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Thread: Helping with Church Fund Raising Can be Hurtful

  1. #1
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    Helping with Church Fund Raising Can be Hurtful

    Hello Friends,
    I've been helping with my church's Capital Fund Campaign. We need to have this campaign in order to pay for building repairs. We've consulted with our diocese's fund raising professionals to follow best practices, with a lot of parish education and conversations about the church's financial needs, and with plenty of parish input and feedback on priorities.

    I think the campaign is being thoughtfully and well run, and although it is not easy for me to ask people for money, I volunteered to be trained to be one of the actual fund raisers. We've been advised to reach out to every member of the church and meet in person to have conversations and make asking for money part of a conversation.

    This I have done and in a few instances it has been a wonderful experience.

    In other instances I have been greeted with outright rudeness and what feels almost like cruelty. In every one of the most painful experiences, it *hasn't* been people with limited incomes, but people who are fully employed professionals who appear to be actually angry about being asked for a financial commitment---I'm talking about regular attenders.

    I find this so upsetting and disspiriting and I -- I hope I can say this here -- I am angry about being treated badly for doing something, or trying to do something that the parish as a whole has discerned as necessary and useful.

    I wonder if other folks in this forum have had similar experience and words of insight. Thanks for any thoughts anyone might have to share.

  2. #2
    Senior Member iris lilies's Avatar
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    My blessings to you. Asking for money is a hard job. Probably the only thing worse is political campaigning door to door or cold calling for candidates.

    It is weirdówe assume those who attend church have some kind of buy in to the program, and have some level of attachment to the building project. But nope! You are probably getting responses about why people are mad at the church, too, as well as them being insulted to be asked for a donation.

    Our Neighborhood is in a pre-tax campaign phase right now, soliciting input from everyone about how to keep income in place as our house tour volunteers drop off and we have to drop a house tour. I personally hope to be off the Board before this tax campaign gears up because I donít want to have to be an ambassador for a tax increase even though I personally support it. I am a chicken. I want peace in my old age.

    You are brave! Carry on, sister.

  3. #3
    Senior Member iris lilies's Avatar
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    Rachel, let me also add that I love the old Catholic Church buildings in my city and also in Hermann where the church spire defines my wonderful view. I have often thought about donating to their building funds but have not done it.

    In your fund raising efforts, Are you fighting the idea that “the Catholic Church has more money than God so why should I give any? “.

  4. #4
    Senior Member Teacher Terry's Avatar
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    Don’t most people tithe and if so they probably expect that money to go towards the building repairs?

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    I'm sorry this is your experience Rachel. I will share 'the other side'. As a working professional for nearly 4 decades, we have given regularly to a variety of charitable organizations as well as church. When one gives their entire charitable budget regularly, it can get old asking for more. Most "askers" are kind and say thank you anyway. I had one experience however that still stands out: "but we need your money NOW and you didn't plan for us! That's not FAIR!". Well, that is not a thankful or inviting response. And sadly, why is that the request I remember?

    I'm not saying your are at all like that response-as I seriously don't get that vibe from you here.

    Perhaps your tagline could be along this line: "I'm sure you have designated your budgeted giving for the year. Could you consider an additional $5 or $10 a month for our building repair fund moving forward?" That could work for me. It is respectful and doesn't insinuate I'm made of money.

    Best of luck moving forward.

  6. #6
    Senior Member iris lilies's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Teacher Terry View Post
    Don’t most people tithe and if so they probably expect that money to go towards the building repairs?
    building campaigns are usually for out of the ordinary construction projects such as rebuilding the steeple, restoring all stained glass windows, renovating the sanctuary from top to bottom, etc. Regular maintenance monies dont cover those capital intensive projects.

    The one thing I love the Catholics for is their buildings in my immediate area. We are rich with Victorian churches and while it is true that the Catholic Church organization has let several of them go, they are maintaining quite a few of them still. Within a square mile of me I have an original Polish church, a Czech church, a German church, another German church, a junior Basilica (sorry cant think of the real name) a Pre-vatican II church.

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    Do they give any reason for not giving? Donations to the Catholic church in my area plummeted after clergy sex abuse scandals became public knowledge.

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    Senior Member razz's Avatar
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    I am another that makes a donation budget and simply respond, "Sorry but my budget is committed" if asked for more money.

    After donating to my church, the local Salvation Army Community effort, the local hospital foundation. little theatre and large professional theatres, humane society, and Seeds of Diversity (similar to Seeds Savers), I have supported every group that I value and am 'gived out'.
    That said, I would not be rude about my refusal.
    Gandhi: Happiness is when what you think, what you say and what you do are in harmony .

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    It is a super hard time of the year to get folks to come up with any more money.

    With church restoration projects, I like to give for something specific, such as organ pipes or stained glass window restoration. Something I can see put to use.

    Maybe your church would have more success if the requests were specifically tied to something tangible like that. (Or an HVAC update--it doesn't have to be aestheticly pleasing. But specific.)

  10. #10
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    Another thought: my sister's church does a special need giving at the Christmas Eve service. It is always a 100% specific fund. It could be an improvement like they year they built out the kitchen that was still at the stud stage. One year it was an orphanage they adopted. One year it was the music program.

    This makes it a one time, rather than ongoing monthly. People gave bigger than they might have monthly. When we attend that service we give big (for us).

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