Signs of hope


The global pandemic has brought uncertainly to every aspect of life. For Catholic parishes, concerns over the virus have negatively impacted Mass attendance, ministry participation and ultimately, the operating budget. But the decline in revenue doesn’t necessarily mean there’s a decline in affinity. In fact, many donors are more motivated than ever to help.

Major donors repeatedly tell the Steier Group they are continuing to support the organizations that matter most to them.

“You need to ask,” said Paul B. Bolus, a philanthropist in Alabama, during the Steier Group’s Donor Diagnosis live web forum. “You need to do it in the right way, knowing that not everyone can give at this time. But those that can give I really believe will give and will give in larger numbers, if they can.”

Additionally, for many major donors, the stock market’s recovery makes it easier to commit to donations. Despite high unemployment, the stock market remains strong. This provides major donors with the security to continue giving at high levels.

A recent study by DickersonBakker found similar results nationally for religious organizations. Here are a few important points from the study:

  • Of donors who give $1,000 or more per year, 85 percent expect their giving to hold steady or increase.
    • This includes 21 percent who say their giving will increase a little and 4 percent who say it will increase a lot.
    • Only 5 percent expect their faith-based giving to significantly decrease.
  • Ninety-two percent of these donors will continue prioritizing the same nonprofits, with only 8 percent shifting their giving priorities.
  • While only 26 percent of these donors are comfortable attending large fundraising events like galas, 76 percent are comfortable with one-on-one personal visits and 80 percent are comfortable with small group events, assuming proper health and safety measures are in place.

As you plan for your organization’s future, make sure to keep these positive signs in mind. We are all in this together and the end of the pandemic is coming.

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