What We've Learned SO FAR in our Capital Campaign Explorations

Last summer an ad hoc committee was convened by the Moderator to explore the possibility of launching a capital campaign for Old First. This decision was made in light of the need to repay the Refinancing in Faith loan, to address deferred maintenance to the buildings and, most importantly, re-commit to our mission in alignment with Michael’s calling as our settled pastor.

Based on advice from members involved in the last OFRC capital campaign, as well as those with other experiences, it was decided to interview possible external consultants who would help the congregation explore its capacity for a capital campaign and then, if we decide to have a campaign, to help with the execution of it.

A subgroup met with three possible consultants. These interviews were very helpful in that they allowed us to learn about different approaches to capital campaigns, as well as different stories about what has inspired other congregations and what has tripped them up.

Here is a list of the most important lessons we have learned:

1. The success or failure of the campaign ultimately resides with congregation itself.

2. The leadership of a campaign has to be both deep, involving significant time commitments from those involved, but also broad, involving lots of people.

3. The most successful campaigns serve as catalysts to a deeper re-engagement with the spiritual and social mission of the church.

4. The time for the actual campaign should be about 3 months. Anything less is insufficient to engage with everyone, any longer and it risks getting bogged down.

5. A feasibility study can be a very helpful tool to gauge potential giving capacity, identify any possible issues that may have to be addressed, and initiate the discussion around what parts of our mission best enable the congregation to live out Christ’s mission.

The ad hoc committee has recommended to the Elders that a consultant, Rev. Susan Mitchell, from the UCC’s national office, we hired to conduct a feasibility study shortly after Labor Day. This will involve her interview, in person, between 20 and 30 individuals or couples about their responses to the campaign goals and the church’s ministry in general as well as to their potential ability and willingness to support a campaign in terms of time, talent and treasure. She will then give the committee a report with her assessment of our capacity for capital campaign. The costs of this service, $5,500, have been covered by several Angel gifts.

If you have any questions about this, please speak with a member of the committee.


The ad hoc Capital Campaign Exploratory Committee
Larry Waddell (chair), Nancy Donohue, Gerry Woodruff, Karen Winey, Janice Smith, Jonathan Vogan, Bruce Conley, Daniel Bigelow, Michael Caine.