Inspired by a quote from Fr. Henri Nouwen, an international Insights and Data Consultant shared his knowledge in organizing a fundraiser to the delegates of the 4th National Catholic Media Convention (NMC 2018) recently held in Mergrande Ocean Resort in Davao City last August 7, 2018.
“Fundraising is, first and foremost, a form of ministry,” was Nouwen’s quote read by the Archdiocese of Sydney’s former Director of Development and Fundraising Chris Herron to the assembly of Catholic Communicators from all over the Country.
During the plenary entitled, “Bantay Bai! (Watch out! Data Analytics and Storytelling in Catholic Fundraising)”, Herron shared some basic ideas in organizing and managing fundraising activities.
“As Catholic Fundraisers, when we ask for support, we are asking on behalf of the Lord in order to carry out Christian good works,” Herron stressed, focusing on the importance of organizing and managing fundraising efforts.
He explained how Telling, Asking and Thanking people are the basic things a parish or an organization can do for a successful fundraising activity. But Herron “added” a Catholic element to all these preparations, by urging them to pray as they go about each step of the way. Jesus Christ, he said, is one’s advantage whenever one asks monetary support for one’s causes.
He said authentic storytelling using Social Media through videos or photographs are effective ways in showing future and current donors how their financial support can make a difference. In addition, Catholics who want to give their support but just don’t know how to will be made aware of the opportunities available to them.
However, Herron reminded the delegates that one has to be a very good storyteller or else one “cannot influence people to give”. He added there are also two ways to encourage people to give to the Church: direct and indirect. The direct way is to personally ask people. While the indirect manner is through Catholic newspapers or parish newsletters, Media, and the like.
He acknowledged the fact that it is a daunting task to ask people for money when it comes to charity or fundraising and that he used to feel that way. But he said one has to realize that the support being asked for is not for oneself but for the work of Jesus Christ.
He also stressed the need to thank the donors for their generosity with consistency through letters, cards, phone call, a visit, or remember them during a special event in their lives. Volunteers, he added, should also be trained or taught how to respond to queries regarding their fundraising projects.
Herron also shared the importance of keeping track and of documenting an ongoing fundraiser or charity by collecting information of the donors and the current status of the project for purposes of transparency.
A Roman Catholic Convert, Chris Herron organized the first ever Archdiocese of Sydney Catholic Fundraisers Pilgrimage and Conference in Rome in 2017. After working in the Marketing Industry in Australia for 30 years, he moved to Thailand where he is currently setting up a fundraising school in Pattaya. (~Shirly Anne Benedictos)