3 Fundraising Skills Every Catholic Apostolate Should Have

Nobody knows how to fundraise when they start.

Even I was naive during my first campaigns!

We all start in the same spot – zero knowledge and zero experience.

Just like with any activity, you have to learn along the way. Today, I want to share three essential fundraising skills that I think every Catholic apostolate should know.

Whether you are starting to raise funds or looking for some new ideas, you should know these three skills:

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Other articles you might be interested in:

“Who Really Cares” – Who donates and how to ask them to give

3 Common Questions about Fundraising Answered

Fundraising Tips from Saint Augustine of Hippo

Make sure to get your free copy of ‘The 10 Commandments of Catholic Fundraising’. It’s a book that highlights the ten tasks you should do to keep you focused on your mission and hit your fundraising target, every time.

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Question: Which saint, Catholic document, or Church teaching has given you great advice on how to raise funds? Please leave your comment below.

Transcript

Greetings, my fellow Catholics! Today, I am going to be walking you through the three skills that I think you and every Catholic apostolate out there today must-have when it comes to successful fundraising. I am going to share three great skills that you need to have and, I think the last one is going to pull everything together, so stick around to the very end. You’re really going to enjoy these next few minutes. 

Hi, I’m Brice Sokolowski, founder of CatholicFundraiser.net, the website and apostolate resource for anything you could possibly imagine when it comes to helping you with your fundraising. That’s what I do. That’s the whole reason for this resource: helping Catholics just like you to navigate the same challenges that a lot of other Catholics find themselves in, asking the question, how the heck do I do this? That’s what I try to answer while helping to get you moving forward again. 

Obviously, we’re going to be talking about some very important things today regarding fundraising skills, but first, I want to make sure that you download — absolutely for free — my guide, The 10 Commandments to Catholic Fundraising. I’ve got my copyright here and you can download your printed copy right now just by clicking below. It contains 10 things that I have found very, very effective when it comes to fundraising in alignment with your faith and the mission behind your fundraising. So make sure that you download now, The 10 Commandments to Catholic Fundraising. The link will be right below or just jump over to CatholicFundraiser.net. 

Okay: Three skills every Catholic should have when it comes to fundraising. Let me break it down… 

Number one is, shift your perspective of the internet. The reason I say this is number one on my list is that the internet can connect you to thousands, tens of thousands, hundreds of thousands, millions of people. This is its capability. I do understand how you may feel though. In the beginning, I struggled with this, too, as many Catholic apostolates still do. This is because, for the most part, we have passively consumed the internet. We go online, maybe do some online shopping, check our social media accounts and the news.  We simply digest content, behaving like mere recipients of what is out there on the internet. Now, my recommendation to you is to really try and limit your consumption of the internet and shift more to producing your own content to put out there, especially when it comes to content and news about your apostolate. 

Instead of digesting the news, become the news. Instead of reading about what other people are doing, tell people what you’re doing.  Shift your attention and your relationship with the internet into that of becoming somebody who’s not afraid of using this incredible tool and all that it has to offer, to connect you with millions of possible donors. So that’s my first piece of advice. Shift the focus of your internet activities. 

My second piece of advice is, learn to listen. I understand this can be harder than it seems, especially when you’re going out there and telling people what your apostolate is all about. Especially if you’re hosting an event, you’re meeting people, you’re on social media, where we want to be telling people what it is that we do (that was pretty much my first point). 

But… we have to learn how to balance talking to someone with listening to (and watching) their response. Finding donors starts with learning how to listen to people. You have to learn to build relationships with individuals. For example, let’s look at the internet. It can give you the opportunity to connect with tens of thousands of people, but it’s still going to be up to you to figure out how to build relationships with them. It’s not an easy task. That’s why most people either avoid addressing it, or struggle with the effort. But the ones that do? The apostolates that learn to listen also learn that they can get a lot more out of their community and supporters. When they pay attention, they learn how people perceive them, so they can tell their story a little bit better. The result is they also find donors more easily, too. So my second big piece of advice is, learn to listen, regardless of whether it’s on the internet or actually meeting people, learn to listen. Try and balance sharing the story of what it is that you’re doing with listening to the responses you receive. 

My third and final tip is, learn to find and accept help. The worst thing that you can do with fundraising is trying to guess how it’s done and try to presume well, these people are doing This or That, so it must work. No. That’s more like the blind leading the blind, although sadly, a lot of apostolates out there, as well as nonprofits both Catholic and non-Catholic, really don’t know what they’re doing. Or you’re not seeing the full fundraising and still trying to figure out, how did they raise that? Maybe it’s an apostolate that, let’s say they raised a million dollars, so you go to their website, or maybe they’ve sent an email or letter, but the question remains: What is it really that they did, collectively, to raise all that money? Usually, there’s a lot of different stories going on in the background (and deserving to be told) that help drive the success of fundraising campaigns. 

So please, I really recommend that you start your search for help by visiting CatholicFundraiser.net. I’ve got waiting for you my guide, The 10 Commandments to Catholic Fundraising that you can download for free, plus I have written a book, Alms, on the ins and outs of Catholic fundraising, as well as plenty of other resources and different materials. I really recommend that you don’t just guess your way through fundraising and how it’s done. Don’t just say, well, God will take care of it. I’m going to try my best and God will fill in the gaps. 

That’s not how it works. God, especially when it comes to fundraising, doesn’t just “fill in the gaps.” That’s not how He operates (at least, I am willing to think, as a fundraiser). I really haven’t seen the gap-filling theory work in fundraising. Sure, you may get some generous donations here and there, but God is encouraging us to use the lessons of the parable of the virtues. He has given us plenty of gifts. He has given us our intellect, our knowledge, our wisdom to know when to be prudent. He has blessed us with all of these things. So, when I hear people sigh, Well, I’m just going to do the best that I can… My question is, are you using all of God’s talents, that He has given to you, including seeking out potential assistance? Have you sought out every somebody you know,  who may know someone or something that you don’t? That’s why I say, click over to CatholicFundraiser.net because that’s where you will find more little “tricks of the trade” that are likely to help you, too.

So anyway, that’s it for me! I hope that you found these three pieces of advice helpful,and if so please share this with an apostolate,  share this with a religious order that you know, or just share this with somebody that you think could benefit from it. God loves you and I will speak to you soon, bye!

Want to fundraise more for your Catholic apostolate?

Make sure to get your free copy of ‘The 10 Commandments of Catholic Fundraising’. It’s a book that highlights the ten tasks you should do to keep you focused on your mission and hit your fundraising target, every time.

Click here to subscribe

Brice was born and raised Catholic. After enjoying a successful career in technology consulting with Accenture and PriceWaterhouseCoopers in cities across the United States (Dallas, San Francisco, Paris, Abu Dhabi, and London) around the world, he left it to help his Catholic diocese in London, England with a fundraising campaign. The campaign went on to raise over $60 million, the largest sum ever raised for the diocese and in the United Kingdom.

Learning from professional fundraisers, he figured out the basics and then left the diocese to focus on what he loves most: building Catholic charities that change the culture, save lives, and save souls.

Brice currently lives in Texas and travels the world helping Catholics fundraise. This website is where he shares what he is doing and how he is raising funds for Catholic causes and missions. That way you can move more quickly with your next appeal.