interviewees was very positive, leading to a recommendation that the church move forward confidently and immediately with a Capital Campaign.
In addition to providing helpful perspectives on the facility projects identified through the strategic visioning process, the interviews revealed several key factors in place at UUCWC that are fundamentally important to successful campaigns. 1) There was broad endorsement of the planning process and the opportunity provided members to contribute their suggestions and perspectives. 2) Interviewees were virtually universal in their praise of UUCWC’s leadership; the Board of Trustees and Reverend Kim in particular. 3) 93% of interviewees claimed UUCWC as their #1 philanthropic priority – most by a considerable margin, and indicated they were interested or very interested in supporting the campaign.
From the report, “It is not often that a charitable organization enters into a fundraising campaign with outstanding and respected volunteer and staff leadership, well understood and broadly endorsed plans, and a constituency that is very interested in supporting the plans of their #1 philanthropic priority. That UUCWC is in this position is a powerful statement about its leadership and the passionate commitment of its members to UUCWC’s mission, vision and faith community. It is also a very strong foundation for a Capital Campaign.”
Another purpose of the feasibility study was to determine how much of the $1.7 million in identified projects our community might be able to fund. The confidential campaign gift estimates provided by those interviewed, the size of our community, and an assessment of stewardship pledges led to the recommendation of a “stretch” campaign goal of $1.1 million – by far the largest fundraising effort in the history of our church.