Partners provides expert assistance for sacred places looking to increase their funding and community impact by identifying the resources and opportunities in their networks. An essential first step is identifying these resources and opportunities – Partners’ unique assessments of congregational capacity and potential lay the foundation for successful fundraising and community service projects.
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 members 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.
Center Church’s Journey The First Church of Christ in Hartford (Center Church) is a dynamic sacred place that is a hub for community initiatives in the greater Hartford, Connecticut area. Center Church and Partners began collaborating on a feasibility study to assess the need for a capital campaign [...]