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Case Study: St. Al’s Living Faith Society

By Sarah Rose, Petrus Development Consultant

St. Albert the Great’s monthly giving program is living! I don’t mean their monthly giving program is called the “Living Faith Society,” but it is actually living. It is growing and bringing life into their development program. And yours can too!

St. Albert the Great University Parish is an active and vibrant parish that is home to students, faculty, staff, alumni, and friends of Michigan Technological University, Finlandia University, and Gogebic Community College.

A recurring monthly giving program is hugely beneficial to both your ministry and your donors.

For example, a donor can provide a larger gift spread over twelve monthly installments than he or she would be able to provide in one or two larger donations within the year.  St. Al’s Living Faith Society average gift size is $57.78 a month, ranging from $10 to $300 a month.

With the Living Faith Society, St. Al’s has a predictable cash flow that allows them to better budget for the year. Currently, their Living Faith Society provides them $8,800 a month. That’s more than $100,000 a year!

Asking for monthly support is a great starting point for prospective major donors. It gives prospects a chance to become more familiar, engaged and invested in your ministry.

Andy and Christina were one of the first twenty donors to join St. Al’s Living Faith Society in 2016. Before signing up, they made occasional donations but were largely out of touch with St. Al’s. After becoming monthly donors, they received stewardship letters from Fr. Ben, the Pastor at St. Al’s, with the Living Faith devotionals. Over the summers, St. Al’s sent occasional extra books for donors to go deeper into their faith journey. Now, Andy and Christina are co-chairs for St. Al’s Capital Campaign. All it took was that first step.

How did St. Al’s start their Living Faith Society?

Before 2015, they had no monthly giving program and hardly a website. In October 2015, they set up a website for online donations and a started their monthly giving program. In that first semester, three people signed up.

In an effort to build awareness and recruit new members, St. Al’s set-up a matching collection to motivate donors to join the Living Faith Society. Here’s how it works. Every spring semester, St. Al’s invites a few major donors to match the first 6 months’ worth of giving for each new member of the Living Faith Society. Typically, this has been a $10,000 matching gift. With this matching gift, when somebody new signed up for a recurring monthly gift of $100 they “earn” St. Al’s 6 months x $100/month = $600 toward the $10,000 matching gift.

Then St. Al’s sends out a postcard, e-mail and other communication inviting people to join the Living Faith Society by signing-up to donate monthly. The matching donors have been different people over the years, but this past spring, Fr. Ben contacted about 30 recent graduates and personally asked them to collectively donate $1,000 a month as the matching donors. The response was very positive and engaged many young alumni as recurring donors.

Going back to 2016, after a year of promotion and asking, St. Al’s had 41 members in the Living Faith Society. Each year since, around 40 new members join. Only 14 members have left since 2015. On average, members of a monthly giving program tend to give on a recurring basis for five to seven years.

In only four years, St. Al’s has grown their Living Faith Society to 153 (and counting!) members contributing over $100,000 annually. Way to go, St. Al’s!

Just imagine, if you started a monthly giving program today with your ministry, where could it be in four years?

Sarah Rose serves Petrus as a Consultant. Sarah previously worked with Catholic Charities of Central Texas where she was responsible for creating and implementing a major gifts program, as well as coordinating and expanding all other development efforts. Sarah is a graduate of St. Edward’s University in Austin, Texas and resides in Austin with her husband Jimmy and their three children.

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