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My Reflections on the 2018 Petrus Leadership Conference

plc Jan 23, 2018

By Ryan Kekula, Director of Development of Warhawk Catholic Campus Ministry at U of Wisconsin – Whitewater

The day I showed up at the 2018 Petrus Leadership Conference in San Antonio, TX, I had been a Development Director for exactly 97 days.  Suffice it to say, I had no idea what to expect from my first development conference.  Being back home and having some time to reflect, it’s more than fair to say that this conference was extremely valuable for me even as a newbie.

UW-Whitewater Warhawk Catholic Campus Ministry is starting a brand new development program, so the chance for me to go to the conference and meet people from other campuses as various stages in their development programs was a great opportunity to learn, have conversations with colleagues and hear some experienced speakers.  The conference was a great way to share ideas, best practices, and even things that didn’t work, and that really helps put us on the right track for a...

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A Year-End Fundraising Checklist

By Mark Randall, CFRE, Executive Director of Pontifical North American College (Rome)

As we approach the end of the calendar year, development teams are in full swing. With estimates of 30% of all annual giving taking place in December (and 12% in the last three days of the year!), we have reason to be active. But no matter how things are going, don’t relax just yet. Here are ten donor-centric ideas you should consider to maximize revenue and relationships.

  1. Know when your major donors give to your organization. Run reports, check your data. Why wait to contact lapsed donors until January? Get in touch now and invite their renewal before 12/31. Many donors are busy and appreciate the reminder. Remember to let them know what you will do with their gift (mission impact!).
  2. Don’t rely solely on your year-end direct mail appeal. People give to people – not paper. Even major donors set aside appeal packages and wait for a personal ask. Never assume the check will...
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Six Books for Any Catholic Fundraiser’s Christmas List

resources Nov 28, 2017

By Andrew Robison, President of Petrus Development

A capacity, and taste, for reading gives access to whatever has already been discovered by others.” – Abraham Lincoln

Every year as we get close to Christmas, my family always asks me to give them my Christmas list. Not really being one to spend much time thinking about this, I generally just say “tools.” Of course, as a father of young children, I can be assured of getting at least a few pairs of socks and a tie and that’s alright too. However, I also love to get and give books as Christmas gifts as well. So I thought I would mention a few of my favorite books that are relevant as a Catholic fundraiser.

Asking by Jerold Panus

This book is super quick but jam-packed with great lessons for anyone just getting into development. Presented as a “A 59-Minute Guide to Everything Board Members, Volunteers, and Staff Must Know to Secure the Gift,” it is also a wonderful resource for...

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Get the Good Word Out with Effective Newsletters

By Mike Perkins, South Area Director at the Fellowship of Catholic University Students

Henry Ford said, “You can’t build a reputation on what you are going to do.”

Newsletters, when done well, can be an effective means of spreading the good word about your mission and ministry. At the same time, quality work can produce a return on the investment of staff time and energy. They enable us to tell our constituents what we are doing right now and why our current ministry efforts will make a difference in the future. In short, newsletters communicate why your ministry is worthy of their trust and philanthropic support.

It’s all about Relationships

One consistent Petrus mantra is that “development is about relationships.” Building a sustainable development program compels us to identify prospects, inform them about our ministry, involve them in the ministry and secure their investment in a manner that is fulfilling for them while also meeting our...

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A Spirituality of Fundraising

invitation prayer resources Oct 16, 2017

By Jamie Cappetta, President at USC Caruso Catholic Center

5 Reasons to read “A Spirituality of Fundraising” by Henri Nouwen


5. You will be Encouraged

“Fundraising is a very rich and beautiful activity. It is a confident, joyful and hope-filled expression of ministry. In ministering to each other, each from the riches that he or she possesses, we work together for the full coming of God’s Kingdom.”
“Fundraising is proclaiming what we believe in such a way that we offer other people an opportunity to participate with us in our vision and mission.”
“We are inviting you to invest yourself through the resources that God has given you – your energy, your prayers and your money – in this work to which God has called us.”

4. You will be Challenged

“We will never be able to ask for money if we do not know how we ourselves relate to money. What is the place of money in our lives?”
“Are we...

