Faith-Based Fundraising Relies Heavily on Heartstrings
While most faith-based organizations focus on social service, community development or health case, etc., the mission of the National Catholic Development Conference is fundraising itself — fundraising done in an ethical, professional way to benefit the organizations that operate within the religious community.
According to NCDC President and CEO Sr. Georgette Lehmuth, the organizations that benefit from NCDC’s education, networking and advocacy programs range in size and structure from one-person programs raising less than $1 million to much larger and more sophisticated departments. Fundraising strategies among these organizations are direct-mail heavy, although many have major-gifts and planned-giving arms as well.
“One thing our members hold in common is that no gift is too small,” Lehmuth says. “Every donor deserves thanks for their contribution. There are also some surprising stories out there about the two-dollar donor who leaves the charity a significant gift in a bequest.”
Here, Lehmuth talks more about the NCDC and the special challenges facing nonprofit organizations with faith-based missions.
FundRaising Success: Who is your target demographic as far as fundraising?
GL: The primary target for our members is the Catholic community. However, in the case of many of our social-service groups, there is a growing trend to reach beyond Catholics. A great number of the people served by these agencies are not Catholic and, therefore, it seems reasonable to reach beyond the Catholic community for support. In fact, these groups are receiving support from other than Catholic donors because of the incredible amount of good these organizations do for all people in need.
Most of our members who serve primarily the Catholic community are working diligently to be more inclusive of many cultures within the community by targeting African-American, Asian, Eastern European and Hispanic Catholics. A significant number of our members also are exploring fundraising in Europe as well.