Using strategies ranging from Facebook memes to personalized emails and text messages, nearly 100 local Catholic ministries in the Archdiocese of St. Louis had a successful outcome from the first #iGiveCatholic campaign, raising more than $200,000.
Parishes, schools and other ministries were invited to participate in the U.S. Catholic Church’s effort on Giving Tuesday, Nov. 30. In total, 97 ministries participated, with 1,172 donors giving a total of $203,298.
Catholics from participating dioceses were invited to donate both online and offline to their favorite participating Catholic parishes, schools and ministries. Participating ministries raised funds for capital improvement, annual fundraisers or another project of their choice.
“I continue to be astounded by the generosity of the people of St. Louis. One quick scroll through the many different organizations that participated, and it was easy to see the great diversity of the outreach and evangelization of the Church in the Archdiocese of St. Louis,” said Archbishop Mitchell Rozanski. “Everyone who gave and every organization that participated and helped to promote the event have my gratitude. Thank you for demonstrating our unity and strength.”
St. Clare of Assisi Parish in Ellisville topped the local leaderboard, raising $27,241.51 from 121 donors. The parish used social platforms such as Facebook and Instagram — sharing humorous memes throughout the day — and Flocknote to communicate with potential donors, said Shaina Guntli, director of evangelization at St. Clare.
“We like to have fun at St. Clare, so we wanted to put a fun spin on it that would catch their eyes,” Guntli said. Once the parish hit $11,000, placing second on the leaderboard, the parish’s associate pastor, Father Andrew Auer, jokingly told the staff that they needed to do better.
“He said, you’re either first or you’re last,” Guntli said with a laugh. “So I sent out another Flocknote (message) and social media post saying … we’re number two, but Father Andrew doesn’t like to lose. So we set a goal and after that, it skyrocketed.”
Guntli pointed toward the ongoing generosity of parishioners, adding that parish staff publicized a few ideas of how they would use donations, including new vestments and painting the cafeteria. “People are more likely to give if they know what they’re giving to,” she said.
Vincentian Marian Youth, a ministry for young people in southeast Missouri that incorporates devotion to the Blessed Mother in the Vincentian charism, raised $9,686.71 from 60 donors. Their fundraising efforts came through its board members, connecting with people on social media, emails, phone calls and texts, and its Laboure Exchange thrift store.
“We saw this as an opportunity to share the mission and the vision and who we are as a ministry,” said executive director Mike Giasi. “For us, it’s the old adage of the personal touch — the calls, the emails and text messages people sent, it evoked a positive response.”
Funds raised will be used to support a twice-weekly youth ministry program, which takes place at locations in Perryville and Ste. Genevieve. Other ministry needs include educational resources and materials, funding for mission trips and a Marian consecration program.
The Today and Tomorrow Educational Foundation, which raised $18,833.25 from 21 donors, incorporated the campaign into a “season of giving” approach that typically takes place toward the end of the year, said executive director Julie Soffner.
“There’s a sense of giving and gratitude” among donors to the foundation, Soffner said. “We wanted to be intentional — to go from moments of gratitude (at Thanksgiving) to a season of giving.”
Many of the foundation’s donors are lifelong Catholics who especially are invested in Catholic education. “They’re willing to invest in our children, schools and parishes,” she said.
The mission of #iGiveCatholic is to unite Catholic communities and donors throughout the country. Celebrated annually on the Tuesday following Thanksgiving, Black Friday and Cyber Monday, #iGiveCatholic is a giving day that is intended to kick off the charitable season and brings the Catholic community together to give thanks and give back. #iGiveCatholic inspires faithful stewards to “Give Catholic” on Giving Tuesday, a global day of generosity fueled by the power of social media and collaboration.
Registration fees were paid by the Annual Catholic Appeal as a gift from Archbishop Mitchell Rozanski.