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Making a Statement: Mission and Vision

basics vision Sep 25, 2017

By Tara Doyon, Director of Stewardship and Development at St. Paul Catholic Center

Mission and vision statements function as essential guideposts for any organization but can be vital to the success or failure of a small nonprofit or ministry. These foundational documents allow your ministry to execute, evaluate, and grow or adapt your organization’s purpose and direction. When an organization’s mission and vision are clearly defined, they can motivate staff members and projects. When used effectively, these statements help to create organizational clarity and a sense of purpose. However, an organization with an undefined mission and vision tends to jump indiscriminately from activity to activity to sustain its present state.

A mission statement gives the reason your ministry exists: its purpose and objectives, a statement of the present. A vision statement focuses on the ministry’s goals and inspires action; it is a statement of the future.


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Is “Crisis Giving” an Effective Development Strategy?

donors volunteers Sep 06, 2017

By Andrew Robison, President of Petrus Development

No matter where in the country you are, you have undoubtedly seen the images of the destruction that Hurricane Harvey has left in its wake. Over 21 trillion gallons of water across Texas and Louisiana, over 50 inches of rain in many parts of Houston and Southeast Texas, up to 500,000 ruined cars and trucks, 180,000 homes damaged or destroyed, over 42,000 people forced to evacuate, and up to $190 billion in overall economic cost to the region. And now we have Hurricane Irma barreling down on the Caribbean and Florida. Natural disasters like these have long-lasting effects on millions of people in the region and more secondary effects on just about every person in America. There’s no question about it.

As with many tragic events like this, we also get to witness the strength of people and communities coming together to help those in need. I live in College Station, TX which is about 90 miles northwest of Houston. Once we...

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Hiring a Great Development Director

focus goals growth prayer Aug 20, 2017

By John Flynn, Vice President of Philanthropy
Fellowship of Catholic University Students (FOCUS)

Good development people are hard to come by. Great development people are even tougher to find. We often talk to leaders who are quick to share their true feelings about their experience of hiring a Development Director. Those conversations commonly begin with statements such as these:

• “We hired a development director, now we can get back to our real jobs.”
• “We hired a development director, but he/she didn’t even raise her own salary the first year so we let him/her go.”
• “Development people expect you to do their jobs for them. It isn’t my job go out and visit with people about making gifts.”

When working in the Church or a small non-profit, we expect to find that ideal candidate that will raise all the money required to balance the budget, work long hours with little recognition and get compensated nominally for...

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Andrew Robison is the new President of Petrus, LLC

news Jul 18, 2017

Petrus Development is pleased to announce Andrew Robison as the company’s new President, effective July 1, 2017. Robison will lead Petrus’ national development efforts.

Robison is an established leader in fund development across many sectors of the nonprofit community. He has worked for over 12 years in development roles in Catholic campus ministry, higher education and academic medicine. Most recently at the Texas A&M Foundation and Texas A&M College of Medicine, Robison has been a Petrus consultant since 2012. As president, Robison will be responsible for the management and growth of Petrus Development, as well as handle client interaction, manage consultants and project managers, direct the Petrus Leadership Conference and lead efforts for new business development.

“I am ecstatic to begin this new chapter with Petrus,” said Robison. “The company is positioned to take a big leap in our work of helping Catholic institutions across the...

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Q&A With Andrew Robison

Q&A with Andrew Robison, president of Petrus Development

Andrew Robison, president of Petrus Development sits down and answers some questions about his new role and his vision for the future of higher-ed fund development.

What is the most important role of Petrus?

Petrus Development exists for one major reason: to help our organizations raise more money so they are better equipped to offer more ministry and bring more people to Christ. The organizations that we work with are good organizations doing good work. They are run by good people with hearts for Christ and for the Church. Our role is very simple. We want to help them hire passionate people with the potential to become great fundraisers and then train and equip those people to lead their development programs to new heights. I believe that we can provide inspiration and information to help our clients create a vision for greatness, possibly visions that they’ve never even imagined. But that is not enough, we must...

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