St. Augustine’s hosted a training session for One Heart, One Soul volunteers the evening of September 18. Led by Bob McDonald, a consultant from the Steier Group, about two dozen parishioners from both St. Augustine’s and sister parish, St. Pius X, Brantford, received orientation and training for the capital campaign that will run from September to the end of November this year.
The Steier Group is a consultancy firm that has been contracted by the diocese to facilitate the campaign at both the parish and diocesan levels. McDonald was quick to emphasize how different this campaign was from those he typically works on.
“We don’t see this kind of campaign very often where the parishes get so much back,” he explained, noting that big campaigns usually see the bulk of funds raised heading to the diocese that is running it.
In the case of the Diocese of Hamilton’s One Heart, One Soul, parishes will keep a minimum of 75 percent of all money raised. The 25 percent that goes out from them will be used to fund diocesan ministries such as chaplaincies to universities, hospitals and prisons (15 percent) and to help parishes in need (10 percent of all funds raised).
St. Augustine’s fundraising target of $270,000 puts the parish under the threshold of $300,000 that identifies those parishes regarded as reasonably self-sufficient. As a result, if St. Augustine’s meets its target it will get a top up equivalent to 20 percent of what is raised here: an additional $54,000 as a bonus, which means that this parish will keep almost all of the money that is raised. Our campaign will then achieve $324,000, of which we will retain $243,000, or 90 percent of the $270,000 we actually raise. As McDonald put it, “this is an opportunity for parishes, not another assignment from the diocese”.
The task of volunteers is then to get people to decide on their commitment to the campaign, whatever the size of the sacrificial gift may be. Parish households will soon be receiving a package in the mail from the diocese outlining both the diocese-wide campaign and the specific parish appeal. The faithful then consider the case put to them, and decide upon a pledge amount that can be spread over a three-year period. “Your job,” McDonald told the volunteers at the session, “is to get the pledge cards filled out and returned”.
That process will involve encouragement to the parish generally from the pastor and the campaign, and with the contacting of individual households by volunteers. A good return rate of pledge cards, that will tell us if we made our goal or not, is heavily dependent on having parishioners willing to help out by contacting parish households through the months of October and November.