“Donate? … The Church already has millions!”

How to respond to negative remarks when you are fundraising

You’ve likely come across someone respond to your donation request like this:

“Donate? You want me to donate? … Aren’t you embarrassed? … The Church already has millions!”

Or, maybe someone was even more critical in their response…

When fundraising, you are bound to come across these types of responses. It can be deflating when you do. Worse, you can second guess your campaign is the right move.

I’ve come across my fair share of critical remarks, and here’s how I respond.

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How do you respond when people say, the Church already has billions? That’s the topic that we’re going to be looking at today when it comes to fundraising for your Catholic apostolate: How to overcome the discouraging responses that the Church already has “so much money.”

My name is Brice Sokolowski, and I’m the founder of CatholicFundraiser.net, the website that is helping Catholics with their fundraising.

Now, before we dive in I want to make sure that you download — absolutely for free — my guide, The 10 Commandments to Catholic Fundraising. This guide will show you the top 10 steps that I really recommend Catholic fundraisers should be doing on a regular basis if they’re really looking to improve their fundraising. I have found this guide helps me stay aligned with my faith and my mission, and I don’t get lost in what can sometimes feel like a giant abyss of fundraising! So please make sure that you download my guide, that has already been downloaded by thousands of Catholics, and has received an overall consensus of ‘thumbs up!’ I’ve even heard from nuns, who have responded, and shared comments and suggestions on how to improve it. So make sure that you download, absolutely for free, The 10 Commandments to Catholic Fundraising.

Okay, The big topic: how to respond to potential donors who say, “The Church already has lots of money.” How do you respond to this?

Step one is to acknowledge that observation and say, Yes, the Church does have lots of money. But what does that mean for your apostolate? Does your parish have all that money? The answer is no, because the Catholic Church works off of alms.

I guess this is part of the doctrine of social teaching. It’s just a common practice of how to operate its subsidiaries. So there’s this model where everyone is more or less independent. You’re part of an organization, but you’re not necessarily, you know, sharing your resources all the time. For example, Texas doesn’t necessarily share everything with Oklahoma, despite the fact that it’s obvious that both are part of the same United States. But we’re not sharing our resources.

It’s the same with the Catholic Church. It is separate. And, yes, the Catholic Church does have a lot of money, but that doesn’t necessarily mean that you do, because that’s just the way things operate. So first and foremost, don’t disagree with them. Say yes, it has more money but we’re separate. We’re under one umbrella, we’re under one Holy Spirit, one Catholic church, but it doesn’t necessarily mean we’re sharing everything. Then you can address the challenge of asking people to share some more.

The Catholic Church has 2000 years of experience building, creating, and expanding organizations. The largest companies, largest countries, the most prominent governments, are usually the ones that have been around for a while. So here we are, 2000 years later and we’re blessed to have all of this experience at our disposal! But it’s not to say that we can sell chapels, cathedrals, missions, convents, monasteries, paintings, architecture, artwork, as assets or property. That’s what makes the Catholic Church even more beautiful and celebrates all aspects of its religion.

When you are speaking to Catholics say, Look, we’re blessed to have this patrimony that’s been handed to us and we need to take care of it. I personally wouldn’t want to be the generation that sells everything. All of these beautiful things that the Church owns are here to help us get closer to God. So you can’t really see them as assets to sell, because that’s the beauty of the Catholic Church. And even if you’re tempted to sell just a “little bit” so as to feed the hungry, the poor, there are definitely things that we can do and yes, possibly there are some things that could be sold. But for the most part, when you bring people into our Church, one of the great experiences we have to share is helping them see the beauty of our faith. So if we sell everything off, our art, our properties, etc., then the Church becomes just like any other organization. People won’t get the benefit of seeing the beauty that’s been passed down to us for over 2000 years, So that would be point number two: With 2,000 years of history behind us, yes, we’ve got a lot to show for it.

As for addressing the negatives, you could say that, yes, inside the Church there has been corruption. I’m speaking specifically about people that you would fundraise that are probably at your parish and are concerned about corruption in the Church. Let’s face it, at the very beginning of our history there was Judas… So it’s something that we deal with, but it doesn’t have to negate all the good work the Church and your apostolate have been doing. (I just can’t imagine the Apostles said to Jesus, hey look, Judas is really spoiling I don’t wanna be a part of this organization, you know? Sorry. Jesus. We’re gonna have to either restart or I’m out of here. So it’s been happening since the beginning of time, and that’s just the way it is.)

It should not ruin all the good that is done by the Church. Now with that said, if somebody doesn’t want to give and they just saying these things, it’s up to them. So my biggest recommendation is to simply have a dialogue with them, mentioning the things that I’ve stated to you, and if, in the end, they just want to criticize, then just to say, thank you for your time, and walk away. Just end the discussion or change the subject to something else. You can’t convince people if they’re going to fixate solely on how much money the Church already has and how things should be done differently. All those wealthy resources aren’t really connected with you and your local apostolate, so the best you can do is respond and if a potential donor chooses not to accept those responses then there’s nothing really more that you can do.

I hope this has been helpful, especially when you’re going out there and facing these questions and challenges. Remember that God loves you, and I look forward to speaking with you next week! God bless until then!

Want to fundraise more for your Catholic apostolate?

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.

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.