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/ 15 June 2020

Delivering a Capital Campaign during COVID 19

Rebuilding the church

As we start to get to grips with the impact that the COVID 19 pandemic is having on just about every aspect of our lives, and the fact that social distancing is going to continue for a fair time to come, we might also be wondering how the way we fundraise, especially for a Capital Appeal, is going to change in the future.

In truth, nobody knows at present. My thoughts below are offered to enable parishes to make the most of this present time.

First and foremost, this is not the first time that fundraising has come up against a rock and a hard place. Look back to the 2008 financial crisis. With hindsight, we now know that organisations which hunkered down and did nothing, took longer to recover than those that maintained and even built relationships during that crisis.

Use the time that is available to you now!

  • Re-imagine how things will be going forward. The needs of your church family, your neighbourhood, those you have supported through this time (foodbanks, homelessness etc) It seems unlikely that anything will be the same as it was before.
  • Think about these changes relate to your fundraising strategy.
  • In light of these findings, plan, or review what’s next (depending on the stage your project is at)
  • Use the four main steps below to help think through your current (fundraising) situation.
  • Finances
    • Review income and expenditure
    • Consider both project & operational costs to see where cuts are necessary/can be made
    • Assess whether project costs are still realistic


  • Prospects
    • Review your main prospect list – organisations/individuals you hope(d) to get donations from
      • What has changed for them?
      • Has their capacity to give changed?
      • Has their propensity to give changed.
      • Are they still passionate about the project?


  • Revisit your closest supporters – we are all in this together. Help them feel they can be part of the solution. Can they offer:
    • Wisdom?
    • Advice?
    • Insight?
  • Be sensitive with any approach. There are a lot of unknowns at present.
  • Consider how to recreate the personal approach
    • Live stream Q&A sessions with senior leadership or specialists
    • One to one video meetings
    • Virtual tours for
    • Video updates on email rather than just text.
  • Keep in touch with anyone who has made pledges. Let them know what’s happening.
  • Offer payment holidays if that would help those who have made a regular commitment
  • Look at your messaging. Use clear, concise, communications to share your story


  • Timescales
  • Revisit your critical path. Amend where necessary
  • In light of the above, reconsider the phasing of the campaign.
  • Agree when to make your appeal public


  • Action
  • Update/retune your case for support considering the changes caused by Covid 19.

It needs to be relevant to the present day.

  • Stick to the fundamentals.
  • Communicate with your supporters.
    • People respond better to a peer to peer approach than a blanket ask.
    • Take a tip from the past. Send a handwritten note – much more personal!
  • Remember to say thank you!
    • Send a prompt response for a gift
    • Explain why the gift is so important
    • If possible, detail what it’s going to be used for; the difference it will make. This can sometimes elicit a follow-up gift.
  • Act with honesty and integrity.
    • In this current season, supporters will expect to hear the impact Covid 19 is having on your project. Tell them; don’t apologise for a situation beyond your control.
  • Look at your messaging. Use clear, concise, communications to share your story

And finally:

  • Look ahead.
  • Be confident about the success of your project.
  • Share positive statements.


Designed for anyone (clergy or lay), interested in learning more about Capital fundraising, our next two webinars can be booked using the links below.

Grant funding update:

For the most up to date information on the grants that are available, click here and scroll down to the fundraising section to find a list of current funders.

If you are unfamiliar with applying for funding and would like support with how to complete your application, you can contact Sarah Reilly, Fundraising Manager (maternity cover) by email for advice.

Useful information:

For a list of articles about fundraising, (including fundraising posts by other teams) visit: https://www.london.anglican.org/articles/category/fundraising/

Any comments or suggestions about future fundraising events can be emailed to Parish Fundraising Manager, Carol Ward, at Parish Fundraising Support, the dedicated email enquiry line for parishes with fundraising queries.

About Carol Ward

Carol Ward is the Parish Fundraising Manager for the Diocese of London, and has a wealth of experience across many sectors for parishes to call on. She is married to Andy. Together, they have three children, two grandchildren, and a dog called Jack.

Read more from Carol Ward

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