Catholic Priest Explains How to Ask for Donations

Church Money Book Review Part 3

“Is there a Catholic way to fundraise?”

I hear this question all the time, practically every day.

Let me put your worries at ease. The answer is YES.

For the last two weeks, I shared with you the advice of a Catholic priest regarding the key facts every apostolate should know about fundraising.

Fr Michael is a Catholic priest in Baltimore and wrote a book titled Church Money: Rebuilding the Way We Fund Our Mission – Lessons from a Catholic Parish (Order through Ave Maria Press).

Today, I want to share Fr Michael’s recommendation on how to ask for a donation. Yes, this priest gives concrete advice on how to make the request. Check it out:

P.S. You will be surprised that he does NOT organize fundraising events, all the while raising more than the parish needs. Anyone with ears should listen to his advice.

Tired of YouTube?

You can watch this video on Rumble (the alternative to YouTube) below.

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, we are going to be looking at a book on Catholic fundraising, called ChurchMoney: Rebuilding the Way We Fund Our Mission,  written by a Catholic priest, from a Catholic parish, who has some great tips for us on how to ‘make the ask.’ So this is going to be a book review on how to make the ask, from a Catholic priest who has learned from his own experiences. So that’s what we are going to talk about today, but before we dive in a quick introduction… 

My name is Brice Sokolowski, the founder of CatholicFundraiser.net, the website dedicated to helping Catholics, just like you, with fundraising. So whether you’re just starting out or you’re an expert looking for new ideas, you’re in the right place.  As my gift to you, (before we go into three fundraising tips from this book) is to download, absolutely for free, my guide, The 10 Commandments to Catholic Fundraising. These are 10 lessons I’ve learned that I found to be extremely helpful when it comes to fundraising. So make sure you download it, absolutely free, from the link below, The 10 Commandments of Catholic Fundraising. 

Ok, now on to the book, ChurchMoney. I’ve done reviews of this kind before, that talk about the fundamentals of fundraising, and where we’re going to start today is talking about how to make the ask. What sets this book apart is that it is written from the successful firsthand experience of a Catholic priest, at a Catholic parish serving — not extravagant millionaires — but a humble, economically average, community. 

This book is a compilation of his tips, based on what he has learned. In reading through his advice, what I began to gather from his experience is that the number one step to asking is that you’ve got to get to know the people in your community. Now, I’m looking at my notes while we go through this, and you can too, just be sure that you go to my website, where you can print off everything that I’ve written, as well as these notes. You don’t have to worry about taking notes now or missing a beat. 

Now, back to that first piece of fundraising advice. You’ve got to get to know the people you’re going to ask. You can’t just ask strangers or people who barely know you. This book says knowing people helps, because you know why they might give, which is going to help you draft better fundraising campaigns, and offer more comfortable levels of giving. Again, it is very important to get to know people, to get to know your community. because you can’t just send out appeal letters and think, let the letter do the work, or make a speech or announcement and hope it does the heavy lifting for you. You’ve got to get to know people you want to ask and to earn their confidence, they have to know you, too. 

My second observation from reading this book is that you’ve got to exercise the same degree of discipline to your goal throughout the year. What’s been interesting about this parish and its success is that its priest, along with its fundraising director, hosts no fundraisers or special events. They do not do collections and never sell anything in their lobby. But — if you’re reading this book — you know that they have surpassed their fundraising goals, year after year after year! 

This humble little parish is always raising more money! So, the question is, how do you do this, without doing all the other things that everybody else seems to be doing? It starts with staying disciplined in their fundraising efforts throughout the entire year. And, when you go to CatholicFundraiser.net  and look at all my resources, you will see that it’s one of the things I have echoed as well: You’ve got to have a plan for the entire year. You’ve got to know what you are going to be doing, month by month. Don’t wait until the last minute of the ‘asking season.’, Don’t wait until Advent. Don’t wait until Christmas, You’ve got to stay disciplined, week after week, month after month, with your fundraising. 

My third observation from this book on making the ask is, what does this parish priest say is going to be helpful? He says to develop a template to follow when making individual asks, to better ensure they are easy and successful. This Catholic priest has pointed out what he’s going to say when he asks for support, including why he’s asking for it. Everything is outlined. He’s prepared, and his fundraising director has helped him know that, when he walks in, he knows exactly what to say and how to say it. This echoes another of my biggest personal recommendations about learning how to fundraise. You’ve got to have a plan. You have to know what you’re going to do and what needs to be done because you can’t guess your way through fundraising. It will only make your work more stressful, and stress increases your vulnerability to say the wrong thing at the wrong time (and you may have to fundraise even more to compensate for making that one mistake after another). 

So, definitely, be disciplined, get to know the people in your community or parish, and develop a template you can follow for how to ask. These are my recommendations on how to fundraise, which I found very, very helpful from this book, ChurchMoney: Rebuilding the Way We Fund Our Mission, by Rev. Michael White and Tom Corcoran. The award-winning authors of the Rebuilt Parish series have been successfully fundraising as Catholics for 20 years from the Church of the Nativity in Timonium, Maryland.

My only recommendation (and maybe they’ve already done it) would be to enhance the visual appeal of the parish (only because, I admit,  I’m a classical, “old school” kind of parish-type person). That would be my only, very small recommendation. But it looks like they’re very vibrant and they have a lot of things going on — so kudos to them! 

Overall, I think there are more than a few golden nuggets for you to find from this book. So I hope this book review has been helpful and please share this with somebody, share this with an apostolate that you think might benefit from the advice. May God love you and I look forward to speaking with you again in our next vlog podcast, or hearing from you in the comments below, or sending me an email. God bless.

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.

Please note: I reserve the right to delete comments that are offensive or off-topic. Mother Mary and Saint Joseph, protect us as we announce the good news of God's beloved Son, Jesus Christ.