Recently I discovered a beautiful church in the South of France that is being renovated. The church is Saint John of Malta in Aix en Provence, and over $700,000 in a capital campaign was raised to restore the facade.
What is ironic is that $0 is coming from the parish itself. Local and state sources provided all of the funds.
Now you may not have access to that much money in your area; however, this campaign can provide you insight into how large sums of money can be raised, especially outside of your parish community.
As you can see from the photo, the church has an incredible historical gothic facade that just screams Catholicism. It makes you just sing the praises of God.
Three lessons for raising significant amounts for a capital campaign.
1. Historical importance – You obviously cannot make up history if you are building a new parish; however, it is important to consider what your historical significance will be in the future. In the case of this church, it was the first Catholic church built in the area.
2. Beauty – I often see churches being built at the lowest cost possible, thinking they will make it beautiful later. What often happens is if a church is built ugly, it stays ugly. Then, it’s very hard to find funds because no one wants to give money to something ugly. Therefore, start small, and think beautiful. Build a chapel first. Then when it fills up to maximum capacity, people will recognize the need for something bigger.
3. Sustainability – We live in a society where we consume and throw things away regularly. This mentality, unfortunately, hinders our capacity for building churches that last for less than 30 years. When building a church, think long term. Think longer than everyone else.
These are the three lessons that this beautiful church from the South of France taught me. We know that these lessons work because the state (which is 100% secular) is paying for the renovation of this Catholic church.
Focus on these three lessons whether you are starting out, expanding, or renovating, and you will see similar results.
For more insights, I suggest reading the following article I wrote on the key steps to a fundraising campaign. Baby Step Your Way To Success With Your Next Fundraising Campaign
You can also read the thoughts of a priest who ran a successful capital campaign that raised over $1,000,000. Five steps from Fr Marcus on how to restore your church or parish