All Souls Memorial Episcopal Church has been in operation for more than a century. Like many parishes in Washington, DC, All Souls has had periods where it flourished and periods where social change, politics and membership downturns have provided significant challenges.
Prior to the arrival of the current Rector in the mid-2000s, a Campaign Feasibility Study concluded that All Souls was not ready for a campaign and could at most raise a few hundred thousand dollars. This experience dashed the hopes of many in the parish, and seeds of doubt remained in 2012 as All Souls prepared to again explore whether it could successfully conduct a capital campaign.
The Sheridan Group was retained by the All Souls Vestry in the spring, 2012 to help it assess the potential for a capital campaign. MTFA Architecture had previously worked with All Souls to develop a consensus-based vision for a $1.5 million scope of work designed to improve accessibility for all to the church, in order for All Souls to remain true to its mission. A proposed two-level addition would enable universal access to the sanctuary and undercroft from the parking lot with an elevator and would include two accessible restrooms. The addition would also enable a larger, more welcoming and hospitable garden space, directly accessible from the undercroft and suitable for contemplative, musical and social functions.
Early on, we were fortunate to discover that the Junior Warden (the eventual Campaign Chair) had recruited an enthusiastic campaign planning committee, with subcommittees charged with Case for Support Development, Finances, Cultivation and Parish Communication. Our initial Campaign Readiness Report indicated no structural hurdles to proceeding with the Feasibility Study, providing important early confidence to the Vestry and Campaign Planning Committee. The Sheridan Group then conducted interviews with 25 individuals and couples, representing a wide variety of perspectives within the parish.
Our initial assessment of those we interviewed, others known to have capacity but not interviewed, and the balance of the parish, indicated that All Souls could successfully raise $1.1 million or more. Further, we recommended that the Campaign approach the parish’s endowment board about making a significant challenge grant for the public phase of the campaign.