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Blueprint for Development: Annual Fund on the Petrus Development Show

In this episode, the Blueprint for Development series is on it's third installment. Tara and Sarah are back with Annual Funds, also known as an operating budget or director's fund. How can you create a new or sustainable development program that doesn't depend solely on that one event or those 1-2 major donors? Tara and Sarah give some great starting tips on making that change from dependence to sustainable. 

If you missed the first two episodes in this series, you can find them here:

Blueprint for Development: Infrastructure

Blueprint for Development: Communications

Show Notes:

Tara and Sarah are back in this third installment of the "Blueprint for Development" series, discussing Annual Funds, aka operating budget or director's fund. 

This is your general operating funds that come in from donations. Funds that you can generally count on as part of your general budget. 

Due to 2020, there's a need to look more critically at annual funds. Parishes especially have been hit hard. Parishioners who give during the church service haven't been in attendance due to closures, so they aren't giving to the Sunday collections. 

Galas are in person events that raise the funds for the year. However, not being able to have those events, has contributed to a decline in funds. 

Virtual events have helped, but how sustainable are those over the years? 

Where are our revenue streams coming from beyond weekly collections?

  • 1-2 appeals a year
  • events
  • donors


How do we diversify our streams of income? How do we funnel new donors into our streams?

  • Intentional Asks - Intentional Appeals
    • what does the money support and how can we ask for an amount beyond that
    • talking about giving cannot be a one time conversation
    • money is the vehicle that allows us to develop our ministry
  • Finance Council AND Stewardship
    • look at your finances through the lens of ministry
    • how can you share that message


What would a New or Sustainable Development Program look like?

  • Understand your community
    • look at your schedule or calendar
    • activities in the fall, slow at the year end
    • make sure our appeals follow those patterns unique to your community
  • Send appeal letters
    • capitalize on times between Thanksgiving and Christmas
    • almsgiving during Lent
    • celebration times/Liturgical Year
    • this is not capitalizing on the Liturgy
  • Have ample opportunities for people to get connected
    • monthly giving 
    • understand what the opportunities are
    • communicate at the solicitation, discovery, cultivation and stewardship levels
  • Availability of the information of opportunities for donors
    • website
    • bulletin
    • newsletters
    • social media


Matching Challenges and Wish-lists

A beneficial way of diversifying from your annual fundraiser, to year round giving. 

Matching Collection:

  • Specific Sunday or Specific Appeal
    • You've found a donor that will match a certain dollar amount for each dollar given. 
    • Usually one specific donor who are willing to match 
    • Creates a sense of urgency to give and excitement

Wish Lists

  • Medium to high dollar items that people can physically make a contribution to supporting
    • ex: sending 10 students on retreat and it will cost x amount 
    • lots of people like to give to specific things


Create the donor experience that you would want to have. 


Sarah's Main Take-Away:

When you are starting out, the biggest thing to know about an annual fund is creating a strategy. What is the plan. Intentionally creating different events, appeals that are targeting throughout the year. 


Tara's Main Take-Away:

When we leave things up to chance, we usually don't have such success. But when we are intentional, we have an answer. 


If you have questions for Petrus, email us at [email protected]. We’d love to chat.

And as always, we hope you have a great day today, God bless you and God bless your work.


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