I recently spoke with the manager of a Catholic conference that aims to educate, inspire and empower her community. While chatting, she asked me how to properly train herself — and her board — to fundraise.
Their goal was to get out of what had become a ‘slump’ in their fundraising.
I am often asked, “How do I get out of my slump?” When you feel God is nudging you to ‘up your game’, do you wonder how to respond? Does it sometimes feel like the right response is to raise more funds?
Saint Thomas of Aquinas was a master at finding the right answers to the tough questions. But before he answered a question, he made sure it was the right question being answered.
NOTICE: Have you checked to confirm that you’re allowed to run a fundraising campaign for your Catholic charity, religious order, cause, or parish?
Catholic bishops, particularly in the US, have strict guidelines about who can run a campaign. Meaning, you may have to stop before you even consider starting to fundraise.
When it comes to fundraising, we all want to follow the right protocol to make sure that people (especially bishops) understand that the money raised is going to a great cause.
Canon Law 1262 notifies Catholics that they are to give support to Catholic appeals; it also states how Catholic entities are allowed to ask for that support:
Can. 1262 – The faithful are to give support to the Church by responding to appeals and according to the norms issued by the conference of bishops.
However, this decree doesn’t apply to everyone. We all have come across causes that call themselves Catholic but, if you look carefully, they are, in fact, not. Rather, they use the label to attract the attention of Catholics but — intentionally or not — distort Church teaching and use the funds raised towards unorthodox views.
Every week, so many wonderful Catholics ask me, How can I get better at fundraising? One of the most important things that you can do to make this happen is to increase your level of commitment. Many of us focus on getting others to become more committed, but this isn’t where you should start.
Fundraising is about getting people so passionate about your cause that they want to support you financially. How to do this? You’ve got to increase people’s level of commitment — one step at a time — until they reach this desired goal.
The decision to financially support your church or cause and its efforts only happen after many other decisions have been made. Until you help people reach this level, you’ll stay where you are with your fundraising.
There’s a recurring perspective in the nonprofit world that you cannot give someone anything in exchange for a donation. This notion is false because you must give every person something. However, it should not be some tangible gift. Instead, you must give the person more in mission value than he or she gives in cash value. Meaning, donors see their money going into your cause as being of more value than staying in their hands (or wallet).
I’ve got good news. If you commit to increasing your mission’s value, then you will automatically take positive steps to increase your fundraising.
Want to listen on the go? Check out the audio version of this article.
Raising your commitment to your cause
It’s so easy for busy Catholics to rush through a campaign at warp speed. They push through the fundraising without stopping to figure out where they’re going, who they’re helping, or what all these funds will help do. As a result, people are unclear about what will be done with their donations and thus hesitate to give.
I helped one diocese raise $50 million; I’ve doubled another charity’s revenue for three consecutive years; and I helped a Catholic apostolate raise six figures’ worth of donations from just one email. All of this seemed impossible to me at first, but in looking back, I realize that my commitment to sharing the value of each mission was at the core of each success.
Here are three simple hacks you can increase your commitment which can then raise the value of your cause.
Hack #1. Improve your fundraising skills
We can’t talk about fundraising without knowing how to do it. Your skills can boost or crash your results faster than anything else. Like the virtues, you’ve got to learn how to perform them. The Catechism teaches us that you acquire the virtues by learning what they are and taking repeated actions to do them. You therefore must educate yourself about how to fundraise and how to fundraise well. This is done by spending time reading, watching, and listening to training material.
I recommend registering for one of my online courses that teach you how to fundraise. The courses include major donor fundraising, internet fundraising, campaign fundraising, and how to become a success development director.
Human virtues acquired by education, by deliberate acts and by a perseverance ever-renewed in repeated efforts are purified and elevated by divine grace. – CCC 1810
Hack #2. Get a fundraising coach
I’m a strong advocate for surrounding yourself with the right people. This definitely applies to fundraising. Some people choose to hire a fundraiser, but most of us don’t have the funds to do so. The best alternative is to hire a fundraising coach who will teach you how to do it for yourself. This option is both a tremendous benefit and investment for you because the best fundraising always happens from within an organization. Donors and prospects always want to hear directly from the leadership rather than a fundraiser.
Each week, I provide one-to-one coaching to Catholic organizations. Together, we plan, develop, and launch initiatives to raise funds. To start your coaching sessions, contact me today by clicking this link.
