More good news from Melbourne – Thanksgiving Program Increases!

The latest newsletter from Catholic Fundraising in Melbourne has good news: giving in the Archdiocese is up, it has been rising for the last six years, and there is room for more growth! All this is despite the falling massing attendances:

Thanksgiving income in the Archdiocese of Melbourne continues to rise, despite dwindling Mass attendances.The latest figures suggest that many Catholics are very happy to support their parish financially, even if they do not attend Mass every Sunday. Credit card and direct debit giving continues to grow with one Melbourne parish now receiving 53% of its Thanksgiving income from these sources. Highlights from the past six years (2001-2006) included:

· 126 Melbourne parishes used the services of Catholic Fundraising
· Their Thanksgiving income increased by 36%
· The remaining parishes’ income increased by 6%, during the same period
· The socio-economics of client and non-client parishes are identical
· Client parishes experienced a drop in Mass attendance of 9%
· Non-client parishes lost 14% of their congregation
· The average household giving in client parishes was 20% higher than in non-client parishes
o The participation rate among Mass-goers in client parishes was 57%, in non-client parishes it was 52%
· Client parish average annual income was $ 149,639
· Non-client parish average annual income was $81,180
· Client parishes, therefore, were $68,459 a year better off—or $1,317 a week

All of this information is based on actual receipts, as submitted by parishes in their Annual Returns to the Diocese from 2001-2006.

I take all my hats off (and I own quite a few) to the team at Catholic Fundraising. They are doing a great job. And keeping me, at least, in full time employment (or, more to the point, with a full time salary).

And here are some real life reports:

East Keilor
St Peter the Apostle Parish had not used the services of Catholic Fundraising since I 99 I. Fr Anthony Doran and the Parish Finance Commiftee decided it was time to do so again, It paid off! Income increased from $2,263 a week to $4,404 weekly with 47 new givers. Fr Doran summed it up “Overall, the feedback has been very positive from the parish and the results exceeded our expectations”.

Fr Owen Doyle parish prest of St Marys Rushworth took on a professional renewal of the parish Thanksgiving Programme at a time when others of his age have long since retired. This youthful octogenarian has always done things differently — like becoming a late vocation to the priesthood when his wife and mother to his nine children died.Today Fr Doyle still celebrates four weekend Masses at Rushworth, Stanhope, Cornella and Murchison — a round trip of 120 kilometres. The result of the programme reflected the high esteem in which Fr Doyle is held by parishioners. Income increased from $339 weekly to $1,134 weekly, with 43 new contributors joining the programme.

Now if only we can initiate a Catholic Mass Attendance program along the same lines as the Thanksgiving program, which (like the Thanksgiving program) includes an every member visitation, but focused on getting non-active members to sign up to attend mass each Sunday, then the Archdiocese will be booming! I guess we only have to invent a way for them to attend mass “electronically” on Sunday so that they don’t have to get out of bed…

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