Partners builds the capability of congregational leadership for building care, shared use, and capital fundraising through training programs, fundraising assistance, and organizational and facility assessments. In the process, Partners becomes a trusted resource and guide as congregations examine and weigh opportunities.
Read more about our spotlight project! Center Church, Hartford, CT.
Customized, Comprehensive, Community-Oriented Campaigns
Every sacred place is the center of a unique network for parishioners, neighbors, and friends. The public has a profound stake in the survival and vitality of sacred places – and thus capital campaigns that restore and renovate them to meet current needs. A well-planned and successful capital campaign can be critical in bringing health and vitality to both congregations and their communities. The sense of unity and vision that builds within a congregation during a campaign can long outlive the short-term benefit of the fundraising effort, and partnerships with outside leaders can serve as the foundation for community-building efforts that reach far and wide.
Having worked with thousands of sacred places across the country, Partners is uniquely positioned to help faith and lay leaders leverage these networks for campaign success. Built on groundbreaking research and decades of diverse experiences, Partners’ expertise has helped congregations across the nation meet, and exceed, their campaign goals – both in fundraising and community impact. Partners’ team provides the following services for congregations as they seek to restore and renovate their historic sacred places.
Maximize your Support
The foundation of a successful campaign, the Feasibility Study is an opportunity for the congregation to gauge receptiveness of congregants and the community to its campaign; to identify and recruit volunteers; campaign leadership and major donors; and to identify realistic fundraising goals.
Partners for Sacred Places team members conduct one-to-one interviews with key stakeholders in the congregation and the community for a holistic and comprehensive understanding of the congregation and its fundraising capacity.
- Leaders of the congregation, who give perspective on the congregation’s priorities, its challenges and opportunities, and the goals that they have for the future of the congregation.
- Members and former member of the congregation, whose perspective is critical for understanding realistic financial goals for a capital campaign and the project priorities of donors.
- Community members, business owners, and other local stakeholders are critical to understand how neighbors perceive the congregation; to identify non-members who will invest in the project; and to find external resources that could be leveraged in completing capital projects.
- Local philanthropists, foundation program officers, and civic leaders provide insight about the public perception of the congregation, what it is known for, and what its community values about it.
In addition to identifying fundraising and leadership capacity for a capital campaign, Partners’ Feasibility Study includes valuable insights and recommendations pertaining to the congregation’s long-term planning and ministry within and outside the context of a capital campaign. Partners analyzes interview transcripts, institutional documents (e.g. annual budgets and reports), and independent research to compile a comprehensive report that answers the following questions and provide recommendations for action.
Understand your Landscape
In much the same way a lawyer might obtain knowledge in a “discovery” phase to strengthen their case, Partners’ Discovery Study model was developed to help congregations better understand their role in the wider community. Whereas a feasibility study is financially oriented and meant to assess the giving capacity for a potential capital campaign, Partners’ Discovery Study focuses on learning about a congregation’s community context. The study can serve as a good first step for congregations that would benefit from initial efforts to understand and engage their communities ahead of a community-wide capital fundraising effort.
Partners team members conduct one-to-one interviews to identify and analyze the community’s perception of the congregation and its work, providing valuable insight and recommendations in a report that seeks to answer the following questions:
- What is the role of the congregation and its historic building within the fabric of the community?
- How can the congregation build its presence and strengthen external relationships?
- Is there a compelling case for a campaign?
- Who cares about the congregation, its building, and would give to a potential campaign?
In addition to interviews, Partners may recommend other services to enhance the analysis as appropriate to the congregation and its physical plant. Some of these services include:
- Space sharing assessment: a day-long process in which Partners staff tour the congregation’s existing spaces and analyze their current use(s), size/configuration, amenities, and other features.
- Condensed Asset-Mapping Event: a one-day event in which the congregation, community members, and other local stakeholders participate in a dynamic process that uncovers the full range of a congregation’s assets.
