Tag Archives: finances

Making giving easy — stewardship’s next goal

January 17, 2012

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You’re paying most of your household bills online.

Instead of writing a check and putting it in the usher’s basket each week, you’ve got automatic-withdrawal set up so your parish gets your donation right from your checking account.

Think about the hassle it would save both you and the parish bookkeeper — not to mention the savings in printed material and postage — if you could make your annual stewardship pledge right online.

That was the kind of thinking that came out last week at a gathering in the Archdiocese of St. Paul and Minneapolis.

The archdiocesan Office of Stewardship and Development joined efforts with the Association of Parish Business Administrators for a listen-and-learn session that allowed parish administrators to hear some best practices of their peers and to give feedback to the archdiocesan Stewardship Committee about its efforts during the past year.

Stewardship director Mike Halloran was especially looking for feedback on the Stewardship Toolkit the archdiocese made available last spring.  Sample pastor letters, pledge forms and the suggested timeline for a parish stewardship campaign were among the most-used pieces of the toolkit, which was available both in a three-ring binder and online.

Parish business administrators also asked for more copy-and-paste features, for instruction on how to write good “ask” letters, and for help in bringing pastoral leadership (read clergy) on board with the approach the archdiocese itself is promoting, that is, stewardship as a way of life.

Four administrators showcased their efforts during the “best practices” portion of the morning.

From Deb Langlois, of St. John the Evangelist in Little Canada:

  • Rekindled the parish stewardship committee and used the Stewardship Toolkit as a roadmap;
  • Added accountability to the annual parish report;
  • Tailored two separate messages, one to active and engaged parishioners and one to inactive;
  • Suggested “growth-step giving,” asking, “Could you grow a step in your pledge, and if you do here is what we will do with the money.” Results? Biggest percentage back from new parishioners ever.

From Mike Laughery, St. Michael in Prior Lake:

  • Began sending out quarterly giving reports;
  • Added a ministry fair — and got 250 new volunteers;
  • Invited a nationally known speaker to give stewardship talk at Masses.

From Scottie Bahr, Holy Spirit in St. Paul, offered goals for coming year’s stewardship efforts:

  • Allow credit-card giving;
  • Give donors a personalized history of pledge giving.

From Jon Jakoblich, Transfiguration in Oakdale:

  • Saved $10,000-$14,000 by not using a consulting firm;
  • Did a parish census, reducing wasted mailings and postage;
  • Used the theme, “Reinvest in Your Parish”;
  • After a short homily, did an in-pew ask at all Masses and gave parishioners time to fill out simple pledge card that concerned finances only, not time or talent. Result was increased pledge of $140 per family.
  • Wrote hand-written thank yous that Sunday that were in the mail Monday.
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Good year means $8.4 million in grants from Minnesota’s Catholic Community Foundation

January 5, 2012

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An 18 percent increase in net assets allowed the Catholic Community Foundation (CCF) in Minnesota to deliver $8.4 million in grants during the past fiscal year to Catholic parishes, schools, seminaries, ministries and causes.

Over the past two years assets for the foundation rebounded to their highest point ever — nearly $200 million — reversing the trend that saw a drop during the recession years of 2008 and 2009.

The data released in the 2011 CCF annual report covers the 12 months ending June 30, 2011.

The annual report noted:

  • The grant total was a seven percent increase over the previous year;
  • 90 percent of the grants were made to entities in Minnesota;
  • Since 1992, CCF has distributed grants totaling $89 million;
  • The foundation’s long-term balanced growth fund, called the Cardinal Pool, achieved a 26 percent performance increase;
  • The foundation also has $113 million in deferred gift commitments.

The Catholic Community Foundation, founded to financially support the spiritual, educational and social needs of the Catholic community, this summer will mark its 20th year. In the foundation’s work it seeks endowed funds that support the Catholic mission, helps parishes, schools and Catholic organizations manage long-term investments and distributes earnings according to community priorities and donor intent.

CCF’s philosophy includes an emphasis on investments that adhere to Catholic moral principles as established by the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops.

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