3 Steps to Your Best Year-End Campaign Ever

December, Advent, and Christmas are all times when most Catholic charities are preparing their year-end campaigns and appeals. As I talk about the most important month of the year for fundraisers, I get a lot of questions like these: “How do I make sure I’m ready to make the most of December? How do I not be too pushy?”

If you’re asking these questions, you’re already on the right track. Why? Because you’re talking about laying out a plan that will make sure you have an authentic Catholic voice when you do make the ask.

I like to answer these sorts of questions by finding out how well someone’s considered three essential aspects of Catholic fundraising. I use this same technique when evaluating my own December fundraising.

1. Am I Speaking With My Own Words?

For a campaign to be authentic, it has to use words that Catholics understand. That means that it has to resonate with Church teaching and our commitment to spreading the Gospel. If you are focusing your attention on the money aspect of a campaign, it’s probably not going to catch as many Catholics attention.

I recently reviewed the campaign documents of a prominent religious order which is looking to raise over $1m to purchase property and expand. The religious brother that I am working with decided that it would be best to focus not on the plans of the building but rather on the story of how they got to this point.

What’s instructive is why he did so. He hadn’t done much with fundraising before, he said, but he knew that if Catholics heard their story, rather than a request for money, they’d commit.

If you are preparing for your December appeal and putting the final touches, I recommend you double check that you are telling your story in your own words. Sharing facts and figures about what the money will be used for is important, though don’t forget to share how God has blessed you throughout the year.

We know from research that religious giving is the highest of all charitable giving. Catholics are included in this statistic and are ready to donate. They just want to hear an authentic story said in your own words.

FACT: December giving accounts for 29% of all giving throughout the year

Source: http://www.nptechforgood.com

2. Does Your Campaign Focus on the Right Audience?

For a year-end campaign goal to be meaningful you should focus on getting the attention of the right people. We know that just because someone is Catholic doesn’t necessarily mean they share the same passion for our causes. Therefore, it is important to focus on energy on getting in front of the right Catholics.

We do this for two important reasons. The first is because when we focus our attention, we can spend more time with Catholics who will give. This, therefore, increases the number of gifts we receive. The second reason is that we reduce our stress levels. This is important because when we are speaking to people, they are more inspired to give to someone who is calm, composed, and happy. Plus it is Advent, and stress is not a gift of the Holy Spirit.

We find the right Catholics by taking time to review our year and reflect on who God has placed in our lives. When we connect the dots, and we identify the people who have crossed our paths, then we’re closing on finding the audience to ask for donations.

You won’t know whom to ask until you commit the time and effort to plan. Set your intention and get started with reviewing the past 11 months and recognize which people God placed in your path.

Brice Sokolowski Catholic Fundraiser

3. Are You Getting Personal with Your Approach?

There’s a difference between an appeal letter and genuine request. We all have received those direct mail letters that follow the same formula. These letters are so professionally done that they lack a personal touch.

What about the monastery who decides to build a new wing because more people are visiting for a retreat or considering a vocation? What about the Catholic apostolate that is increasing its online presence and reaching more lapsed Catholics? These are exciting stories, would you agree? It does until you read their appeal letters and how they forgot to share the unique aspect of their work.

But how do find your personal style when asking for donations?

Sometimes it’s just intuition. In his Total Consecration to Jesus through Mary, Saint Louis de Montfort asks us to spend at least twelve days emptying ourselves of the spirit of the world. He reminds us that before we can take a step forward, it’s prudent to stop and reflect.

Saint Louis shows us how moving from one desire to another (even if it is to do God’s will) has to be done with prudence and preparation. This is especially true when it comes to asking for money.

Fundraising is a challenge, and if not properly planned, it can just turn into discouragement. What I like to do is set a December campaign goal that is motivating (and a bit discouraging) and then take time to plan. I make sure that I’m getting as personal with my approach and that my story is correctly told.

How to Plan for a Successful December with Fundraising?

