A Catholic Priest’s Advice on End-of-Year Giving, “Don’t Ask”

Make sure to get your free copy of ‘The 10 Commandment 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.
End-of-year fundraising is on most Catholic causes and non-profits to-do lists this time of year. So I thought it would be a great time to share the advise a parish priest once gave to me. He had observed, after a few years as their priest, what inspired his parishioners not only to give but also not to give. He thought if he could only do more of what inspired them to give, then more parishioners would donate. Year after year, he fine-tuned his process for end-of-year giving and was able to boost his weekly collection by 30%. That’s really good, but when you read how he actually did it, it’s even more amazing.
Here is what one parish priest did:
Are you on the go? No worries! You can also listen to this article via audio podcast on SoundCloud. Click the link below this message and stream this article and many more right on your phone.

Step 1 – Do not directly ask for money

This sounds like the exact opposite of what to do, wouldn’t you agree? That’s what I thought, too! The priest decided not to ask his parishioners for donations for two reasons. First, he believed that people already gave what they could. People may not have as much extra money as we think they do. Secondly, after putting himself in their position, he asked himself the bigger question, “Why would I contribute more if I had the sense that nothing more was being done?” He believed that one of the biggest reasons people were not giving was because they didn’t think it would make a difference. The last thing anyone wants is to donate funds and see nothing happen… So the priest decided not to ask. Instead, he went on being the best parish priest that he could be, which meant focusing on the parish mission and help his flock become saints.

Step 2 – Limit (or eradicate) non-essential spending

Continuing along with the approach that people won’t give unless they think their donation will actually make a difference, the priest cut out all non-essential spending so his parishioners would see how their current contributions were not being wasted. In my experience, this is definitely a wise move. The Catholic causes that can demonstrate — not just talk about — how their funds are being used wisely will always raise the most funds. I reviewed a fantastic book, Grateful and Giving, by Monsignor Thomas McGread, a priest in the Diocese of Wichita, Kansas which goes into even more detail on how parishes and Catholic non-profits should approach fundraising.

Monsignor Thomas McGread, a priest in the Diocese of Wichita, Kansas, is well known for his work across the United States in fundraising. He developed an approach called The Stewardship Model, which has helped parishes, dioceses, and national organizations (such as the United States Bishops Conference) raise millions of dollars. You could say he’s the #1 ranked priest in the United States when it comes to how to fundraise for the Catholic Church. #Catholic #catholics #catholichurch #vatican #saint #pope #popefrancis #catholicmemes #catholicmom #sacredscripture #tridentinemass #holytrinity #lifeofacatholic #Catholicfaith #catholicfamily #jesus #FaithfulRomanCatholic #mothermary #catholicrosary #holyfamily #catholicfaith #catholiclife #saint #saints #sacredscripture #jesuschrist #rosary #catholicrosary

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

Step 3. Encouraged people with little things

Having demonstrated how he could save his parish more money,, the priest made every effort to use their money more efficiently, and in ways that made a visible difference.. He focused on using their contributions in ways that earmarked clear and visible progress, even if it was as simple or mundane as new Christmas decorations or vestments. Here is an article that I wrote which lists seven steps you can take to inspire people to donate, without asking directly.

Step 4 – Give regular updates on how things were going

Almost every week, the priest gave his parishioners an update on what work had been done and how much it had cost. By doing so, they felt included in the decisions and could see that he was being transparent. Just as importantly, he would frequently speak about the state of the parish finances on Sundays and explicitly state that he was not asking them to contribute more. Parishioners were automatically moved by his openness and commitment to do all that he could with the current level of donations. It also moved them to give more. Here is an article that I wrote about the key actions a leadership team of a Catholic cause must take to ensure transparency and commitment.

Question: How can you better inspire Catholics to donate?

Please leave your thoughts and comments below.

Make sure to get your free copy of ‘The 10 Commandment 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.

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.

Please note: I reserve the right to delete comments that are offensive or off-topic.