Saint Bonaventure, poverty, and fundraising

Fundraising tips from Saint Bonvanture's masterpiece, Holiness of Life

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.
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Have you ever heard of Saint Bonaventure?

I’ve been fortunate enough a few years ago to come across the writings of this incredible Doctor of the Church.

This week, I picked up his classic, Holiness of Life, to see if it had any insight into fundraising.

… and of course, it did.

Saint Bonaventure talks about how poverty can make you rich both in spiritual and temporal treasures. His wisdom will open up new avenues on how you can find donors. Check it out:

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In the next few minutes, you’re going to learn three tips from St Bonaventure on how to improve your fundraising. Hi, I’m Brice Sokolowski, the founder of, a website that is completely dedicated to helping Catholics just like you with their fundraising. Whether you’re just starting out, you’re looking for new ways to fundraise, or looking to just increase your fundraising, you are in the right spot.

Okay, before we dive into what Saint Bonaventure recommends on how to fundraise in the Catholic context, I just want to make sure that you’ve downloaded the Ten Commandments to Catholic fundraising. This guide is completely free and made available to Catholics on how to fundraise. It’s ten things that I recommended every Catholic should be doing when fundraising because these ten things have helped me. They’ve helped other Catholics with their fundraising, and it’s just been an overall help. I’ve seen thousands of people download it, and I’ve gotten great feedback. I’ve updated the guide to make sure that it’s relevant to today’s context for Catholics. So make sure that you download absolutely for free the Ten Commandments to Catholic fundraising.

Okay, St Bonaventure. Who was Saint Bonaventure? If you see me looking down or pausing, it is because I’m looking at my notes, which are always made available on my website. The link is going to be right below. If you have any questions about what I’ve said, just make sure that you click the link right below, and you can get access to the material. Saint Bonaventure was a bishop, and he’s also a Doctor of the Catholic Church. He was also good friends with St Thomas of Aquinas which he studied with in Paris. I believe this was in the thirteenth century. He was a very wise man. I also believe he was part of the Franciscan Order.

One of the documents that he wrote was called The Holiness of Life. It’s a great book. I recommend that you read it for spiritual nourishment, but for this purpose, we’re gonna be looking at what it says with regards to fundraising. And yes, his book gives helpful recommendations on how to fundraise because he does talk about poverty, humility and what to do with the temporal things. And when we are working with fundraising, well, this stuff is all about obviously receiving things, getting donations and getting money which can very often disrupt our spiritual life and our mission. So here are three tips from Saint Bonaventure on how to fundraise and keep it in line with your Catholic faith and growing in your relationship with God.

Okay, the first thing that St Bonaventure recommends is and this is a quote from him: the ordinary man must have a love of poverty. That means be happy with what you have right now and do not get stressed. Remember that Christ was born poor, he lived poor, and he died poor. So with fundraising, of course, we’re looking to acquire more revenue, more funds, more money, more assets, more of things. This step is all about being happy with what we have. Because when fundraising, we can get really stressed and really worried and anxious about what we’re going to receive. And we think that we don’t have enough today. And that is a big, big no from St Bonaventure. A lot of saints would agree. I would say that, if anything, all of them would agree. So you have to be thankful for what you have and do what it is that you think you are called to do with what you have.

The second tip from St Bonaventure and I quote him: you’ve got to be taking action. Actually, this is me synthesizing him. You’ve got to take action in your current situation, which will produce fruit. And this is St Bonaventure: the more you are attached to the poverty you profess in the morning practice evangelical poverty, the more will you about, the more you’ll bound in spiritual and temporal treasures. To synthesize again, by just doing what you are called to do with what you have and believe in God, God will provide temporal goods will come spiritually. Goods will come and you’re gonna be in a good position. So don’t stress. Don’t worry. Just take action with what you have.

And the third recommendation from St Bonaventure which wraps up both these two points is the practice of voluntary poverty earns the reward, the reward of the beatific vision and the right to enter into the glory and power of God. This means money and donations don’t really get you to heaven, and that’s really important with fundraising. Fundraising may help you do something bigger, getting that money. You know, whatever it is that you’re trying to do with the money, that’s not really going to get you to heaven. What is it? It’s the other things that you do. It’s prayer. It’s the following God’s will and overcoming the struggles. Take for example Saint Paul who you had a thorn in his side. It’s overcoming all the struggles and believing in God and seeing him work. That is how you’re going to get to heaven. So yes, you can go on and fundraise, but don’t make it the sole purpose of what it is that you’re doing or the sole driver for what you’re doing.

Okay, I’m not gonna make this any longer. If you have any questions, let me know. Leave a comment and especially share this with a religious order. A priest, a bishop, a friend, a fellow Catholic that you think could really benefit from this stuff because we all know that with a little bit of advice and direction, especially fundraising, we could do a whole lot more. God love you, and I look forward to speaking with you next week.

Question: Which saint has given you great advice on how to raise funds? Please leave your comment below.

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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. Mother Mary and Saint Joseph, protect us as we announce the good news of God's beloved Son, Jesus Christ.