This is undoubtedly an extraordinary period and, over the past few months, an increasingly challenging time for dioceses and parishes. Among the common challenges facing the Church include: reductions in weekly offertory, difficulty in administering gift collections, and uncertainty about how best to communicate with parishioners.
These five steps can be put into action now to address your immediate funding concerns:
Increase communication with parishioners using:
- The parish website and newsletter (hardcopy or e-newsletter)
- At-Mass announcements (if Mass is being live-streamed)
- A short on-line video from the parish priest or bishop
- A letter/email to each parishioner, checking on their safety, sharing news on special measures in place to support parishioners, requesting their prayers, and asking for consideration (if they can) of continued weekly giving. Include a link to donate on-line
- Telephone calls to parishioners (a parish may do this in batches or request volunteers to help) with the above message
2. Calls to Action
Across all channels, include ‘calls to action,’ on the parish website and perhaps in the newsletter, include a letter from the parish priest seeking participation in a few different ways:
- Completing a prayer card
- Submitting a note of appreciation for someone
- Volunteering to ‘phone a fellow parishioner
- If appropriate now, continuing to donate
3. Rationale for Giving
Communicate the strong rationale for giving.
- Share the impact of continuing one’s regular offertory
- Where relevant, emphasise the importance of Easter collections to priests and their congregations
4. Giving Options
Ensure that parishioners are aware of their giving options which may include:
- Envelope collection (reference box locations)
- Online – make the online button easy to find and use, and include a link in all communications
5. Special Updates
Consider a fortnightly update delivered by the parish priest or bishop – this could be done via social media, video conferencing etc to share:
- Positive news about parish support groups
- Ways in which others can help
- Stories of hope and courage
CCS recently hosted a webinar discussing these tactics, as well as additional practical strategies for navigating the current situation. You may be interested in listening to this complimentary webinar recording titled, Responding to COVID-19: Supporting Parishes & Dioceses. The recording and slides from the presentation are now available here.
CCS will continue to offer our perspectives and lessons learned from over seven decades of nonprofit advisory leadership. To access more tools that provide best practices and optimal strategies to help your organisation build a path forward through this crisis: visit our Resources for COVID-19 page.