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Consulting Services

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.

Every sacred place is the center of a unique network for parishioners, neighbors, and friends. Having worked with thousands of sacred places across the country, Partners is uniquely positioned to help faith and lay leaders leverage these networks. Built on groundbreaking research and decades of diverse experiences, Partners’ expertise has helped congregations meet, and exceed, their goals – both in fundraising and community impact. Our consulting services can bring these unique tools, expertise, and resources to your congregation and your community. Click on any of the links below to find out more.

Capital Campaign Consulting

Community Engagement and Asset Mapping

Economic Halo Effect on Sacred PlacesSM Valuation Studies

Shared-Space Planning

Adaptive Reuse

Capital Campaign Consulting

Every congregation is the center of a unique network of parishioners, neighbors, and friends. Partners for Sacred Places is uniquely positioned to help faith and lay leaders leverage these networks for success with customized, comprehensive, community-oriented capital campaigns. Partners recommends that every congregation begin with an assessment of their own capacity and their place in the surrounding community with an appropriate study:

Feasibility Study
Maximize your Support

The foundation of a successful campaign, the Feasibility Study is an opportunity for the congregation to gauge the receptiveness of parishioners and the community to its campaign, to identify and recruit volunteers, campaign leadership and major donors, and to identify realistic fundraising goals and timelines. 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.

Discovery Study
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. 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 by asking the following questions:

  • What is the role of the congregation and its historic building within the fabric of the community?
  • What strategic approaches can the congregation take to maximize its presence?

Readiness Study
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.

Capital Campaign Management

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 advice and support they need to ensure their campaign’s success, including:

  • CASE STATEMENT ASSISTANCE
  • BUILDING A PYRAMID OF GIFTS
  • DONOR IDENTIFICATION
  • MATERIALS DESIGN
  • MEDIA STRATEGY
  • VOLUNTEER TRAINING
  • DONOR STRATEGIC APPROACH
  • CAMPAIGN EVALUATION

Community Engagement & Asset Mapping

Since its founding, Partners for Sacred Places has worked with congregations to embrace the Asset-Based Community Development (ABCD) model. ABCD is a challenge to the traditional approach to rebuilding communities. It provides a new framework for thinking about neighborhoods and new strategies for mobilizing congregations in a positive way.

While traditional community development tends to focus on neighborhood deficiencies, Asset-Based Community Development focuses on the gifts and talents of individuals and the capacity of neighbors and neighborhoods to be producers of change – to change communities from within. ABCD allows congregations to cultivate connections within the community, mobilize the capacities of local individuals, associations, and institutions and empower community residents to become leaders.

Partners works with congregations to: identify new stakeholders and develop strategies for connecting the congregation’s assets with the gifts and talents of their members and neighbors; identify key local assets – physical, individual, associational, institutional; and seek to connect these assets in new ways.

The Economic Halo Effect of Sacred PlacesSM

Older sacred places are de facto community centers, but struggle to articulate their value in terms that civic leaders understand or appreciate. That is why Partners developed The Economic Halo Effect of Sacred PlacesSM, a tool that is used to calculate the localized economic impact of a single congregation or group of congregations.

Partners has worked with congregations throughout the country to do this work, which is used to:

  • Tell your story in a way that appeals to civic leaders and community stakeholders that don’t speak the language of faith
  • Communicate the value of a given program (for example, a food pantry) or programmatic emphasis (for example, arts programming)
  • Bolster annual stewardship campaigns and larger capital fundraising efforts
  • Make projections that strengthen grant applications
  • Do sacred places advocacy in the face of threats (for example, tax assessments)
  • Suggest ways for to living out your mission in new ways that increase your Halo impact

Shared-Space Planning

Because of Partners’ strong relationship with the faith community and our expertise in community development and the arts, Partners has extensive experience and connections to networks of arts groups and social service organizations interested in sharing space. In facilitating shared-space agreements, our services include:

  • Identification of potential tenants
  • Guidance on best practices for sharing space
  • Business and strategic planning
  • Lease development and negotiation

Adaptive Reuse

Partners has strong expertise on how to reuse inactive religious properties, with extensive experience in developing and leading charrettes and seminars on how to redevelop such spaces. In situations of complete adaptive re-use, our services include:

  • Design charrette development and management: a kick-starter initiative that brings together community leaders, residents, and architects to think creatively about the site through the lens of civic engagement
  • Community and political engagement
  • Business and funding plan development

For more information about capital campaigns and feasibility study services, please contact Gianfranco Grande at ggrande@sacredplaces.org.

For all other consulting service inquiries, please contact our office at partners@sacredplaces.org

Center Church, Hartford CT