The Basics of Fundraising

As you raise more funds, there's a point when you CANNOT forget the basics.

Engaging with your apostolate’s community can be easy when you are starting out. You have time for conversations with everyone (donors and non-donors) and replying to every email and message.

As your apostolate grows, though, it can become harder to “keep up” with everyone. You have to find new ways to be available and stay focused on the mission – without having to spend the entire day stuck in your email’s inbox! (maybe you are now?!)

It sounds counterintuitive, but I realized that as you raise more funds, there’s a point when you CANNOT forget the basics.

Here’s what I mean:

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Other articles you might be interested in:

Fr Raymond Thomas de Saint-Laurent, Confidence, and How to Fundraise

Tech Tools: Don’t be a Luddite

Saint Francis de Sales shares his secret to fundraising

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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Question: Which saint, Catholic document, or Church teaching has given you great advice on how to raise funds? Please leave your comment below.

Hello, my fellow Catholics. Today, we’re going to learn the basics of fundraising for any type of campaign that you want to run. I’m going to explain the three simple steps that I use — for every single campaign that I’ve ever run that’s been successful — whether you’re raising a million dollars, $100,000, $10,000, or a few $1,000. These three tips are really going to help you. 

I’m Brice Sokolowski, the founder of CatholicFundraiser.net, the website that’s designed to help Catholics with their fundraising. So whether you’re starting out with your first campaign, or you’re a seasoned professional ready to go full throttle, this is going to be really helpful for you. I’m going to provide you with new tips, new ideas, and a new way to keep things really, really simple, so you can focus on your mission. 

Because let’s be honest, nobody ever gets into serving a Catholic apostolate thinking, hey wow, I’m excited to fundraise! So I’m trying to make your life a little easier for your fundraising so you can focus on saving lives and saving souls. 

Now, before we dive into the basics of fundraising, I just want to make sure that you download, absolutely for free, The 10 Commandments to Catholic Fundraising. This is my guide to 10 lessons and steps that have really helped me successfully fundraise over the years. Tens of thousands of people interested in better fundraising have downloaded it and, overall have said, “This is great.” I’ve gotten some great input. I’ve improved it and now I’m offering it to you because it’s going to help you do what you want to do, as opposed to stressing about fundraising. So please make sure that you click the link below and get free your copy of The 10 Commandments to Catholic Fundraising.

Let’s dive into the basics of fundraising so you can move quickly to put them into your next campaign. I teach three simple steps. In fact, these steps are so simple that most people don’t believe they can work and are tempted to override these basics, saying that doesn’t seem like “what everybody else is doing”. 

Well, do you want a big fundraising campaign that’s very complex and will probably take a lot of money to run, or do you want something that works low cost, very efficiently, and allows you to focus on what you and your apostolate’s mission really want to achieve. 

People make fundraising more complicated than it needs to be.  I call it the ‘Saint Paul Syndrome.’ We do what we’re not supposed to do, and we don’t do what we’re supposed to do. So, when it comes to fundraising, we assume that we already know what we have to do, and we assume that what other people are doing actually works. We have all these assumptions that we take with us through the woods. But we can get lost in the woods. And we can get equally lost in this whole concept of fundraising, and then, it becomes super, super stressful. 

So I like to keep things really simple, which keeps me fundraising effectively for all the people that I’m helping. That’s what I’m offering to you here. My three steps. Three thes the three things that you have to do. 

Number one is very simple: You have to get people’s attention. They’ve got to know that you exist. They have to know what you’re doing. The first simple question with any fundraising campaign, before you run it before you even think you want to people, is to ask the question, Do they know we exist? Very, very simple. Do they know you exist and can they answer that in the affirmative? Can the answer be “Yes” to that question? The people that you ask have to be able to say yes, they know you and your mission exists.

Number two is the concept of trust: Do they trust you? Do they know about and understand your organization and especially, the people behind it? Are they familiar with what you do? Or are you just a name, attached to a website or an appeals letter they’ve seen from you? Do they have a clear sense of what you do? Do they know the people behind your organization? Can they recognize your name, your logo, etc.? They have to be able to answer yes to that. That’s point number two. 

My point number three, of course, is that you have to ask. And, ideally, ask directly. Asking directly is the best. This means your order of priority is: Number one, ask in person. Number two, make a personal phone call. Number three, do a video. I happen to like to shoot videos. Video fundraising is very, very effective. Number four, ask by email and number five is, ask in a letter. So that’s my ranking when it comes to making an effective ask. Letters are at the bottom. Let me repeat that. The letter is at the bottom. 

So ask… in person, on the phone, through video, by email, or by letter. That’s all you have to do. Then you repeat this process over and over again, to earn and keep their attention and trust that you can then turn into a better direct ask Obviously, you can expand this effort to more and more people so you can raise more support. So get their attention. Earn their trust. And just keep asking. Keep it that simple. It’s worked effectively for me, my fellow Catholics and I am sharing this so it will help you as well. 

I hope this has been helpful. Share this with a friend. Share this with an apostolate that you feel may find helpful and, if you have any questions, simply reach out. Click my link below. Go to my website, CatholicFundRaiser.net. I’d be delighted to help you. God bless and have a great day. Bye!

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.