As we move into December and the Advent season, try to organize your campaign so it is authentic, personal, and resonates with the right Catholics. It’s important to remember what fundraising campaigns are for in the first place. They are about raising funds to keep your mission moving forward, yes. But it’s more than that. A campaign is not just about what you raise. It’s about what you are doing for the Kingdom of God.

Campaigns are about moving forward. A good campaign requires us to strengthen our mission and do more for Jesus. That’s because every campaign is about Our Blessed Lord as much as—even more than— our vocation. And that’s precisely why planning your December fundraising in Catholic way is so important.

Every fundraising campaign must about Jesus as much as our goal to get donations.

For more information on how to plan your next campaign, make sure you download a free copy of ‘The 10 Commandments of Catholic Fundraising.’

Question: What do you want to achieve this December with your fundraising?

Brice Sokolowski Catholic Fundraiser

How Catholics Can Successfully Fundraise

Jennifer Fulwiler interviews Brice Sokolowski from CatholicFundraiser.net. In this Part 2 of the interview, Jennifer and Brice talk about how to fundraise in the Catholic Church, the fundamentals to follow, and why now is the best time ever to follow Christ and go big on your vocation.

Thank you for watching this video. I hope that you keep up with the week videos I post on the channel, subscribe, and share your learnings with those that need to hear it. Your comments are my focus, so please take a second and say ‘Hey’ ;-).

You can watch part 1 of the interview here: How to Follow Your Vocation (and go on Holiday)

Get your free e-book on how to fundraiser here: http://catholicfundraiser.net/

Get your copy of my book Alms: http://bit.ly/almsbook

► Subscribe to my channel here: https://www.youtube.com/channel…

EXCLUSIVE: How to Follow Your Vocation (and go on Holiday)

Jennifer Fulwiler interviews Brice Sokolowski from CatholicFundraiser.net. In this Part 1 of the interview, Jennifer and Brice talk about the Catholic Church, Mass, living abroad, the challenges of following God, and how to pursue your vocation.

Thank you for watching this video. I hope that you keep up with the week videos I post on the channel, subscribe, and share your learnings with those that need to hear it. Your comments are my focus, so please take a second and say ‘Hey’ ;-).

You can watch part 1 of the interview here: How Catholics Can Successfully Fundraise

Get your free e-book on how to fundraiser here: http://catholicfundraiser.net/

Get your copy of my book Alms: http://bit.ly/almsbook

► Subscribe to my channel here: https://www.youtube.com/channel…

Stop screaming ‘Please Donate’ because people are not listening

You have a message that you want others to hear. You are inspired to bring Jesus into the world, and you want people to be as inspired as you. Sometimes you ponder about the possibilities in front of you. You see all the people’s lives you will help. You see it right in front of you. Now the question is how to get them to donate.

However, reality sets in when you look at what’s around you. No one is listening to you.

Why? We live in a noisy world where everyone has a message and wants to be heard. Everyone is also asking for donations. You and a million other people want to do something great, and you all want people’s financial support. So how do you get people’s attention and money?

The most common approach seems to shout louder than everyone else. If you still don’t have their attention, shout even louder. On top of that, you likely won’t get many opportunities, so you scream the one message you want people to do: Please donate!

Stop screaming, “Please donate!” because people are not listening

As you cry for help, among the cacophony of every else’s pleas for money, you have to realize that the people live noisy, busy, and distracting lives. They are trying to find ways to keep sanity, so the last thing they want is a charity constantly asking them to donate. When they hear you do this, they shut you off. They throw your appeal letter in the trash. They tune you out during your parish appeal. They walk away without even considering what you have to say.

So, let’s face the cold hard fact. Breaking through the noise and getting donations are practically impossible. That’s why most fundraising campaigns fail. There’s just too much noise, and too many people don’t want to listen. They are looking for peace and quiet. Not more demands of their money.