Identify your Strengths and Opportunities
Partners’ Readiness Study fuses the objectives of a Discovery Study (community context and impact) and Feasibility Study (potential giving capacity), resulting in a comprehensive analysis of a congregation’s strengths and opportunities. The Readiness Study identifies the current state of membership, the perception of the congregation in the wider community, and the willingness and capacity of congregation and community members alike to give to a potential campaign.
Partners for Sacred Places team members conduct one-to-one interviews with key stakeholders in the congregation and the community for a holistic and comprehensive understanding of the congregation, its current and potential community impact, and giving capacity. The Readiness Study may also include a space-sharing assessment to inform strategies for the congregation to increase revenue and expand its ministry through strong space-use partnerships. The final report includes recommendations and findings to prepare the congregation for a comprehensive, community-wide campaign.
Capital Campaign Management
Maximizing Support from Members and the Larger Community
No two congregations are the same, and it follows that no two successful capital campaigns can be the same. Partners works with each of its clients to design and implement a fundraising strategy that represents and celebrates the congregation’s distinctive history, heritage, and culture. Partners provides comprehensive consulting services that address both the internal and external components of a campaign. Beginning with prospect research and continuing campaign evaluation, Partners provides congregations the consultation and support they need to ensure their campaign success.
The Silent Phase: Successful campaigns require a significant amount of time devoted to research and planning in order to develop and implement successful fundraising strategies for the congregation’s unique identity and situation. Partners guides congregational leadership to complete the necessary steps for a successful public phase:
- Build a strong infrastructure of leadership to steer the campaign
- Develop a compelling case statement for support
- Identify potential donors and their capacity for giving
- Design attractive campaign materials
- Implement an effective media strategy
- Identify and train volunteers
- Solicit top donors to meet 30% – 40% of the campaign goal before Public Phase
The Public Phase: After laying a strong foundation for the campaign during the Silent Phase, Partners assists the congregation to confidently launch into the Public Phase. Open solicitation of congregation and community members and the beginning of capital project work characterize the Public Phase. Partners works with the congregation in the following activities to meet (or exceed!) the campaign goal:
- Plan a public launch celebration
- Train volunteer solicitors
- Coordinate giving events
- Implement an effective follow-up strategy
- Evaluate the success of the campaign to inform future fundraising efforts
Additional Services: Along with the basic service plan for a successful capital campaign, Partners provides services that can strengthen the congregation’s reach and appeal, which are often recommended based on results from the initial study.
- Strategic Planning
- Economic Halo Effect of Sacred Places®
- Space-Use Assessment and Training
- Design Charette
- Financial Stewardship Training
- Grant Writing
The Partners Brand
For nearly 30 years, Partners for Sacred Places has empowered congregations to restore their buildings and revitalize their communities. This work, vital to faith communities and to the neighborhoods they serve, comes at a cost. Maintaining a safe, healthy, and welcoming environment for worship and services puts potentially unbearable pressure on a congregation’s budget. A successful capital campaign is often all that stands between a brighter future and shuttered doors.
At Partners, we approach Capital Campaign Consulting Services as an extension of our mission, an important service to and resource for our core constituency. Building on the trust we have earned in faith communities over two decades, the innovative fundraising tools and approaches that we have developed, and the expertise and skills of our staff, Partners’ Capital Campaign Consulting Services are characterized by:
Creativity: Partners recognizes, appreciates and celebrates the unique story that every historic sacred place has to tell. We are dedicated to researching and developing innovative tools and services that empower congregations to understand the singular role that each plays in the past, present and future of the community.
Collaboration: Partners fosters new and stronger relationships between stakeholders in the faith, philanthropy, preservation and academic sectors. We help congregations open their doors to the community, and we help communities see the value – social, cultural, and economic – of investing in local congregations and parishes.
Quality: Over two decades, Partners has cultivated an unparalleled expertise in the field of older sacred places. Our advocacy work is strengthened by partnerships with leading academics and policy-makers. Our programs are piloted and adapted before implementation and evaluated and updated frequently to ensure their continued relevance and impact.