How to raise 1 billion dollars for Catholic charities

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.

So, if you want access to what Caritas is doing to raise $1 billion dollars and learn how you can use these same methods, subscribe today by clicking here.

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.

How a Catholic American is thriving in Secular France

I was recently on the Jennifer Fulwiler show to talk about my book, Alms: Your Definitive Guide to the Ins and Outs of Catholic fundraising.

To get a free copy of the book, jump to this page. (Warning: there is a LIMITED supply. So, first come, first serve.)

However, we spent most of the time talking about my experience as a Catholic American living in France. (I didn’t mind the detour because my extraordinary life is all thanks to having faith in God that writing this book was necessary.)

More than likely, if you don’t live in Europe, you may think France is predominantly secular and rapidly losing its Catholic heritage and culture.

Well, I’m happy to say that it’s not entirely accurate.

Catholicism is pressing forward and battling the countless heresies (secularism, relativism, modernism) we face.

And through my work of helping Catholic charities, parishes, dioceses, religious orders, and lay apostolates, I see first hand the good news stories of how Catholicism is still alive.

Here are four examples of how I am living a Catholic life deep in the heart of France.

1. I’m surrounded by Catholicism

I don’t need to jump in a car and drive 30 minutes to find something Catholic. Every morning, noon, and evening, the 15th-century church next door to my home rings the Angelus bells. The call to prayer is sounded throughout the village.

Also, I don’t even need a car to get to Mass or visit a chapel. I can walk within 15-minutes to about seven chapels and churches from my home.

#provencefrance passed Notre Dame de la Brume on my bike ride today

A post shared by Brice So-ko-low-ski (@bricesokolowski) on

In fact, I don’t own a car. Everything I need to live is within a .2 mile radius. That includes the grocery store, supermarket, baker, car shop, dry cleaner, and restaurants.

I also personally know the four priests of my village who organize a parish event most weekend. This weekend, I am traveling 30 minutes (this is far for me!) to the Cistercian Abbey of Senanque.

And a little over an hour from my home is the spectacular Basilica of Saint Marie-Madeleine which holds the relics of Mary Magdalene.

2. I’m surrounded by monasteries and convents

I already mentioned the Cistercian Abbey of Senanque. Though within a 30-minute radius of my home, I can visit eight religious monastic communities. Most of them are full of young religious, too.

I love where I live because in between work meetings I get to do sightseeing. #lovelife #hustle #vaucluse #provence

A post shared by Brice So-ko-low-ski (@bricesokolowski) on

The Cistercian Abbaye Notre-Dame de Bon-Secours:

Carmelite Retreat Center, Notre Dame de Vie:

Cistercian Abbaye Notre-Dame de Sénanque:

Benedictine Abbaye Sainte-Madeleine du Barroux:

Benedictine Abbaye Abbaye Notre-Dame de l’Annonciation: see the Barroux’s website

Monastère des Redemptoristines:

Clarists of Montfavet:

Norbertine Canon Regulars of St-Michel de Frigolet:

3. My day-to-day allows me time to have a spiritual life

When I worked in the corporate world, I would be working 60 hours a week, coming home late most evenings, and sometimes working on the weekends.

Today, I am not stressed by the constant demands of our modern culture to push, push, and push some more.

I’ve chosen a balanced life and benefited greatly from it. Yes, I’ve given up a few perks, but I’ve gained so many others. I have more time for daily meditation, spiritual reading, weekday Mass, and adoration.

Nature also surrounds me. With minutes, I can walk through vineyard fields and pray my rosary.

I can also connect frequently with religious people, giving me, even more, nourishment for my mind, body, and soul.

4. I can pursue my vocation 24/7 to help Catholics fundraise

I travel the world from where I live to help Catholics fundraise better so they can do more of what they do best: save lives and souls.

Next week I am going to Vienna for a fundraising conference with Caritas Internationalis, the Vatican’s charitable arm that is active in 44 countries. Caritas raises of $1 billion dollars a year to fund its charitable activities.

And two weeks later, I travel to Rome to prepare for a fundraising conference/pilgrimage later this year.

I highly recommend attending this pilgrimage/conference if you are a fundraiser for a Catholic diocese, parish, charity, religious order, or lay apostolate. You can learn more at this link:

The benefits of pursuing your vocation

I’m blessed to be an American living in France because, as St Theresa of Lisieux says, “confidence and nothing but confidence leads us to Love.” I didn’t know things would end up like this, but I had confidence God would take care of me.

