What is a Capital Campaign?

On June 21, Joe Schenk, the chair of the Finance Committee, convened a meeting with Mr. Andrew Hamlin, an experienced development officer, who could advise us on how to go about getting a Capital Campaign launched here at UUCWC. Advised that a Capital Campaign was a wise step for our church to take, and by our own 5-year strategic plan, the finance committee contacted Mr. Hamlin to enlist his help in getting us launched. Rev. Kim, as well as Frank Holstein and Andrew Conrad (representing the Board of Trustees), met to explore how we might best plan and execute a successful plan.

A Capital Campaign, we learned, is not just an attempt to raise money for big construction projects. It can focus on any part of the program, services, or facilities of the congregation. And it must include planning participation of lots of folks to make it work. Three years is a good time span for a campaign, we learned. And we learned some important steps that can lead to a successful campaign.

  1. Right at the start, there will be a large, representative committee of congregants to talk about the campaign, its rationale, and its goals. Lots of “aspirational” as well as practical goals can be included. The committee will gratefully get input from the wider membership. No member who wishes to participate will be excluded; this is about all of us working together to clarify our dreams and plans for the future. Estimates of the costs of each part of our plans will be determined by this committee. Let’s dream big, and exclude no one’s vision.
  2. Stage 2 is a feasibility study. It is at this stage that the services of a consultant will be crucial. The consultant will interview 30 or so engaged members, including both top potential donors and constituents with more modest means. These interviews will be looking to understand the degree to which our community can be rallied around this campaign, seeking to determine just how feasible it is to move ahead.
  3. Once it is determined that the campaign is “feasible,” it will be launched with some fanfare, designed to let all our congregants know our reasonable goal, the time line for making pledges real, and a celebration at the conclusion.

Mr. Hamlin is available to work with us. The Board will meet to discuss whether he is the right consultant or whether we should “shop around.” However this detail is resolved, the leadership is eager to get this process going with the enthusiastic support of us all.

While urging us to think big, Mr. Hamlin stressed the importance of attaching each part of our plan to a clearly stated vision. He cautioned us about finding projects that are unrelated to our core values. And he encouraged us to include in our deliberations as many members of the congregation as possible.

A major goal of this planning time will be to make sure that all of our voices throughout the congregation are heard. It promises to be a great moment in the history of UUCWC.

– by Andrew Conrad, UUCWC Board of Trustees

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