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Tilma: Building a Catholic Ecosystem - An Interview with JM Boyd

In this episode, Andrew visits with JM Boyd, President of Glass Canvas and Co-founder of a brand new parish resource, Tilma. Glass Canvas started a few years ago as a full-service marketing firm dedicated to serving the faith-based Nonprofit community. Last year they launched Tilma, a product with the goal of connecting you with your parish and your Catholic community in new ways through the use of technology. Andrew and JM discuss Catholic organization’s taking the tools, resources and opportunities that we all use every day and leveraging them for evangelization and the Church.

 Show Notes:

Glass Canvas began about 9 years ago and JM joined the company 14 months later. He was raised as a missionary kid, born in Germany, raised mostly in Hawaii and was introduced early on with non-profits and the work they were doing. JM studied photography in school which led him into producing and, in fact, worked with his professors producing their projects. That opened up the agency world to him. Brand, creative and advertising agencies. 

After time in the corporate agency world, he left the industry for 6 years. Until he was approached by Glass Canvas. 


Glass Canvas

Called to walk with those who are led in the Spirit to unlock the ministries potential. Most ministries have so much potential that they are led to be ministers, leaders, etc. What they aren't typically are great communicators. Glass Canvas steps in and bridges that gap. 

Works with non-profits, faith based, mainly Catholic and Protestant. All four partners are Catholic so they are heavily involved in the Catholic community. 

There is so much potential to be unlocked in the Catholic world. 



Tilma began as an OSV challenge. About 5-6 years ago, as an agency, they began to notice similar issues among all their Catholic clients. Out of necessity, Glass Canvas began developing a tool to address the issue. 

They needed to take it from working with a company to being a product. The OSV challenge and Notre Dame center helped them make that happen. 

100 years ago, the Priests in the community knew all the families. They knew what was happening in the community. That's something that isn't happening and it isn't possible for the priest to know every family and every name and everything happening in their parish. 


What is Tilma

Tilma is a number of different web applications that work together to create a cohesive, holistic ministry model. There is a parish version, disciple version and a  community version that make up the core modules. 

Take the Parish module, it looks like a parish website, but what it is, is a relationship management system. It draws people into an opportunity to meet Jesus. And through a funnel. Drawing people into a journey that is personalized. 

This grows the giving in the church. It wasn't the motivator but a side benefit. 


Ministry Journey

The steps we go through when making a purchase or a different journey. Taking the example of engaged Kate. She comes to the church to book her wedding. The parish has now captured information about Kate. They can use this to cater content to her. 

They can send a congratulations. Then six months later, they can send a newlywed workshop invitation, etc. 

People evangelize people. 

Ministry journey's can begin at any stage. 


Tilma Library

Custom produced and curated content for the parish and organization. It gives the opportunity for ministries to reach a lot deeper. 


Does this create an Ecosystem?

With this creation, are you seeing other resources stepping in or connecting to fill in gaps and working together? Yes! 

Finding ministries that have different callings working together, being unified, to help each other in a substantial way without going to extremes to do it. 


Goals of Tilma

They just opened up the Parish side, this year, for pay what you can and get access to everything. 

People desire a way to connect and this gives them a way. 

If the Gap is sending you an email on your birthday, why isn't my church sending me an email on my birthday? When we are seen as an individual, you feel connected and it leads to getting involved. Whether that involvement looks like attendance, financial giving, etc. it's benefitting the community. 



Is it too invasive? Actually, they aren't finding pushback. Most of the time, they are using information they already have. What they don't have is what the interests are. What they are careful about is making sure that information isn't connected to a person's name but is owned by the individual. 

With the information, the pastor can cater to his parish. Can tailor his homilies to what his parish is interested in. 


Patron Saint

Tilma is the name of Juan Diego's tool. Juan Diego and Our Lady of Guadalupe. The tilma was Juan's tool that he used to gather his crops. Just like Juan, they are taking this tool and offering it to Our Lady and asking for help to unify our people and our nation. 


Lightening Round:

  1. If you could fund-raise for any organization at any time in history, what would it be?
    • The Franciscan Friars of the Renewal
  2. If you could get a donor meeting with anyone living or dead, who would it be?
    • I don't know. Jesus!
  3. Is there enough money out there for every organization doing good work?
    • Absolutely. There's a fear but we have to remember that we serve an abundant God. We just need to connect with those that align with the work you are doing. 
  4. What is one piece of advice that you would give your past self?
    • Trust more! 
  5. Who are 3 people who have most influenced you, professionally?
    • His missionary Father, Father-in-Law, Don Katz - founder of Audible
  6. What is one fact about JM that most people don’t know?
    • By the time he was 18, he had been to 98 countries

 If you would like to reach JM, you can find him at or


Andrew's Key Take-Aways:

1. It was an interesting point that JM made about the difference between being a service agency and being a product. Glass Canvas has been in the service world for a while but launching Tilma as a new product is different. It's a really interesting point and might possibly be the shift that you or someone you know may need to be thinking about. Or might need to consider down the road. Each paths have very different strategies but you might not necessarily think about these differences if you’re not aware going into it with that in mind.

2. It’s not news to anyone who is in fundraising or who listens to this show regularly, but JM reiterated the point that people give to places where they feel connected and they spend their time. Volunteers are a prime category of donors who at times, we might be intimidated to reach out to with an ask. Certainly, some people give time because that's their available commodity, but don’t make that assumption for everyone. If you have some key volunteers who you have never spent time visiting with, maybe now is the time to reach out.

3. Tilma seems like an amazing resource for the Church and I love how it is beginning to create an ecosystem around it to allow for sustainability. It’s just like a coral reef can’t exist without the fish that live in it and the shrimp that keep it clean and the algae that grow on it and produce oxygen. Tilma, and other similar ventures and ideas, cannot exist in a vacuum and be successful. It is so important for organizations and leaders to connect with others and be mindful of how we can support each other. That's a big reason why we do this podcast and I hope that hearing this story might lead you to connect or to at least consider how you might contribute to the Catholic ecosystem of innovation and growth. 


Andrew's Action Item:

That last point is going to double as my action item for the week. I’m not necessarily advocating for you to go out and try to bring Tilma to your parish, although I’m also not saying not to do that. But I want to encourage you today and this entire year to reflect on how are you contributing to the Catholic community outside of your work or outside of you circle of influence. Supporting good ideas and supporting new ventures is how we will continue to move forward and be a better Church for our world today and our world tomorrow.


So I hope that WE can connect at some point. Send me an email at [email protected] and let me know what projects you're working on. I would love to hear about it. And if today happens to be your birthday, let me join the world in wishing you a very happy and blessed day today. God bless.


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