You could call “confidence” faith, which is one of St Theresa’s key ingredients to her Little Way.

I’ve had my ups and downs, with my confidence and faith dwindling at times, but I’ve offered this to Jesus, and he’s helped me persevere to today.

Question: How is God blessing you today?

Alms Book Fundraising

Why Catholics Don’t Give… And What Can Be Done About It

Ever wonder why Catholics don’t give to you? There’s a book that answers this question. Why Catholics Don’t Give… And What Can Be Done About it by Charles Zech is a must read for any Catholic fundraiser. Published by Our Sunday Visitor, the book was commissioned specifically to understand the giving landscape of the Catholic Church in the United States.

A religious nun recommended that I read this book, and I am so happy that she did. The chapters are a gold mine for understanding what works and what doesn’t.

Charles Zech offers an analysis of every situation, including planned giving, capital campaigns, religious order giving, and even generational differences. From the data he collected, he offers practical steps for how to successfully fundraising in a Catholic context.

As a result, you have a fact-based foundation for achieving your fundraising goals.

Alms Book Fundraising

Things that you thought were important (average parishioner income and parish size) are not, and things you thought were not important (prayer groups and community) are vital to the success of a fundraising campaign.

You will also be amazed at how simple the recommendations are which are also backed up by research. I recommend you purchase a copy today and read it cover to cover.

10 lessons from Why Catholics Don’t Give… And What Can Be Done About it

Here is my list my top-ten lessons from the book.

Focus on community. People don’t give when there is a decline of community and confusion about purpose. Therefore, concentrate on building community and clarifying your purpose. Donations always follow.

Build your community. Whatever approach you take to raising funds, you should be aware that community building must begin. It’s a continuous undertaking that never ends.

Allow for feedback. Give people opportunities to be consulted and have direct input into the decision-making process. They want open discussions, transparency, and accountability in decisions.

Go beyond the money. Stewardship (and fundraising) must go beyond raising funds. You must maintain the highest standards of integrity and honesty in all matters, allowing people to see that you steward everything (not just money) around you.

Minimize the use of volunteers. If you want to develop the time and talent portions of giving, it is important to impress on people that the time and talent that they do contribute should be viewed as ministry, not merely as volunteer activity

Institute pledging. Those who make a financial commitment through pledges contribute more. Pledging works and people who pledge are better givers. Online giving is a great form of pledging.

Meet the needs of your supporters. Catholics have failed to learn the joy of giving because most Catholic institutions fail to assist them in the conversion of their minds and hearts. When you respond to the needs of your supporters and followers, giving goes up.

Offer Estate Planning as an option. Remind donors that contributing through estate planning is good stewardship. Remind your donors occasionally the possibility of doing this.

Fundraising is what we do; stewardship is who we are. Fundraising is one-dimensional, often focused on the checkbook, while stewardship invites us to change our hearts. Fundraising typically occurs annually, while stewardship is an ongoing commitment.

Start a prayer or study group. Of all the parish programs and activities you can offer, the sponsorship of prayer or study groups at church significantly affected contributions.

Discussion question: Do you see any of these lessons active in your fundraising? What could you do to address them? [Please do share your thoughts below.]



Why Catholics are Terrible At Fundraising (And What to Do About it)

I’ve been fundraising for Catholic organizations for several years now, and I have been blessed to meet so many incredible Catholics who work and volunteer for them.

Why Catholics are Terrible at Fundraising

Most Catholics get involved because they want to make a difference. They want to help a cause that is bigger than them. They love their Catholic faith and are passionate about helping others. I am delighted to meet so many of these people, as they motivate me to keep helping Catholics raise money to do extraordinary things.

However, when they come to me for assistance, I find their challenges with fundraising usually revolve around one key issue: Catholics find it difficult to explain concisely and clearly what they do. This challenge is not unique to appeals either.

It’s important that you can explain your mission even before you ask for donations. Therefore, to improve your fundraising, I recommend you do the following five steps:

  1. Know how exactly how to articulate what you do (in one to two sentences).
  2. Share what you do with other Catholics (without asking for money)
  3. Provide opportunities for Catholics to learn what you do
  4. Regularly share stories of how you are succeeding in your work
  5. Build relationships with people (especially your donors)

The biggest roadblocks in fundraising aren’t about asking for money because it goes beyond asking people for donations. Yes, you heard me. Fundraising is about connecting with people and inspiring them to give.

