Why modern fundraising doesn’t apply to Catholics

“God is the hearer, not of the voice, but of the heart.” – St Cyprian

Money comes to mind when we think of the word fundraising. The term can clearly be broken down into “fund” and “raise.” However, money is not the true root. “Fund” derives from the Latin word fundus which means, “the base of a bodily organ.”

a catholic approach to fundraising

‘Fund’ was used to describe someone’s financial foundation (the land they owned). It was then used to refer basic stock or capital. Today, the word fund has lost the base, reservoir, bodily roots and now refers strictly to money.

This financial focus when using the word “fund” has seeped into Catholic vocabulary, stripping us of its Latin heritage and human/bodily connection. The drifting and alienation of Catholic words are commonplace. Take for example the words: love, passion, and communion. Each word is used in secular context yet have profoundly different significances than in Catholicism.

Taking a Different Approach to Fundraising

Should we continue to follow everyone else’s financial focus when speaking of “fundraising”? I recommend we return to the word’s roots.

As Catholics, we are part of the body of Christ, the Catholic Church. Our mission is to bring his Kingdom to others. I, therefore, invite you to view fundraising as above all human and not financial.

“But how,” you might ask, “can we re-align Catholic fundraising while still raising resources and money?” Simple. We carry out the most human/bodily act possible: prayer.

My 10 Recommendations for Prayer-centered Fundraising:

Within your organization:* Write a set prayer for your Catholic Charity/Non-Profit

* Write a set prayer for your Catholic Charity/Non-Profit
* Choose a patron saint to intercede for you
* Participate in daily communal prayer
* Encourage colleagues to remember you in their personal prayers
* Be under the guidance of a Spiritual Director

With followers, potential donors and donors:* Ask them to pray for you

* Ask them to pray for you
* Pray for them
* Invite them to communal prayer/worship events (rather than simply fundraising events)
* Foster relationships rather than donations
* Ask colleagues to pray for your organization within their parishes and prayer networks. You and they will likely be amazed at the seeds this approach sows

This does not mean you never ask for money

Adopting a prayerful approach doesn’t mean that you stop asking for money. On the contrary. Many Catholic organizations shy away from this responsibility altogether which I do not recommend. Yes, I know asking for donations can be a challenge. This is why we pray.

Prayer gives us the courage to do the things we are most afraid to do. God always offers us two things: the graces to do what we think is impossible and the people to help us achieve them. We must be willing to accept His blessings and respond accordingly.

Discussion question: Prayer has direction and purpose. What direction are we leading our donors in?

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