January 11th, 2013

4 Things Pastors Want in a Capital Campaign Consultant

In 1999, when I served on the pastoral team of Clear Creek Community Church, we engaged a well-know campaign consultant. The experience was mediocre at best.  It felt slick and tacked-on. I never sensed that he cared too much about our church. In the end we decided as a team that we wouldn’t do it again.

It was a beautiful opportunity to learn what not to do as a church consultant.

When it comes to campaign consulting, I have found that I’m not alone. In fact I have been having increased conversation recently with people in the industry and pastors who have had good and bad experiences. It seems there are four primary reasons that pastors aren’t so crazy about calling someone to help with their capital campaigns:

  • The cost seems high for what you get
  • What you get reflects common industry knowledge
  • The campaign program isn’t adaptable to the leadership culture
  • The campaign program isn’t genuinely spiritual

If you turn these negatives around and look at it from the positive perspective, it seems that what matters most to pastors is a consultant who…

  1. Brings unmistakable value (not overpriced)
  2. Through real thought leadership (not common knowledge)
  3. With a seamless, culture-savvy experience (not tack-on)
  4. That provides rooted and relevant discipleship (not hard sell)

Here is where I would appreciate your help:

  • Are these the things you are looking for?
  • What would you add to the list?
  • Do you see yourself inviting a capital campaign consultant to the table in the future, or have you written off the industry?

Thank you for your thoughts.

6 Comments on to “4 Things Pastors Want in a Capital Campaign Consultant”

  • Walt Pitman says:

    I would add that I would look for someone who takes the time to get to know the strengths and weaknesses of the organization/staff. One that doesn’t give a “canned program” no matter how successful in the past, but provides a truly custom strategy taking into account the strengths/weaknesses/best practices of this unique location. One that asks clarifying questions BEFORE providing answers (i.e. not what we can do for you without getting to know you). One that helps communicate the vision and helps transform it into compelling/irresistible vision. To be honest — a combo approach of Auxano and a Capital Campaign Consultant would be best.

  • Will Mancini says:

    Thanks for you thoughts Walt. I like idea that a consultant should really get to know the staff.

  • Mark Brooks says:

    This is a great post and the discussion is much needed. I appreciate hearing what those that we are attempting to serve have to say. I have been in the stewardship field for almost fifteen years now after serving for twenty as a senior pastor. I started with what was once one of the major firms and then started my own company.

    Frankly our industry for years did a disservice to churches in the way we delivered, or did not deliver, or services. Is it appropriate to say I am sorry on behalf of all those that fleeced the church? I fear too many companies in the desire for profit forgot about the ministry side of what they were doing. I will say that I am seeing a drastic change among the companies with a much more focused approach to helping churches.

    I do think what you have laid out are the primary objections that I hear from churches. I would add to that the feeling that once the campaign is over they never see or hear from the consultant again. The other complaint which you state is the cookie cutter approach which basically just delivers a packaged program. Times have changed and the 1980 model campaign is gone. Yet many firms offer that as THE one and only way to do a campaign.

    Finally, let me say that I think there is some fault on both sides of this issue. It would be interesting to have a post entitled, “4 Things Your Consultant Wants in a Pastor.” In fact you just gave me a blog idea…
    Mark Brooks

  • Will Mancini says:


    Thanks for your thoughtful reply. I appreciate the question of whether its appropriate to apologize or not.

    It’s was nice to learn a little bit more about Charis. I didn’t know you guys were out there. Thank you again for stopping by the blog. I look forward to seeing what you write on the “reverse blog post”

  • […] on January 11th.  Several people sent me the link to the post.  You can find that post here http://www.willmancini.com/2013/01/4-things-pastors-want-in-a-capital-campaign-consultant.html  It was a good post and I don’t disagree with what he wrote.  I commented on his site by […]

  • Mark Brooks says:

    Ok, here is my blog entitled, “4 Things Capital Campaign Consultants Want in a Pastor.” http://thecharisgroup.org/2013/01/16/4-things-capital-campaign-consultants-want-in-a-pastor/

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