If you can connect with them, you can inspire them. And, if they are inspired, they will donate.

Discussion Question: How can you tell your charity’s story better to the people around you? (Please leave a comment below)



Why is my pastor always asking me for money?

All of us have heard this question and may even have voiced it ourselves. There are at least three reasons why pastors ask the people at Mass for their participation and their stewardship.

why is my pastor always asking me for money?

Reason #1 – Funds are required to support activities

The first reason is that the Church is like any other active organization, and needs funds to carry out the Mission of the Church. Unlike some other organizations, it is a non-profit and relies on volunteers and donations/gifts.

Reason #2 – Asking people also informs them of activities

The second is that the process of asking gives the pastor an opportunity to inform the people about the parish’s ministries and services, the needs and services of the Diocese, and the needs of the universal Church.

Reason #3 – Provides people an opportunity to participate

The third reason is that it provides the people opportunities to participate and to exercise their own stewardship.

What does the Church do with all that money?

Today, a large percentage of people (particularly in the U.S.A.) receive their medical care at a Catholic hospital. The Church teaches 3 million students a day in its
– 250+ Catholic Colleges and Universities
– 1200+ Catholic high schools
– 5000+ Catholic grade schools.

Every day, the Church feeds, clothes, shelters and educates more people than probably any other organization in the world.

The Church itself is very large; over 1.2 billion Catholics worldwide. It requires funds for its sustenance and to continue its broad array of ministry and services, here in the Diocese of Santa Rosa, throughout the United States, and around the world.

What many of us don’t pause to consider or realize is that the money to fund all these works of the Church must come from the faithful in the parishes, and the pastor must be the one who makes the request. The most opportune time and place to make those requests are at Mass on Sunday.

Our service goes beyond our parish to serve the Church

Our pastors, men who were drawn to their calling, their vocation, by their desire to serve God and God’s people, are the administrators of parishes, missions, schools and other activities.

We ask our faithful to fund the parish and the universal Church on an “as-required” basis, and it is the pastor who is most often called upon to make the request.

Pastors must ask for money to meet the needs of:
– The parish
– The school if the parish has one (typically, the “first” collection)
– The community projects such as homeless services, food kitchens, clothing drives, etc., and to meet the needs of the diocese (e.g., the Annual Ministry Appeal).

Parishes hold regular second collections for the special needs of the parish such as a building fund to maintain the physical property, for the St. Vincent de Paul Society that provides parish outreach to the less fortunate, or to support the activities of a school.

In addition to the Annual Ministry Appeal, the bishops of our country, as a group, ask every diocese and parish to support a list of 12 special collections each year.

When large tragedies strike anywhere in the world (e.g., an earthquake in Chile, a typhoon in the Philippines, a famine in Africa, or a fire in Lake County) we take up special collections to help meet the needs in the stricken area. Infrequently, we allow some other deserving group to ask our parishioners for help, and often, the pastor makes the request for that outside group.

Donor fatigue is a reality. So is priest fatigue!

Those of us who are parishioners can feel “donor fatigue.” We are tired of giving, and we are tired of being asked to give. We, unfortunately, focus our discontent on the pastor who makes these requests.

We think he asks too often and for too much. Often, we do not think about it from the pastor’s perspective – a man who suffers from “asking fatigue.” They are more tired of asking than we are being asked.

Our shared responsibility as Catholics in a Universal Church

In the final analysis, this process is a shared responsibility. The pastor must ask because, in addition to his other responsibilities, he is the administrator of the temporal activities of the parish. We should respond as our capability allows because our baptism calls us to be disciples of Christ, and one responsibility of a disciple is to act as good stewards of all the gifts God has entrusted to us.

The next time our pastor asks us for a donation, let’s consider what has been outlined above and give thanks to God that we have a leader who is willing to encourage us in the stewardship of our parish community. Maybe such consideration will also encourage us to be even more generous as we respond to the requests!

The article was written by Deacon John Norris from the Diocese of Santa Rosa, California. He is the Diocesan Director of Development. You can contact Deacon John via email at

Question: What do you think about how often your pastor asks for money?