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Success Stories

Success Stories: It’s all about the questions

Faith United Methodist ChurchTen years ago Faith United Methodist Church significantly expanded the church building and thus its ministry. While the congregation conducted a successful capital fundraising effort at the time, the church was still left with a sizable debt. So for the last decade the church’s budget has included debt service.

With the arrival of a dynamic new pastoral team and with inspired lay leadership the church chose to explore a capital fundraising effort to eliminate the debt and increase the Trustees’ Contingency Fund. Golden Rule Consulting was retained to conduct a feasibility study which concluded that a $500,000 campaign goal was both realistic and achievable. Golden Rule worked closely with the congregational leadership to understand and respect the spiritual and philanthropic culture of the church during both the study and the campaign.

Campaign leadership was established, a timetable drafted, the Case for Support constructed (which emphasized that gifts to the campaign were in addition to the members’ annual pledge) and an advance leadership phase undertaken.

The campaign culminated the week before Thanksgiving, Dedication Sunday, with an inspirational Procession of the Generations as members pledged their support – and the campaign exceeded goal, raising $635,000. Debt eliminated, the Contingency Fund increased, the annual campaign succeeded and, most importantly, more of the church’s operational budget can now be directed toward additional ministry doing God’s work.

Congratulations, Faith UMC!

Money is only a tool

Annual church Stewardship Campaigns should energize and motivate a congregation to greater service and involvement. The mission lies in ministry – that’s why people become members – and money is the tool to make it happen.

Thus it was for First Congregational Church of Akron this year.  

A year ago, at the end of January, 2011, the church had generated $256,000 in pledges. In this year’s campaign, at the end of January, 2012, the total had jumped to $282,000, an increase of 10.1%. How’d that happen?  

Full disclosure here: Golden Rule principal, Larry Becker, CFRE, is a member and chair of the campaign.  

Success began with a plan of action. Intentional communications in the church newsletter, announcements in both the contemporary and traditional services and two special letters stressed how members’ contributions would enhance the church’s ministry. Emphasis was placed on service not only to the internal church family, but more importantly, also to the community beyond the church walls.  

Integral to the plan – prayer. A special prayer, a call to action, was written by the campaign team, which included both lay and pastoral leadership. It was on a business card sized, laminated stock and mailed to the entire congregation. It was shared from the pulpit.  

Have you noticed that money hasn’t been mentioned?  

Dr. Jay Marshall Groat, First Congregational’s Senior Pastor summed it up:   "It's about ministry.  This was the theme of our very successful Loyalty Campaign this year.  Everything we do in the church is ministry and our money exists to bring the Light of Christ into the world.  Our congregation has a long healthy history of giving to ministry - not just giving money for the sake of giving money.  Jesus pointed to a Roman coin and challenged people to decide what in life belongs to God.  Larry did a great job in creating a process where we could communicate these basic principles to our congregation.  And, not surprisingly, the congregation responded with compassion and generosity.  It's about ministry."


Ohio Aerospace Institute

The Ohio Aerospace Institute (OAI) partners with the aerospace industry through research and technology development, workforce preparedness, and engagement with global networks for innovation and advocacy. With an $18 million annual budget, it is a dynamic organization. But there are storm clouds forming and possibly turbulence ahead.

OAI depends heavily on defense contracts, NASA and service agreements with its partner organizations. OAI never needed to raise philanthropic dollars. But with the shuttle program ended and government funding for all organizations not as secure in 2012’s still unstable economy, OAI needed to explore other funding options.

Enter Golden Rule Consulting.

Golden Rule actively listened to their story to understand OAI’s mission and vision as well as their challenges and fears. Working closely with OAI’s leadership team, Golden Rule designed a planning tool and process specific to OAI to guide the creation of the organization’s first Resource Development Plan.

President and CEO Dr. Michael L. Heil put it this way:

“Thanks to you, we have a solid plan in place and we are moving out in a positive direction. You helped me and my senior staff develop new and innovative ways to achieve philanthropic support for our institute and put us on the path towards success. Your wise counsel and advice have been extremely helpful and I look forward to continuing to work with you in the future.”

OAI is truly ready to take flight!


Want to create your own success story?

Contact Larry Becker:
330-696-6709 or


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