Timing is everything. Or is it?

Allen Temple reaches $1 million mark

Allen Temple Baptist Church of Oakland, CA launched its $5million capital campaign in October 2008. If you can recall that was the month of the American economic meltdown. Newscasters were crying the sky is falling….

But the church had been preparing for almost a year to launch their campaign to pay off the mortgage on their family life center building, renovate their training center, and build an endowment for social justice programming. They kept with their schedule not knowing that the remainder of 2008 and all of 2009 would prove to be very difficult times for fundraising in general.

But this volunteer-led campaign raised $1million in gifts and pledges during the first year of the campaign. They are 33% towards their goal of raising $3million from within the church family. They seek to raise an additional $2million from community stakeholders, foundation and corporations. And work on that has begun…

How did they do it? Here’s what campaign chairs Willis White and Connie Walker attribute their success to:

  1. At the core of our work is the belief that through God, all things are possible.
  2. This is something we believe is important to the life of the church and our community.
  3. We spent time securing buy-in from the church’s leadership. And we got it. We talked, we listened to objections, we made adjustments. The full congregation was behind the campaign before we launched. And our church leaders volunteered to provide campaign leadership as well.
  4. We put in place a system to ensure that funds given to the campaign by church members will be used to accelerate payments on the mortgage for our Family Life Center.
  5. We know our church culture and we designed a campaign that works with our church culture.
  6. We hired professional fundraising counsel to guide us, train us, and help us prepare.
  7. The pastor supports the campaign, the church trustees support the campaign, our deacons, ministers and other leaders support the campaign.
  8. We looked at how we had approached fundraising in prior campaigns and learned from our past experiences. We knew what we wanted from counsel and how we wanted counsel to work with us.
  9. We committed to treating every church member as an equal and committed to ensuring we talked personally with each member regardless of what size gift we thought they could give to the campaign.
  10. We engaged in a transparent process and regularly reported campaign results to the full congregation.

Join us in congratulating Allen Temple Baptist church and encouraging them as they move forward in 2010. Their campaign illustrates that when people believe in the importance of a specific campaign they are willing to give and get involved. It’s about more than timing.


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