Scandals, Vatican II and Fundraising

How to Ask for Donations during another Church scandal

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.

In the wake of the scandals which continue to plague the Catholic Church, I’ve been interviewed multiple times by news outlets asking the same question, “How will Catholics respond?” The question is focused on the aspect of financial giving. Yes, Catholics are most definitely considering how to take action. However, you and I both know that taking financial action – which is appropriate – is not the most important.

And yes… it’s the fundraiser saying this – money is not the most important action! You and I can respond in greater ways than reducing the amount we donate.

We should look at the Second Vatican Council on how to respond. One of the pillar documents, Apostolicam Actuositatem, was written by the Council Fathers and lays out the blueprint for what the laity must do, especially during a scandal.

The Council Fathers tell us:
“Our own times require of the laity no less zeal: in fact, modern conditions demand that their apostolate be broadened and intensified.”
Decree of the Apostolate of the Laity, Apostolicam Actuositatem, Pope Paul VI

Fast forward from the 1960s to today, we recognize that faithful lay Catholics who run apostolates, schools, retreat centers, or websites are in the perfect position to broaden and intensify their work. As more Catholics are looking for leaders they can trust, now is the time for them to attract the attention of Catholics and offer them a solution to their despair.

However, simply asking for their financial support isn’t the solution. Instead, you must give them what they want: a Catholic cause or mission that they can believe in and trust.

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Here are four things you can do to boost your fundraising.

1 – Launch a website – The internet has transformed our culture and society because of its ability to connect people to one another. The internet is enormously effective when it comes to connecting you and your mission to thousands, even millions of people. And… you can do this for little and even no cost.

“Upon all the laity, therefore, rests the noble duty of working to extend the divine plan of salvation to all men of each epoch and in every land.” – Lumen Gentium, another pivotal document from the Second Vatican Council

Check out sites such as WordPress (my recommended), Squarespace, and Wix to start your website today.

2 – Communicate using the phone, email, social media, and blogs – Along with the internet, you can find multiple ways of connecting directly with people. Email allows you to connect as we juggle busy schedules. Social media allows you to share messages which allow people to interact with one another. Blogs offer you the opportunity to share your story in detail. The phone – while an older technology – is still the best way of reaching someone who is not in front of you.

“The apostolate of the Church and of all its members is primarily designed to manifest Christ’s message by words and deeds and to communicate His grace to the world.” – Apostolicam Actuositatem

You can use Google, Yahoo, or Microsoft as email accounts. You can use MailChimp, Constant Contact, or Salesforce are email marketing platforms to help you send emails to groups of people. Facebook, YouTube, Twitter, Instagram can help you share your story while connecting people.

3 – Fundraise – This step is designed to inspire you to do more of what you are already doing. If you are just getting started, my recommendation is to focus heavily on steps one and two. When you have these steps running, you will naturally have a group of people willing to support you. That’s when you start fundraising.

“All those things which make up the temporal order, namely, the good things of life and the prosperity of the family, culture, economic matters, the arts and professions, the laws of the political community, international relations, and other matters of this kind, as well as their development and progress, not only aid in the attainment of man’s ultimate goal but also possess their own intrinsic value.” Apostolicam Actuositatem

4 – Keep going (meaning… don’t pause or stop) – It may look daunting at times to take action in the current climate. You may likely want to stop or pause because you are worried by what people think of you. You may even worry that you are taking more action than needed. That’s why it’s always important to have a spiritual director and prayer life. Both of these will help guide you, one step at a time.

“The laity must make progress in holiness in a happy and ready spirit, trying prudently and patiently to overcome difficulties.” – Apostolicam Actuositatem

Marching forward in the storm

I strongly urge you to continue pressing on. You may not be the director of a Catholic non-profit. You may be a volunteer at your parish. Regardless of your role, the next steps will always look daunting. What is important is to not let fear dictate your next step.

Remember that hope is not merely a feeling of expectation that something will happen. Hope is the theological virtue by which we place our trust in Christ’s promises that He will help us, thereby allowing us not to rely on our own strength, but on the help of the grace of the Holy Spirit.

Here is an example of what happens when you keep going. One Catholic apostolate has been taking to heart my four recommendations and their results demonstrate the power of sticking with the plan and executing it. In the amount of time it has taken me to write this article, they’ve increased their number of financial supporters by over 1,000.

And always remember Saint Paul had his share of challenges in life. Among the trials of life, we must find strength in hope, convinced that,

“the sufferings of the present time are not worthy to be compared with the glory to come that will be revealed in us” (Rom. 8:18)

Question: How will you broaden and intensify your zeal in today’s climate? (Let me know what you’re thinking by leaving a comment below. Your thoughts fuel this community of Catholics inspired to do more with their faith.)

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.