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Thread: Helping with Church Fund Raising Can be Hurtful

  1. #11
    Senior Member razz's Avatar
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    After I posted, I started thinking and wondered if there was a way to ease your discomfort from inconsiderate refusals. It does take courage to ask for money so I admire your willingness and effort.
    Perhaps, it is possible to see the rude refusals of donation as evidence of inexperience or lack of skills on their part? It takes some experience and some training for them to respond graciously to a request, especially for more money. Easier said than done, I know.

    You are doing an important job in soliciting funds and gaining valuable experience in doing so.
    Gandhi: Happiness is when what you think, what you say and what you do are in harmony .

  2. #12
    Senior Member SteveinMN's Avatar
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    I have been on the funding sides of capital campaigns but never in a position directly responsible for asking people to provide money. This last summer I was the spearhead for an effort that changed the affiliation of a non-profit to which DW and I belong. Most members of the non-profit understood the need to make the move but the "old guard" took out their knives and it has not been pretty. We moved anyway and without them.

    Some thoughts:

    - Barring some real social hamfistedness with your approach (unlikely to me based on what you post here), know that anyone with your specific responsibility would have received the same treatment from these people. It is not personal.

    - Even though the parish may have agreed in majority to run this campaign, the decision likely was not unanimous. Rachel, you may have been "lucky" to have found the members who were not in favor of this approach and they are venting to someone they feel they can vent to. By contacting them, you have plopped yourself right in their path. Plus they may feel they can speak their mind in a way they would not to the head priest or other church leaders. It is perfectly alright to feel angry about how you've been treated. Regardless of what your church may teach about being angry, it is a human emotion and you cannot dismiss how you feel. You can only control how you react.

    - My general experience (albeit anecdotal) is that the more money people make/have, the less they are willing to commit it to other causes. As others have mentioned, there may be some underlying unhappiness with the politics of the group. Or it could even be something as "simple" as their not feeling their opinions were heard or their expertise consulted. Or a worldview that believes solely in one's own bootstraps.

    - Perhaps it helps to take a longer view. Curiously, since our old guard brought the fight to a group decision, they've been struck with a sudden string of problems, including the deaths of siblings, broken bones, etc. Not that I wished that on these people (nor would I wish it on anyone). But sometimes karma's a b---h. While that likely cannot be a selling point to those who choose not to donate, the opposite of that can: contributing to this effort can have unknown positive consequences down the road. And such giving probably is part of whatever text your church uses to worship.

    - At a church my first wife and I attended, they held a capital campaign to enlarge the music ministry. One of their efforts was to install a pipe organ. Pipes were priced at different levels so members of the church could "buy" a pipe. Not like we saw our names engraved on one. But having something more tangible to look at made the giving seem more real. Is that something you could do with this campaign?
    Success is to be measured not so much by the position that one has reached in life as by the obstacles which he has overcome. - Booker T. Washington

  3. #13
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    I really like Tybee's idea. When I recd an inheritance, our local spay/neuter clinic was undergoing a large capital campaign. I knew they needed an Xray machine so we pledged an amount to buy a state of the art digital Xray machine. It has my Dad's name on it as donor. You need to reach the emotion of people. It was "easier" to give to something specific rather than a general fund.

  4. #14
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    It is well known in philanthropic research that those with more give less.

  5. #15
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    Same goes for tipping.

  6. #16
    Senior Member Tradd's Avatar
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    Rachel doesn’t specifically say she’s Catholic. The wording she used in her post could also apply for Episcopalians

  7. #17
    Senior Member iris lilies's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Tradd View Post
    Rachel doesn’t specifically say she’s Catholic. The wording she used in her post could also apply for Episcopalians
    That is true, and I did think about her church being maybe-not Catholic.

    If she is dealing with Episcopalians, rich WASPS, no wonder she is seeing low donations and rude push back! Ha ha ha ha.

  8. #18
    Senior Member Tradd's Avatar
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    For the same reason, the large Greek Orthodox parishes near me have lots of stuff with the donors’ names showing. Pews, prayer books, sign outside the kitchen indicating the donor of the kitchen. All sorts of stuff like that.

  9. #19
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    I have worked in church finances for several years.

    One thing to consider is that many people feel more comfortable giving for a specific need.

    As in, "we are building a fund in preparation for replacing the church roof."

    And it is even better if they are given the cost estimates on these projects along with a report on how fund raising is progressing.

    Flyers with progress noted in the weekly bulletins, Finance chair giving a report monthly from the pulpit.

    We paid the mortgage on the parsonage off with these methods.

    Good luck, and you are correct that some of the people with the most money give the least...………….

  10. #20
    Senior Member beckyliz'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?
    As a past church financial secretary and a current church treasurer, I can tell you most people do NOT tithe (10% of their income to their church). Yet, those are the ones who expect the church building to be available for a funeral or wedding; don't understand why programs are funded, etc.
    "Do not accumulate for yourselves treasures on earth, where moth and rust destroy and thieves break in and steal. But accumulate for yourselves treasure in heaven, where moth and rust do not destroy, and thieves do not break in and steal. For where your treasure is, your heart is also." Jesus

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