You can hope that people will eventually donate, but this is a passive approach that won’t get you very far, especially if you have ambitious plans. You have to take a different approach and rise above the noise. I know because God doesn’t want you to stress. He wants you to be smart and do what he’s calling you to do.

If everyone is on the same interstate that’s jammed with bumper to bumper traffic, you’ve got to get off onto a side road to get to your destination. Let’s do just that.

I discuss more on how to not scare people in this article, How to keep an authentic voice in Catholic fundraising.

I also talk about the Good, the Bad, and the Ugly of fundraising in the Catholic Church which will help navigate the landscape.

How to get people to hear your request for money

In order to fundraise effectively in today’s Catholic landscape, you have to face an important. First, you have to understand that the strategy of hope fundraising doesn’t work. “Let’s pray people will donate,” or “Let’s hope this campaign works.” These approaches usually imply that you just wait and see what happens. Don’t get me wrong. I do believe in hope and prayer, but I think most people view hope and prayer in a secular way, not a Catholic way. Prayer and hope require action, not sitting around.

Instead, I recommend you have an active approach to getting people’s attention that is much more aligned with our Catholic faith. If you want people to hear you, you simply have to speak in a gentle and consistent voice. When you combine these two factors together, consistently present and gently speaking, you have your best chance of being heard. Therefore, you want to find your consistent and tempered voice.

Who do you know that does this? God.

There was a strong and violent wind rending the mountains and crushing rocks before the Lord—but the Lord was not in the wind; after the wind, an earthquake—but the Lord was not in the earthquake; after the earthquake, fire—but the Lord was not in the fire; after the fire, a light silent sound.

When he heard this, Elijah hid his face in his cloak and went out and stood at the entrance of the cave. A voice said to him, Why are you here, Elijah?

– 1 Kings 19: 11-13

You won’t hear God screaming from rooftops. You won’t see him disrupting your day to day to get your attention. You won’t see him pushing himself in front of a crowd to be seen. You see and hear him only after you pause and recognize that he’s been with you the entire time.

You have to follow the same approach. You want to place yourself in the same situation when people finally pause and take notice of who’s around them.

From my experience, the best way to get someone to donate is to always be there with your calm voice until the moment presents itself. It’s the moment when the person is ready to take action. You can’t force someone to see you, listen to you, and then donate. You have to offer them the best possibility to do so.

It sounds so simple, but many Catholic organizations don’t take this action. They drum one monotonous voice twice a year, and it turns most people away.

Get into the habit of clearly articulating your voice with people on a consistent basis.

I go into more detail about how to ask for donations in this article, How to Ask for Gifts in a Catholic context.

Be patient. Donations will come

Breaking through the noise and being heard is harder than ever, but with a consistent approach to presenting your calm voice, you will be heard and rise above the static. It’s a paradox that works every time. You just have to be patient.

You don’t need to shout. You just have to keep tapping away. You have to know what you want to say and keep saying it. Week by week, month by month, and people will hear you. It’s only a matter of time that they trust what you say, and when that happens, and you are off to the races.

That’s why patience is so important. It’s also a fruit of the Holy Spirit, so pray to receive it. God gave you a voice. Use it wisely, spread the message of your mission, and patiently watch more people listen to you. Plant seeds, then add water and let God do the growing, but he can’t grow if you don’t plant.

“I planted, Apollos watered, but God caused the growth.” – 1 Corinthians 3:6

A Catholic approach to getting heard

Today’s approach to Catholic fundraising requires a return to a traditional approach to being heard. This means following God’s approach to a calm and moderated voice when asking for people’s support. I recommend following these four steps which will help you find a more authentic voice when it comes to asking for money.

Pray – Take time to collect several examples of messages you’ve shared with people over the past six months. Reflect on how you got people’s attention by asking yourself, “was my voice clear, consistent, and tempered?”

Pray – Read chapters five and six of the Book of Sirach. Ask the Holy Spirit to help you have sincerity in speech and honesty in discourse. Write down your reflections on how you can have a consistent, present, and tempered voice.