Hack #3. Work on it every day
When it comes to fundraising, you’ve got to show up every day. You can’t leave it to the last-minute or push it aside for months at a time.
As I said earlier, people donate because they are passionate about your cause and see their money as getting more constructively used in your hands than in their pockets. I’m not saying that you have to ask people for money every day, but you’ve got to be watching who God brings into your life and how to get them involved.
Whether that means sending thank you letters, personally calling donors, or simply sharing updates about your mission, you’ve got to work at inspiring people every day.
When you inspire people each day with what you are doing to realize your — and their — mission, you are planting the seeds of your fundraising.
To learn what to do each day to increase daily commitment, I recommend ordering a copy of my book, Alms, which outlines the essential tasks any Catholic should be taking.
Here are your next steps
As a fundraiser helping hundreds of Catholic causes, I have seen amazing things happen when we increase commitment to our missions. We have more confidence and clarity in our donation requests, we gain more people around us to ask, more donors continue supporting us, and we grow more and deeper faith that we are doing what God wants.
Question: How will you raise your commitment today to your Catholic cause? You can leave a comment by clicking here.
This week I am in Bratislava speaking at a fundraising conference by Caritas Internationalis, the Vatican’s arm of charitable work and responsible for raising $1 billion in donations per year.
That’s one BILLON; otherwise known as a lot of money.
I’m offering six workshops on how to fundraise better which I want to share with you. You will find this information incredibly useful because you get behind the scenes with us on how to improve your fundraising in today’s 21st-century landscape.
The majority of Catholic dioceses, parishes, religious orders, charities, schools and lay apostolates still depend on out-dated tactics such as direct mail, church appeals, external consultants, and event fundraising. All of these methods require lots of time to prepare, lots of money, and, most importantly, deviate your focus from the mission.
Thankfully the world of fundraising has moved on from these old, rusted ways, and what’s even better, we have more opportunities to ask for money in a more Catholic way.
However, are you still in the old or moving into the new?
Get VIP access to all the presentations
The focus of my workshops is to show how you can fundraise in today’s landscape without spending lots of time, effort, and money. Plus, I base my approach on two main sources: Catholic Social Teaching and the Catechism of the Catholic Church.
This way you stay focused on what you want to do: your mission, which is to save lives and souls.
I am giving private access to the presentations ONLY to those people who subscribe to my website.
These presentations and information are available only to those people who act today. If you read this and it’s past June 22nd, I’m sorry. You missed out. I won’t be giving this opportunity again.
Six fundraising workshops that will improve how you fundraise
Below I’ve listed the six different topics that I cover.
Workshop 1: How to Leverage Change in Fundraising
I explain how fundraising has dramatically changed in the past five years, and these changes benefit Catholic organizations. I take about how you can leverage technology to reach more people.
I also talk about how you can become more authentic in your approach which will automatically attract more people to donate.
Workshop 2: Keeping Prayer at the Center of Fundraising
Prayer is not a topic most fundraisers discuss, other than asking people to pray that the campaign raises money. I explain why prayer is the fundamental part of your fundraising.
Without it, you will struggle because you are forgetting the divine aspect of your work.
Workshop 3: How to Build a Fundraising Plan
Most campaigns don’t reach their targets because they don’t have a plan. The key to long-term success is to have a plan which outlines what you do, when you do it, and how to improve along the way.
I talk about the measurements and actions you have to take to make this happen and keep you on track.
Workshop 4: The Fundraising Mindset
Fundraising is stressful, and it’s likely something you didn’t imagine yourself doing. I explain how to stay motivated, how to engage with your team, how to stay positive, and how to keep going when things get tough.
Workshop 5: The 10 Habits of a Great Catholic Fundraiser
Like the spiritual life, we have to follow daily habits to keep us on the straight and narrow. I give my top 10 habits along with helpful tools to keep you going and adjust when things get tough.
Workshop 6: How to Attract Donors
What does it take to get Catholics to donate to you? I explain what works and doesn’t work. In fact, I outline the seven things you can do which will guarantee you more donors. I also explain how to become the next iconic charity.
Get access to all six presentations by subscribing today
To get access to these presentations and content, make sure to subscribe today by clicking here. This opportunity will only happen once, and once the opportunity has passed, the presentations and content on how to fundraising like Caritas (which raises $1 billion a year) will no longer be made available.