How to keep an authentic Catholic voice when asking for money

How do you keep an authentic and Catholic voice when fundraising? I am a big advocate of having a support network around the fundraiser. Fundraising like anything else in life requires the assistance of people. In a recent article, I outlined the characteristics and actions of every individual who should help with your fundraising.

If your fundraiser is not getting much assistance, but rather she is left alone to run your next campaign, you risk disconnecting the donation request from your cause. If and when this happens, Catholics will label you how so many other charities are perceived: “all you want is our money.”

To avoid this, while also making your next campaign the most productive (and less stressful), let me outline how to build a support network around your fundraiser.

Everyone who has a role in your Catholic cause should actively participate in what messages and actions are used during an appeal. This guarantees your requests all link with your Catholic voice. It’s a very simple task that doesn’t require a huge amount of time, but it does require persistence and care.

How do you connect your Catholic voice with fundraising?

You have to first know what your voice is. What distinguishes you from every other charity, even Catholic charity? Why do you do what you do? When you share these points with Catholics during your next appeal, they will see the real you rather than just the face of another request for money. This gets you more attention, plenty of trust, and many donations.

Here is a simple table that outlines who does what within fundraising, along what they should not be doing, so you keep your Catholic voice.

Role Do Not Do
Fundraiser

Leads all fundraising activities

Responsible for all go/no-go decisions

Develops all fundraising content

Defines and approves messaging and language

Outlines the fundraising communications plan

Builds awareness in community

Collects and uses feedback from contacts, donors, colleagues, and board

Tracks and finds prospects

Tracks and leads all donor relationships

Researches better ways to fundraise

Presents to leadership team results and recommendations

Asks for donations

Coach others how to ask

Allows the board, directors, and leadership team to direct fundraising activities

Depends on volunteers to fundraise

Depends on priests, second collections, and second appeals

Charity Director

Provides the fundraiser a clear direction and vision (3-5 year plan)

Provides input, recommendations, and guidance into fundraising

Provides advice for communications plan

Listens and takes counsel from fundraiser

Supports 100% the fundraiser

Identifies prospects and influencers

Actively involved in donor relations

Asks for donations

Provides feedback to fundraiser

Dictates how and when fundraising happens

Makes changes to the fundraising plan after it’s been approved

Board/ Leadership Team

Provides input into fundraising strategy and communications plan

Donates to charity

Identifies prospects and influencers

Nurtures donor relations

Asks for donations

Provides feedback to fundraiser

Frequently present at charity

Engages with day to day activities

Takes sides

Think they do not have to donate

Avoids getting involved in find prospects

Declines to ask people in their circles to donate

Staff

Spreads the key messages every day

Finds prospects

Invites friends, families, acquaintances to events

Occasionally asks for donations in their circles

Provides feedback to fundraiser

Required to regularly asks people for donations

Disregards fundraising as not part of core responsibilities

Volunteers

Spreads the key messages every day

Collaborates with fundraiser to identify the tasks most comfortable doing

Provides feedback on fundraising activities (what works/doesn’t work)

Recommends ideas for reaching more people

Invites friends, families, acquaintances to events

Finds prospects

Asks people for donations

Donors

Provides feedback on why they donated, what inspires them, and what they hope for in charity

Invites friends, families, colleagues to events

Spreads key messages/news to own network

Asks people for donations

Contacts (non-donors, non-volunteers)

Invites friends, families, colleagues to events

Spread key messages/news across own network

Provides feedback on what they like and what they would like to see more from charity

Asks people for donations

Your Catholic voice finds you long-term donors

You’ll notice that I have a different approach than a typical fundraiser. Not everyone is asking for money, yet everyone has a specific and important role to play in making sure you keep your authentic voice.

My focus is not on being professional when fundraising. It’s about being Catholic. If you start with this as your foundation, you will automatically be professional. It’s not the case if you start the other way around.

You can read more about this approach in an article where reviewed how the saints viewed money and asked people for donations: The 4 important lessons from the saints (about fundraising)

I am focused on the long-term growth and prosperity of your Catholic cause, not getting as much as possible with a single campaign.

This approach produces lifelong donors, more donations, and a better (and bigger) reputation. To get things moving forward, use this table at your next team meeting and see how you can maintain your authentic voice during the next appeal.

Question: How can you get everyone involved in fundraising to make sure you keep your authentic voice?

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