Pray – Spend time quietly mapping out a 52-week plan for communicating your messages to Catholics. Make sure to balance your voice, so you aren’t just asking for donations. Focus on sharing information that helps people take action in your work. Also, consider the different mediums (the web, social media, email, letters, events) you will use to communicate your message.

Ask – Execute your 52-week communications plan. Be patient with getting your voice heard over the noise. Have faith that in time more and more people will turn to you.

Question: How can you make your voice heard when fundraising?

How to fundraise for your pro-life charity

Ever wonder how to fundraise for your pro-life charity?  Fundraising for pro-life charities is one of my favorite activities. I know that my work is helping one of the most important missions of the Catholic Church: saving lives of babies.

This week I want to share what I’ve seen works best in pro-life fundraising so that you can do more of what they do best.

When I speak to the leaders of pro-life causes, they frequently go straight to the point and ask, “How do I fundraise? I want to raise more money.” I understand why they are so direct because there’s no time to waste.

This is my response. “If you want to raise more money, you have to focus on your story. Don’t focus on money. I’m not saying you should never ask for donations. What I mean is that you have to get more and more people involved in your work by sharing your story 52 weeks of the year. Up the story telling. People have to know who you are, why you do it, and most importantly, how you do it. That’s your story, and people want to hear it.”

Therefore, the better question to ask is, “how can I share my story to more and more people about how I save lives?”

When you do this, I guarantee you’ll raise more funds, and fast. I know this because this is how I fundraise, and I get immediate and positive results.

As you attract people’s attention to your work, they trust you more. They see you as someone who they’d like to help, and when the time comes to donate, they do. Also, by focusing on storytelling and meeting people, you know who to ask, and in fundraising, this is key.

No more chasing. No more running. No more wasted time. Instead, you’re focused on your mission.

Too often pro-life organizations spending 10% of their time sharing stories and 90% of their time chasing people. Reverse this. You should spend 90% of your time sharing stories and 10% chasing.

Let me correct that. 90% sharing. 10% asking. 0% chasing.

The 3-Step Fundraising Plan for Pro-Life Fundraising

Here is my simple 3 step plan that any pro-life cause can follow to increase its donations quicker and easier.

1. Tell your story to 10 people a day

Rather than invite people to sign a petition or donate to a campaign, I challenge you to speak to 10 new people every day about what you do, how you do it and invite each of them to stay in touch. Don’t ask for a donation or sign a petition.

Just ask them to stay in touch with what is happening each week in your organization. Then, do this for for another month, and then another month. The goal is to do this for 12 months.

2. Have a clear and definitive beginning and end to each campaign

Run a three to four week long campaign, but only to those people who have been connected with you more than two months. I also recommend you have a clear start and end to the campaign because you will get significantly higher participation rates and donation levels.

Don’t run year long campaigns, as you give the impression to people that you constantly ask for money, and that can be draining.

3. Take care of those who God places in your life

Make sure to take care of your donors. Thank them personally. This means writing handwritten notes, calling them on the phone, and meeting with them in person. These actions will help you keep your donors year after year.

The easiest way to increase the amount you raise each year is to keep your donors. Also, by getting to know your donors, you will inspire them to increase their donations. This will increase your total amount raised dramatically in the next two to three years.

How to fundraise for your pro-life cause with more success (and less stress)

This is the simplest as most effective fundraising plan I’ve used. It’s worked for me, and I know it will work for you.

Fundraising should not be something that is holding you back. You are doing great work, and with this plan, you can do more.

If you want more help with how to fundraise, I recommend subscribing to my website which offers a library of free and Catholic content on how to raise funds.

Already, over 20,000 Catholics use CatholicFundraiser.net to help them improve their fundraising each month. Join the largest community of Catholics who want to do more of what they do best: save lives and souls.

I have a question for you: What is the one task you found most helpful for how to fundraise funds for a pro-life organization? (please respond below – I do want to hear from you, and I will respond)