Common Fundraising Problems… Debunked

Three common fundraising problems Catholic apostolates face and how to overcome them.

I see Catholic apostolates come across three common fundraising problems.

Well, these problems, you could call them stories. I say this because, too often, the fundraising problems you face are just stories you tell yourself.

Problem/Story #1 – Donors are “overtapped”. [otherwise known as ‘donor fatigue’]

Problem/Story #2 – People have money for everything except your apostolate.

Problem/Story #3 – People are struggling, but those you can afford to give more choose not to do so.

So with these problems (or stories) that seem to be everywhere, I figured that I would try to explain what’s really going on. Check it out:

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Let’s talk about the stories that you are (more than likely) telling yourself when it comes to fundraising and how these stories are also (more than likely) not leading you to a very good end. 

Hi, I’m Brice Sokolowski, founder of, the website that helps Catholics with their fundraising. Whether you’re starting out, an experienced fundraiser, or trying to find new and innovative ways to raise support, you are in the right place.  Today, I want to be talking about the stories that Catholic apostolates and (likely) you have been telling yourselves when it comes to failed fundraising, and then I want to explain how these stories are more than likely not leading you down the path that you want to go. So I’m going to be talking about the stories, and highlighting three of those most common (and most destructive).

Before I do that, I want to make sure that you download absolutely for free my guide, The 10 Commandments of the Catholic Fundraising. It’s a guide that I’ve developed over my professional career counseling other Catholic fundraisers and it outlines  10 things that I think you should be doing with your fundraising. These are 10 lessons I have learned that have continued to help me tremendously. I’ve gotten great feedback from the thousands of Catholics who have downloaded it. So make sure that you download — absolutely for free — my guide, The 10 Commandments to Catholic Fundraising. I think it’s going to really, really, really help you with your fundraising. 

Okay, let’s talk about three stories that you are more than likely telling yourself when it comes to fundraising. They are probably very similar to the mistaken thoughts of everybody else and they are probably not going to be helping you. So maybe there’s a different story that you should be telling yourself? That’s going to be lesson number one. 

The first story is this. Fundraising can start to falter if you are tapping into the same resource every time without offering a tangible, reciprocal benefit. I am seeing this phrase used over and over again: “Donors are getting tapped out when you are always asking the same ones.” Well, this is a story, but it’s not the complete story. 

Statistically, only about 25%of parishioners donate; the percentage, by the overall population, is even lower. So when it comes to donating, you can’t dwell on how often you are tapping into the same group of people because the majority of people are just not donating. Now the real question is, why? How do I get them to donate? If you’ve been watching my videos you know that I’ve explained, you can’t force people to donate. I will explain what you can do (in a second), but short of taking out a cattle prod (just joking), you’re very limited on what you can do. So this whole concept of “over tapping” the same group of people, in reality, is, if you do a good job, they won’t mind being asked. That’s a great thing. If you’re doing a good job, and we’ll take a closer look at that in a second, they don’t mind being asked. 

The next story I think will help you is how you might hear that “People have money for everything except donating to the church.” That’s not a complete story, either. Yes, people need to afford food, housing, taxes, nice trips (sometimes) with loved ones, investing for the future, etc. So my question is, why are people spending money on these things and not spending money on the church or donations? Well, the question really is, do they see the value in what you provide? You might see it, but why not try to put yourself in somebody else’s place and walk, you know, 100 miles in their shoes. Instead of asking them to walk 100 miles in your shoes (with “please donate we need help” message), what you definitely should be doing is walking in their shoes and make sure that they truly understand all that you have been doing. Because the big question always is, do they really understand what you’re doing? More than likely, you can probably tell your story a little better to inspire people to donate. So that squelches the myth of story number two. 

The third story you might incorrectly be operating under is this idea that people are obviously hard up and can only afford to give less, and/or give less often. This comes back to my earlier point: What do they really know about your mission and its goals? Do they really know what you do? What do you provide? Do they really, really understand it? 

While I can’t go into the whole context of how to help your community better understand what you are doing in this particular video, that’s why I offer a mentoring program to better help Catholic apostolates with their fundraising. If you find yourself in a situation where people are not giving that much or you would like them to be giving more, then you should be getting out there and not only telling your story but listening to their story a bit more. 

It’s not that there are all these “stories” about why people aren’t giving, or that their generosity is being tapped out. People can and will give. The only thing that might be stopping them is that they’re not really sure you see them! What you need to be doing is looking around and asking, do people understand what you do? Are you sharing your story? Do you know their story? The whole concept of building a community around you — that you know who they are and they know who you are — is really important again. 

I know, it’s really difficult to explain how to do that in just one video but I’m just trying to say, you don’t need to be worried about people being over tapped. You don’t need to be worrying about how people seem to have money to give to other things but not the Church; that they can’t afford it or you just don’t know why they’re not giving. 

These are my answers to such questions (and misperceptions) and I hope that this video helped you go a step further towards finding your way to your own answers. And if you need assistance, come reach out to me, I am happy to help. I hope this video vlog and podcast have been helpful and please share it with an organization that you think could benefit from it. Reach out to me if you have any questions. 

God loves you. And I look forward to speaking with you next week! Goodbye!

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.

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.