Has your ministry been sending out the same old year-end appeal letter, year after year?
Is your appeal just a shot in the dark? You spend time getting the wording and layout just right, but you don't really know if it is moving the people who read it.
Is your letter even getting read by its recipients, or are most of them just dropping the envelope straight into the kitchen garbage can?
It's time to have confidence that you can design and send year-end appeals that bring your mission to your prospects and motivate them to participate by their financial support.
Let the Experts Show You the Way
On Tuesday, October 18, Petrus is bringing together three great experts to unpack the do's and don't's of appeal letters from every angle:
By Mary Walker, Petrus Blog Contributor
Latest Information on Giving Trends
Giving USA 2022: The Annual Report on Philanthropy for the Year 2021 was released in June. The Indiana University Lilly Family School of Philanthropy researched and wrote the report.
The following are highlights that I thought would interest Petrus clients and blog readers. The opinions expressed below are my own. If you would like more detail, summary information is available for free here. You can subscribe to the ENTIRE report here.
In 2020, the year that we adjusted our fundraising programs and expectations due to COVID, more money was given than in any previous year studied--and about 5% more than in 2019. See last year’s blog post for my analysis of why 2020 was a time of great generosity.
When adjusted for inflation, the amount given in 2021 was essentially flat. So, the bad news is that...
This episode of the Petrus Development show features the keynote address by Matt Regitz of Divine Renovation at the Petrus Development Conference (PDC) in June. Matt joins conference participants to talk about the importance of healthy leadership teams in ministry. By contrasting the characteristics of successful and unsuccessful teams, Matt outlines specific ways in which pastors and lay leaders can work together to build thriving parishes and ministries.
Matt Regitz comes to the Petrus Development Conference to share his experience in creating healthy leadership teams for Catholic parishes. Matt is a leadership coach for Divine Renovation, an organization dedicated to helping parishes build leadership teams that take the parish “from maintenance to mission.” Divine Renovation recognizes and addresses the pastoral and administrative challenges that clergy face and, in turn, they help pastors build a...
By Mary Walker, Petrus Blog Contributor
Donor meetings can be intimidating to both new and experienced development professionals, but they also have the potential to be such fruitful blessings to our ministry. In my years of fundraising, I've developed a series of steps that helps me prepare and plan before my donor meetings.
In a previous life, I spent 11 years in technical sales for a large computer company. Before I made an important call or presentation, I would say the prayer to the Holy Spirit. I memorized this prayer in second grade—long before I understood the words. The prayer is very “all purpose.” I used it before tests in high school and college, difficult conversations, and sales calls. The prayer doesn’t ask for a specific outcome, but requests God’s inspiration for the work I was about to do.
In the corporate world, my prayer was a private endeavor, with me grabbing a bit of silence away from coworkers, often in the...
By Meghan Larsen-Reidy, Campus Minister, Diocese of Pittsburgh
My background is in ministry and not in development; however, the pandemic made it impossible to continue doing ministry without fundraising. There was a reduction in the funding source of my job’s budget, and in order for it to continue, I needed to begin fundraising. Suddenly the Petrus Development Conference, which had not been on my radar before Covid-19, seemed like the most logical event to attend in order to learn more. Although I was initially intimidated because of my lack of prior experience and knowledge of the other attendees, I was at ease after the first few sessions. I was inspired to hear about the growth one ministry in particular had because of strategic fundraising. The lessons shared were ones I could easily apply to my own situation. Throughout the few days, the talks varied between practical development strategies, inspiring stories of serious growth in ministries, and useful...
By Bryan Wilburn, Director of Development, St. Paul’s Newman Center at NDSU
What can you do when you’re in a rut?
I suppose one option would be to stay there. To act as if it’s not happening and try to power through on your own. Oftentimes though, the first step to getting better is admitting something is wrong.
This was where I found myself two and half years into my professional fundraising career. I had achieved a moderate level of success in annual giving and even some major giving for our Newman Center’s capital campaign. Even so, I was in a rut. There seemed to be so much more to fundraising, which I felt I wasn’t reaching. I would tell myself, “maybe I’m just not cut out for this.” It was then that my astute supervisor encouraged me to go to my first Petrus Conference in 2018.
To understand why I was in a rut, I want to acknowledge a real truth: fundraising is hard. Not only is fundraising hard as a...
In this episode, Andrew visits with Dr. Mike St. Pierre, Executive Director of Catholic Campus Ministry Association (CCMA). When Mike joined CCMA in 2015, he was able to bring new life and new energy to the organization. Andrew and Mike discuss CCMA, how Mike decided to leave a successful career in Catholic schools to lead the organization, and about his approach to remote work…even before it was cool. They are also able to discuss the importance of professionalism and how to organize your schedule using an Agile method. Be sure to listen till the end for Andrew's Key Take-Aways.
In 1893, Timothy Harrington, founded the Newman Club at the University of Pennsylvania. In 1908, the Federation of Catholic College Students (FCCS) was established at Purdue University. 42 years later, in 1950, the National Newman Chaplains Association was established for ordained chaplains at non-Catholic colleges and universities. And then in 1969, the...
By Mary Hernandez, Petrus Blog Contributor
The newest release of the Association of Fundraising Professionals (AFP) annual Compensation and Benefits Study is timed perfectly for organizations creating a strategic plan to start or grow their development team in the new year. We've limited the scope of the 178-page report to look at key findings from the United States in religious, higher education, and human services sectors.
The data takes some of the mystery out navigating compensation for development professionals, who are integral to making your development program successful. By looking holistically at professional compensation relative to organization budget, team size, geographic region, and several other data points, you will better understand how growing your team may impact your budget.
Organizations should be mindful that statistics and numbers only tell a part of the story. These data points do not measure the intangible qualities that ultimately make a...
By JoAnn Shull, Petrus Consultant
I’m going to be really honest with you, dear reader, in that for the vast majority of my life I had no idea what this idea of “development” was or that I would end up in a career that I didn’t even know existed.
Growing up, my family was not church-going, but I fell into going to the youth group at my parish thanks to some high school friends. My involvement at church and my relationship with Christ grew into my college years where I stayed very active in my Catholic Newman Center at Truman State University. In an unfortunate twist of events, two weeks after I graduated from college, my Newman Center was struck by lightning and burned to the ground. My bike – which was still chained to the bike rack outside the center – was warped from the heat of the flames.
This was a huge shock for me. A place that was so formative in my faith was gone. All that remained...
In this episode, Andrew visits with Kevin Cotter, Executive Director of Amazing Parishes, a ministry of the church that offers instruction and education to pastors as well as coaching to help them develop a team around them to make their parish amazing. We all know and have experienced our church leadership transitioning over the years. Many priests and pastors struggle to know how to lead and how to build up an enduring leadership team that can survive those transitions, illustrating a point that parish leadership is so important and critical to the community and to the lives of the parishioners. In this episode, Andrew and Kevin dive into this issue as well as discussing the importance of the apprenticeship model in the church and the need for a strong prayer life both personally and professionally.
Amazing Parish will be gathering for their 2021 conference in Kansas City on June 21-23. Please pray for everyone involved in that and if you want more information...