This week, multiple people asked me the same question, “How do I fundraising in a poorer parish and community?”
This is a genuine concern for many apostolates around the country.
Thankfully, I have good news!
Over the years, I’ve come up with a few ideas that work when fundraising in areas that aren’t as affluent as others. Check it out:
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Greetings, my fellow Catholics. Today, we are going to be talking about how you can still successfully fundraise even if you operate in a parish or community identified as ‘poor,’ or disadvantaged, or even if you think that you just don’t have all the resources around you necessary to fundraise the way you want to. That is our topic today. So stick with me to the very end because I am going to be sharing three recommendations for what I think you can do, that will really help you with your fundraising if you find yourself in this kind of situation.
Hi, I’m Brice Sokolowski, founder of CatholicFundraiser.net, the website completely dedicated to helping Catholics and apostolates just like yours who are looking for better ways to fundraise, and trying to find new strategies, new ways of doing in the 21st century. So whether you’re starting out or you’re an established fundraiser looking for fresh ideas, I think you’re going to get a lot out of the next few minutes. So stick with me and, before we start, I just want to make sure that you download — absolutely for free — my gift to you, The 10 Commandments to Catholic Fundraising. These are 10 actions that I have found to be very, very helpful over the years that I have spent running fundraising campaigns. It’s been downloaded thousands of times and the overall consensus I’ve received is, “two thumbs up.” So make sure that you download the 10 commandments to Catholic fundraising. The link is going to be right below. It’s absolutely for free. Don’t miss out.
Okay, so how do you fundraise if you either 1. find yourself in a poor parish or a poor community, or 2. you don’t think you have all the resources around you? I have three recommendations that I have found helpful if you find yourself in this situation.
The first recommendation is to understand how (more than likely) that parish or community of yours has roots. If you live on the East Coast, or you are blessed to have a Paris, that’s centuries of history and generations of lives before ours, who had a lot less to work with than we do.
And I think (I’ll get into this whole topic later on in my video), it’s just as important to recognize that, whatever you have in front of you, well, people have done something before and, more than likely, with a lot less for resources. Let’s at least say, less than what we think they might have had. Sometimes we don’t think about what previous generations have given us. So (just to understand this topic), it should inspire you to say, wow, more than likely, people in my situation before me have still done incredible things. Focus on this concept. Be inspired to do something with what you’ve got. It’s really important to understand that you have to embrace being inspired by your situation. It’s really, really important. That’s point number one.
With that said, point number two here in my notes (so I don’t forget anything) is to ask the question of why in today’s culture so many people say we cannot build because we either lack the money or the resources?
I feel it’s because today’s culture tells us that we need money. We need lots of money to do almost anything. It’s always about the money. Money. Money. We’re constantly told that money solves problems. Money is not the problem. (And maybe I should have suggested this in the first point), but there’s this wonderful book, published in 2006 called Who Really Cares: The Surprising Truth About Compassionate Conservatism by Arthur C. Brooks. It talks about who actually donates, who is giving money. I really recommend reading the whole book. It’s fantastic. It’s a quick read, but he pretty much says that it’s poor communities that actually do the donating, the giving, and the doing something.
Sure, we see a lot of financial activity going into building skyscrapers in big cities for big companies, and we hear about these companies and the theGoFundMe’s, venture capitalists, private equities, stocks, and money. Money money. But in reality, if you look at Alban Butler’sLives of the Saints, if you look at Jesus, He said to Saint Paul, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” And Paul, who had been grumbling about his situation, replied, “I will boast all the more gladly in my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ may rest on me.” (2 Corinthians 12:9) We can do so much with the little that we have. It’s almost amazing! I see possibility when I look at the successful Catholics that I encounter, who have either done well in business or done well with their apostolate. Their story is always the same. In looking back, they tell me, Well, I did so much with so little, and it taught me how to do all of these things with very little.
So this concept of money (which this book talks about), as well as from what I’ve seen in my own experience, leads me to say that money is a problem and a solution. If you have a roof that’s leaking, or something is broken, of course, money is the immediate solution. But how you fundraise is not dependent on money. If you want to dive deeper into the specifics of your situation, you can come and reach out to me. I’m happy to assist. But the solution doesn’t necessarily mean that it’s about getting money immediately.
This takes us to point number three. I’m going to quickly add (because I don’t want this to be too long) a lesson from Saint Peter 3:9: “The Lord is not slow to fulfill His promise as some count slowness, but is patient…” communities could build a parish 100 years ago, what is stopping us now? What is really stopping us? And if we have faith in Christ, if we have this Catholic church, then what really is stopping us? Who’s actually taking account of the time that they have? I meet a lot of people and I’ll bet that, between your job holidays, time with family, TV time, rest time, travel time, more than likely a lot of time is not being accounted for in your day and you’re not recognizing a missed opportunity. I find that Catholic apostolates don’t recognize the time that they waste and the relationships that they waste. Everything that they actually need is in front of them. Money is not a replacement for action.
I hope this has been helpful. Reach out to me if you have any questions at CatholicFundraiser.net. I am happy to speak with you directly and help with your fundraising. Please share these lessons with an apostolate or fundraiser that you could benefit from advice or inspiration. Thank you so much for your attention. God bless! Speak to you soon. Bye!
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