Saint Bernard’s advice to Catholics who fundraise

Saint Bernard of Clairvaux's "No Excuse" approach to raising funds

Make sure to get your free copy of ‘The 10 Commandment of Catholic Fundraising’. It’s a book that highlights the ten tasks you should do to keep you focused on your mission and hit your fundraising target, every time.
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The end of August is upon us, which means it is officially Fundraising Season. A lot of people have given me excuses about why they are not planning, organizing, and launching a campaign in September. If you paused fundraising this summer, the time is NOW to get back on the saddle.

But don’t take my word for it.

Check out what Saint Bernard of Clairvaux says about making excuses for why there are no funds in your accounts. Check it out:

PS – the book that I refer to on Saint Bernard’s life can be found here. For more great books on saints, check out Traditional Catholic books.

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In the next few minutes, you will learn three very powerful tips on actually how to improve your fundraising from St Anthony of Padua himself.

Hi, I am Brice Sokolowski, the founder of, a website that is designed to help Catholics just like you with their fundraising. Whether you’re starting out, trying to find which direction to go, trying to look for new ways to improve your fundraising, or you’re simply trying to expand, reach out and grow your apostate, you are in the right place today.

Before we dive in, I first want to make sure that you’ve downloaded the “10 Commandments to Catholic Fundraising.” This guide lists the 10 things that I think you should be doing because a whole lot of Catholics are doing them. So I want to make sure that you download athlete for free. The link is right below. Whether you’re watching this on the podcast, the video on my website, YouTube, wherever you are, there will be a link right below. Make sure that you download your copy absolutely for free., the 10 Commandments to Catholic Fundraising.

Okay, Saint Bernard of Clairvaux, who was he? He was a 12-century monk from France. He is also known as a Doctor of the Church. So he is a very, very prominent individual. When he went into religious life, he brought with him about 30 other people, and a lot of them were his family members. So he was very influential, very inspirational, and people wanted to follow God because of him. Now he is best known for obviously being a Doctor, but he was also a counselor to the popes. He took several trips to Rome, and if you think about the 12th century, it was not an easy trip to cross the Alps. But I believe he did it at least between two or three times. I’m gonna say three times. So he was a man on the go, and at the same time, he was cloistered, so a very interesting mix. He was all over the place. The reason I’m talking about him today is well, he had to fundraise because, well, he not only built the monastery of Clairvaux, but I believe he built a network of monasteries. I am looking at my notes. If you see me pause here or look down, it is because I’m looking at my notes. The links are always included below. I believe he founded his first monastery and another 12. I don’t have a number in front of me, but I’m pretty sure that it was at least 10. So a very prominent person in establishing Catholicism across France and inspiring others. Today we’re gonna be looking at three recommendations from St Bernard of Clairvaux on how to fundraise because, well, he couldn’t build all of these monasteries without funds. So we’re gonna look at how he did it and how you can learn from him.

The first recommendation from St Bernard is this concept of you can either complain or pray. With St Bernard, monastic life got so bad that actually, the brothers ran out of salt. I’m reading here from a book on St Bernard’s life that you can also read. The link is below. So, Bernard, seeing that they lost the trust in God’s sake, in earnest, prayed for release from their difficulties. He then heard a voice saying, “Rise, Bernard, thy prayer is granted.” Lesson number one is to just not complain. Take that energy and just pray. Take it to the tabernacle. Take it to God and pray.

The second recommendation from St Bernard is to have faith and take action. Even if you don’t have anything, simply take action. Don’t wait. And don’t be only taking action in the form of asking for money. Take action with your mission. So why do I say this? Well, St Bernard asked one of his brothers to go and buy salt. And obviously they didn’t have any money, so the brother responded, “Well, with what money am I going to buy salt with?” And Bernard replied, “I know not the time when I had gold or silver. He who is above holds my wallet and my treasures in his hand. He who holds our treasures will be with thee in the way and will grant these things for which I send.” So he is saying, “Look, I don’t know. God will take care of it, Just go on, and do it. Have faith!” The brother, therefore, went on his way to the market to buy salt. On his journey, he encountered a priest. The priest asked him what he was doing, and the brother explained that he was off to buy salt with a somber look. That’s the way it’s described in the book. The priest, in response, gave him the salt and also gave him some money. When the brother returns with the news, Bernard says, “I tell thee, my son, that no one thing is necessary to a Christian as faith.” Therefore, the recommendation is to go out there and take action.

Lesson number three is the idea that when you change your demeanor, you also change your situation. Lesson one is don’t complain but rather pray. Lesson number two is to have faith and take action. Putting those two together, you have the third recommendation. What happened is that the brothers recognized that Bernard had a better way than just complaining and sitting around groping. They, therefore, changed their demeanor. They said, “You know what? We’re going to be on board with what Bernard says. We’re not going to oppose him. Bernard had been having a lot of confrontations with his brothers, but now they were coming around to seeing their situation differently. What happened after that? First, the curiosity around their community saw what they were trying to do. Then the sympathy of the neighborhood was attracted to the brothers. I’m quoting from the book, “Clairvaux was soon a place beyond the reach of those trials.” By getting on with their faith and taking action, by not complaining but rather praying, things changed. God responds. The community response.

Those are my three recommendations from St Bernard of Clairvaux. I hope you share this with a friend. Leave a comment. Contact me. Let me know if you need additional help with your fundraising. God love you.

Question: Which saint has given you great advice on how to raise funds? Please leave your comment below.

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Make sure to get your free copy of ‘The 10 Commandment of Catholic Fundraising’. It’s a book that highlights the ten tasks you should do to keep you focused on your mission and hit your fundraising target, every time.

Brice was born and raised Catholic. After enjoying a successful career in technology consulting with Accenture and PriceWaterhouseCoopers in cities across the United States (Dallas, San Francisco, Paris, Abu Dhabi, and London) around the world, he left it to help his Catholic diocese in London, England with a fundraising campaign. The campaign went on to raise over $60 million, the largest sum ever raised for the diocese and in the United Kingdom.

Learning from professional fundraisers, he figured out the basics and then left the diocese to focus on what he loves most: building Catholic charities that change the culture, save lives, and save souls.

Brice currently lives in Texas and travels the world helping Catholics fundraise. This website is where he shares what he is doing and how he is raising funds for Catholic causes and missions. That way you can move more quickly with your next appeal.

Please note: I reserve the right to delete comments that are offensive or off-topic. Mother Mary and Saint Joseph, protect us as we announce the good news of God's beloved Son, Jesus Christ.