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Virtual Summit Week 3 Recap


by Andrew N. Robison, President of Petrus Development


What an amazing three weeks!

On April 3, we wrapped up the COVID-19 Fundraising Virtual Summit by Petrus. Over the course of the Summit, we held 14 days of discussions, shared countless stories, hosted industry leading experts and received serious doses of spiritual nourishment. I was fortunate to serve as the host for all 14 sessions and despite a changing environment (figuratively and literally), countless distractions (new announcements and demanding children) and technical challenges (did anyone else receive a text message reminder about 12 hours too late…), the Summit brought incredible hope for everyone involved (especially me).

Last week I shared Five Takeaways from Week 2. In today's post, I will share takeaways from Week 3.

  1. This is a tremendous opportunity to transition your donors to online giving and especially recurring giving. What are some of the ways to help your donors? Debra Richmond gave us three tips. Make sure people can find your giving page, make it easy for donors to actually make a gift, and make it easy for donors to find your contact information. Rhen Hoehn also shared a number of great tips for growing your monthly giving program. Brand your giving program. Find an opportunity to have a regular touch point with those donors. Integrate monthly giving into all of your appeal strategies and consider matching gift campaigns to drive more monthly donors. The world is shifting to digital payment methods and now is the time that our churches and ministries need to shift as well. 
  2. Budgeting in a crisis can seem like a terrifying task, but it can also be a time for reflection and implementing positive changes across an organization. Brenda Cannella spoke about reviewing a budget to know where your vulnerabilities lie. She used the example of the Fellowship of Catholic University Students (FOCUS) in her presentation. During the recession of 2008-09, FOCUS lost over 50 percent of their giving from major gifts but actually increased their missionary support during the same time. If your revenue is too heavily weighted toward one donor or one segment of your donor pool, now is the time to focus on the other areas to reduce that vulnerability in the future. 
  3. The corporate world is facing the same challenges and struggling to adapt in the same ways as the nonprofit world. Val Villarreal, Product Manager at Instagram, shared from her experiences in the tech world and drove home the point that we are not simply “all working from home.” We are also managing a crisis while transitioning to a completely remote workforce. This is not easy for anyone. All of us have the opportunity during this time to simply make it through or we can seek “post traumatic growth.” Val made a great point that, “we can choose to be alone or we can choose to try, and maybe fail, but that’s better than being alone.”
  4. “Don’t just endure this experience, but live it.” Bishop Mike Sis of the Diocese of San Angelo closed out our Summit on Friday with a message for all of us to use this challenge to reflect on our own lives and grow in holiness. The most important thing is to keep our eyes focused on Jesus Christ and we will all be okay. 
  5. The Catholic Church is going to outlast COVID-19. We all serve a God who is much bigger than a single virus. While we are facing a challenging situation, and there will undoubtedly be some short-term pain and suffering, the message of Jesus Christ will endure and we will be stronger in so many ways down the road. In his letter to the Colossians, Paul gives us courage through his example:

24 Now I rejoice in my sufferings for your sake, and in my flesh I am filling up what is lacking in the afflictions of Christ on behalf of his body, which is the church, 25 of which I am a minister in accordance with God’s stewardship given to me to bring to completion for you the word of God, 26 the mystery hidden from ages and from generations past. But now it has been manifested to his holy ones, 27 to whom God chose to make known the riches of the glory of this mystery among the Gentiles; it is Christ in you, the hope for glory. 28 It is he whom we proclaim, admonishing everyone and teaching everyone with all wisdom, that we may present everyone perfect in Christ. 29 For this I labor and struggle, in accord with the exercise of his power working within me.

God bless all of our speakers, attendees and ministries. It has been an honor of mine and I cannot wait to remain connected and continue working together to build the Kingdom of God. 

If you missed an episode and would like to watch it, you can find all 14 sessions on the Petrus YouTube channel as well as on the Petrus Virtual Summit landing page. Audio is also available on our podcast, The Petrus Development Show

God bless and remember, #thistooshallpass. 

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