Has your ministry been sending out the same old year-end appeal letter, year after year?
Is your appeal just a shot in the dark? You spend time getting the wording and layout just right, but you don't really know if it is moving the people who read it.
Is your letter even getting read by its recipients, or are most of them just dropping the envelope straight into the kitchen garbage can?
It's time to have confidence that you can design and send year-end appeals that bring your mission to your prospects and motivate them to participate by their financial support.
Let the Experts Show You the Way
On Tuesday, October 18, Petrus is bringing together three great experts to unpack the do's and don't's of appeal letters from every angle:
By Mary Walker, Petrus Blog Contributor
Cecilia (not her real name, but everything else is true) is an energized Catholic. She aims to
attend daily Mass and give her time, talent, and treasure to help others. She owns and maintains
her own home, and her son is “launched,” earning his own way in the world.
An accountant by profession, she retired 10 years ago at age 62 because that was the age of her
mother when she died. The decision to retire came after much prayer and discernment. With the
retirement plan from her job plus social security, Cecilia more than covers her expenses. In
addition, she has a traditional IRA, but because she doesn’t need those funds to live, she lets the
IRA money continue to grow.
Often, our senior benefactors, like Cecilia, view their IRAs as nest eggs—they don’t need the
available funds to live on, but they like having extra money for future expenses. However, when
they reach age 72, they MUST start...
By Mary Walker, Petrus Blog Contributor
Latest Information on Giving Trends
Giving USA 2022: The Annual Report on Philanthropy for the Year 2021 was released in June. The Indiana University Lilly Family School of Philanthropy researched and wrote the report.
The following are highlights that I thought would interest Petrus clients and blog readers. The opinions expressed below are my own. If you would like more detail, summary information is available for free here. You can subscribe to the ENTIRE report here.
In 2020, the year that we adjusted our fundraising programs and expectations due to COVID, more money was given than in any previous year studied--and about 5% more than in 2019. See last year’s blog post for my analysis of why 2020 was a time of great generosity.
When adjusted for inflation, the amount given in 2021 was essentially flat. So, the bad news is that...
In this episode, we feature Jacob Laskowski, founder and creative director of 86, and we present his recent keynote address from the Petrus Development Conference in June. Jacob shares his experience in brand development and storytelling, and he highlights ways that professional fundraisers can use the essential elements of brand management to draw donors closer to their organization’s mission and subsequently raise more money for their ministry.
Jacob Laskowski comes to the Petrus Development Conference to share his experience in brand development and storytelling. After winning a 2nd grade art contest, Jacob leaned into his enjoyment of art, grew his talent, and eventually realized he could use his art skills as a career. After working as a FOCUS missionary and as FOCUS’s creative director, Jacob founded 86, a firm that helps organizations and ministries with their messaging, brand identities, and marketing...
In this episode, we feature Dr. Adrian Sargeant, co-director of the Institute for Sustainable Philanthropy, as he gives his keynote address at the Petrus Development Conference in June. Dr. Sargeant shares his research about donor motivation and identity, and he discusses how we, as development professionals, can use his findings to increase giving to our parishes and ministries.
Dr. Adrian Sargeant comes to the Petrus Development Conference to share his experience in harnessing the power of donor motivation and identity in fundraising. Dr. Sargeant has significant experience teaching about philanthropy and fundraising, and he has authored several fundraising books including Building Donor Loyalty: The Fundraiser’s Guide to Increasing Lifetime Value.
Dr. Sargeant explains the donor motivation research he conducted with NPR. By changing the scripts NPR team members used with...
This episode of the Petrus Development show features the keynote address by Matt Regitz of Divine Renovation at the Petrus Development Conference (PDC) in June. Matt joins conference participants to talk about the importance of healthy leadership teams in ministry. By contrasting the characteristics of successful and unsuccessful teams, Matt outlines specific ways in which pastors and lay leaders can work together to build thriving parishes and ministries.
Matt Regitz comes to the Petrus Development Conference to share his experience in creating healthy leadership teams for Catholic parishes. Matt is a leadership coach for Divine Renovation, an organization dedicated to helping parishes build leadership teams that take the parish “from maintenance to mission.” Divine Renovation recognizes and addresses the pastoral and administrative challenges that clergy face and, in turn, they help pastors build a...
In this episode, Andrew welcomes Dennis Gerber, president of the Knights of Columbus Charitable Fund, to the podcast. Andrew and Dennis discuss donor-advised funds and current trends in fundraising. They chat about Dennis’s work at the Knights of Columbus Charitable (KCCF), and Dennis outlines how Catholic donors can benefit from a fund that aligns with their Catholic values.
Ever since Dennis was a young child, he had a passion for asking for money to help those in need. Dennis was a bold fundraiser in his youth. When he was seven, he walked his street asking neighbors for money for the poor; and when he was a college senior, he raised money to rebuild his frat house. His success raising money for his fraternity led to a post-college development job with his fraternity’s national office, and that position kicked off Dennis's career as a professional fundraiser.
In this episode, Andrew visits with Juliette Picciano, former director of the Cardinal’s Annual Stewardship Appeal for the Archdiocese of New York and current president of Cathedral High School in New York. (Juliette changed positions between when this podcast was recorded and when it was published!) Andrew and Juliette chat about Juliette’s work on the Cardinal’s Appeal and how her fundraising methods successfully adapted to the pandemic. The two also discuss trends in Catholic giving, and they highlight Juliette’s unique and successful hiring strategy.
Juliette is a graduate of Yale Divinity School, and when she applied for her first teaching job, she ended up working in the school’s admissions department. Juliette shares a touching story about the formational moment in which she decides to pursue a career in fundraising. After working in a variety of development positions for the...
By Jamie Cappetta, President, USC Caruso Catholic Center and Petrus Consultant
Like many development professionals, I didn’t start my career aspiring to be a fundraiser, but rather my aspiration was that of a professional baseball player. However, when I did not get drafted my senior year in college having played all four years at the University of Richmond, I decided to scratch the itch of the priesthood that had been ruminating in my heart for several years. The first step in that exploration was as a youth minister in South Boston for two years, followed by a year of discernment. During that discernment year, I worked at the Catholic Worker House in Philadelphia, the Christian Appalachian Project in Kentucky, and finally made a solo, three-month pilgrimage to Europe with one question in mind: “Lord, am I called to be a priest?”
Returning from that trip in May 2000, I confidently knew God was not calling me to the priesthood, but my heart...
In this episode, Andrew visits with Dr. Richard Ludwick, president of the University of St. Thomas in Houston. Dr. Ludwick shares about the mission and vision of University of Thomas, and he and Andrew discuss the unique collaboration between the University of St. Thomas’s MAX Studios with Word on Fire and their project that focuses on the effective use of social media for evangelization.
A country boy at heart, Dr. Ludwick grew up on a large farm in Indiana, married his high school sweetheart, and earned an impressive number of advanced degrees at universities across the country. Dr. Ludwick practiced law for a decade before starting his career in higher education.
University of St. Thomas
Dr. Ludwick admits that though a lot of people are not yet familiar with the University of St. Thomas (UST) in Houston, there are so many great things happening in the faithful and diverse UST community. UST...