My fundraising started to kick into high gear when I better understood how it connects with my Catholic faith. When we talk about faith in the context of fundraising, we often hear lines such as, “You just have to have faith. It’ll all work out.” “Do not worry about fundraising. What is supposed to happen, will happen.”
What do these phrases mean? Better yet, are they helpful?
Personally, I think such phrases demonstrate an incorrect approach to how we — as Catholics — should connect faith and fundraising.
I do not want to dive into a theological discussion about faith, but I do have a few ideas that I want to share because I believe they will help you find a more Catholic way to look at your fundraising.
Below are three points to consider when linking your Catholic faith to fundraising.
1 – Faith is a theological virtue not a dream that ‘someone will donate.’
Let’s start with a Catholic definition of faith. Faith doesn’t mean to wait for things – especially donations – to magically appear out of nowhere.
Saint Paul defines faith in Hebrews 11:1 as “the realization of what is hoped for and evidence of things not seen.”
Faith is the belief in things we cannot yet see. In the context of fundraising, you can say that faith is believing that donors and donations exist even though you cannot see them yet. It’s not that they will magically appear. They are just not in front of you right this very moment.
Therefore, faith doesn’t mean that donors will show up one day. Faith means that they are out there. This is a small but important distinction.
2 – Have faith in God, not money
This means having a clear understanding of what God is calling you to do rather than the donations He wants you to raise and receive.
Most of the Catholics that I assist with fundraising really don’t need to fundraise. Typically, they are at the beginning of some kind of mission. Meaning, the number one step for them to do is start taking action towards realizing their mission.
If God wants you to take care of the homeless, then ask, does that mean God wants you to build a shelter? To take care of the sick, does that mean God wants you to build a hospital? To be a missionary, does that mean God wants you to build a network of people around the world?
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3 – Faith requires action not funds
Fundraising is a tool to help but it’s not the tool that makes things happen. You don’t need money to start realizing your vocation, cause, or mission. You just have to start moving forward. You and I know that God sustains us so, with the Holy Spirit, He provides everything we need to get up and get going.
Jesus looked at them and said, “For human beings this is impossible, but for God all things are possible.” – Matthew 19:26
So the next time you feel that you’re called to do something, go and do it. As you move forward in faith, fundraising can help keep it going, but it’s not, as Saint Thomas Aquinas would say, the ‘first mover.’ Fundraising can expand your reach, but should never be the catalyst or what keeps you afloat.