We are seeing optimism among parishes and dioceses that we visit across the United States. Catholic parishes are providing meaningful services to the community and strong educational programs to their students. Many of you are on the path to engaging parishioners in both the current activities of the parish and also the direction you want to head for the future. The Pastors we have talked to have been doing some very creative and wonderful work ranging from working with the children in the parish to develop videos of guinea pigs riding in Lego automobiles to expansive programs to serve the needy in the community.
The results from the work we have done to Increase Offertory at parishes have been very positive. A parish in the Diocese of San Diego experienced an increase in commitments of over 53% and $330,000. One in the Diocese of Providence saw an increase of over $120,000 which amounted to 79% . Another one in California had 140 new families start to participate in the parish. One in upstate New York was able to define a new identity and bring people together for a new purpose in the midst of a 5 parish merger.
Needless to say, the Pastor and parish leadership are integral to the success of any program. While every parish has different dynamics, there are some consistent points we are seeing the teams implement to increase their chances of a successful and sustained program. Here are 3 of them:
1. Focus on the good works of the parish. In addition to our formation and our personal Faith journeys, we care about organizations that are doing positive things. We want to donate our time and money to successful programs that deliver products or programs or services that we care about. Our parishes do this all the time but sometimes we don't highlight this work. Those parishes who experience a wealth of financial contributions are able to demonstrate how they are changing lives for the better and how they are improving lives for the people in the parish and the surrounding areas.
2. Use Online Giving to make it easy to give. Remove any impediments to accepting a gift. Find ways to make it easy for anyone to give to the parish. They don't have to be current members. In fact as you are communicating about the wonderful things the parish does you should expect to attract new people to the parish. Online Giving is an integral part of regular contributions and of any increased offertory program. Allow people to give from the convenience of the web at a time that is convenient for them!
3. Keep Parishioners Informed. The successful parishes use all their channels of communication to let parishioners know what is happening during and after the Increased Offertory program. They incorporate points about the direction of the parish and the intent of the program across their website, offering envelopes, newsletters, announcements and bulletins. It's very important to let all parishioners know about the results of the program and what the parish plans to do next. Parishes can sustain their results by updating parishioners regarding how funds were used, what new positive programs were implemented, and the results of those new programs.
Do you have experience with increasing offertory? Let us know!