Fundraising Fiefdom: Part 2

In follow-up of our last post: Fundraising Fiefdom, we found a few points worth making that highlight the future direction of fundraising for the Boston Archdiocese. They also raise a few questions that BCI feels the archdiocese should address for the benefit of the Catholic faithful.

First of all, when we said in Fundraising Fiefdom that the fundraising staff had grown by 33% more people from 2010, we were just referring to those people currently on staff.  That was not counting the 3 additional people who are being recruited and hired.  When those positions are filled, there will be 23 people in the fundraising fiefdom, or an increase in headcount of more than 50% from 2010 levels. This all, of course, is happening with no publicly released fundraising goals that the staff members are held accountable to.

Second, among the positions being filled are the following:

Vice President of Development. According to this job description/listing:

The Vice President for Development reports to the Secretary of Institutional Advancement and assists in the planning and strategy of the overall fundraising program and individual projects that benefit the ministries and programs of the Archdiocese.  This position serves as the tactical manager of leadership giving, maintains a significant portfolio of leadership and major gifts prospects, and serves as an important senior member of the Advancement team’s in-the-field fundraisers.  “This is a fabulous career opportunity for the development professional who is excited by a new, evolving organization.”  The new Vice President will not only work on creating the overall development plan, but will also help bring new best practices into the marketing efforts.  The incoming Vice President will manage an initial staff of three to four associates.

Based on the job title and description, this would pay more than $200K/year in the current Boston archdiocesan compensation scheme, making the person filling the role the 4th person on the team earning more than $200K/year. BCI estimates that fully loaded with benefits, just the top 4 people in fundraising will cost around $1 million a year.  BCI understands that a person with more than 25 years experience in fundraising has been hired to fill this position, with responsibility over the Catholic Appeal and major gift-giving. That person is expected to be announced within the next 1-2 weeks.  With someone having that level of experience joining to help with “planning and strategy of the overall fundraising program” and manage an initial staff of 3-4 people, and another VP of Development already in place over the Campaign for Catholic Schools,  it makes one wonder exactly what Kathleen Driscoll is going to do to keep busy.

Institutional Advancement-Boston Catholic Development Services – Development Officer:

Reporting to the Director of Cardinal’s Leadership Circle, the Development Officer assists in the execution of the overall fundraising program and individual projects that benefit the ministries and programs of the Archdiocese. The Development Officer will work collaboratively with the Catholic Appeal Manager and the team involved primarily with the donors. Engagement and communication with the pastors will also be a key area for this position. This position maintains a significant portfolio of prospects, and serves as an important senior member of the advancement team’s fundraisers. The successful candidate will have a Bachelor’s degree with a minimum of 2 plus years of successful non-profit fundraising experience.

Demonstrated experience in prospect management and cultivation. Proven ability to strategize and close four and five figure gifts. Comprehensive knowledge of fundraising principles and best practices. Proven ability to communicate skillfully and persuasively – both orally and in written form…

This sounds like the person will help solicit wealthy donors, often older Catholics, for donations between $10,000 and several hundred thousand dollars. The archdiocese already has one person doing this, and it is not without controversy when some of the people being solicited are elderly and not always with all of their mental faculties intact. The solicitation gets more intense near the end of the appeal year when there is a big gap between the goal and what has been raised.  Sources tell BCI there is also a new strategy in place where the Cardinal is positioned to meet one-on-one with certain wealthy donors in the Cardinal’s Leadership Circle or with people who they want to move into the circle.

Also, given some past history, the great minds in HR and management at 66 Brooks might want to revisit the reporting relationship planned for this new position. If no one at 66 Brooks knows what BCI is referring to, please contact us offline.

Boston business leaders and leading philanthropists have initiated the rebuilding of the Catholic schools in Greater Boston with a goal of raising $70M. We seek a polished, experienced Development Officer to join our team of fundraisers.  Primary responsibility is to staff and expand our leadership annual giving club.  The successful candidate will have a Bachelor’s degree, with 3-5 years of fundraising experience, including demonstrated success in major gifts fundraising. Extensive knowledge of the Greater Boston business community.

Naturally, the growth in the size of the fundraising fiefdom would not be complete without adding to the Campaign for Catholic Schools as well.  Can anyone find something published that tells faithful Catholics how the CCS is doing against the goal set back in 2007-2008 for the “2010 Initiative” of raising $70M?  Now that it is mid-August of 2011, it would seem that the results achieved as of December 31, 2010 should be fairly well determined.

Lastly, aside from this expansion of the fundraising fiefdom, the results of the Catholic Appeal 2011 recently communicated to parishes show they are running about the same as the Catholic Appeal of 2010 in dollar-amount of pledges at this time in the year. That means that unless something dramatically changes, the appeal is likely to raise substantially less than the Catholic Appeal of 2009 for the second year in a row, and with several thousand fewer donors giving than in previous years.

More people on the payroll. Higher expense. Fewer people giving. About the same performance as 2010 for the Catholic Appeal and likely to raise several million dollars less than two years ago. No publicly stated goals.  No public accountability for results against previously stated goals.

How is that for forward progress?

19 Responses to Fundraising Fiefdom: Part 2

  1. Time for a change says:

    This should be taken as the next logical step in the evolution of the Archdiocese. In the last five years they have nearly doubled the cost of administration while shaving millions from mission realted activities. The need is clear. They must hire more people and bring in new donors to support the overhead. New sources of funds are needed as they are running low on Seminaries, Hospitals, Health Care Syatems and Parishes to loot. Its either find new donors or, God Forbid, ask Jack Connors to write a check.

    • jbq2 says:

      This is quite a cynical comment. Unfortunately, it happens to be true. Again, there has to be a reason why low paid priests and nuns are being “kicked to the curb” and being replaced by highly paid political consultants.

  2. Former Employee says:

    Excellent post, it actually raised a question:

    I heard that the Direct Mail portion of the Appeal was outsourced by Scot Landry. If that was in fact the case, given the increase in staff will it be brought back “in-house” to save money.

    They seem to have the highest staffing levels since the Promise for Tomorrow Campaign….and most of those were consultants.

    I’d also be more than happy to talk to Ms. Driscoll about that other item if they do contact you as well. Accompanied by a lawyer of course.

    • Pastoral Center Staff Member says:

      Not true. Stephen Colella and then Patrick Gipson were Catholic Appeal Managers under Landry. Jacqui Miller has just been hired to succeed Gipson.

      Landry did change the third-party vendor for the Appeal mailings to save money. That might be what you are thinking about.

      • Former Employee says:

        I don’t think I was clear (and kudos to Landry for competitive bidding, that wasn’t allowed before his tenure).

        Internally the office used to do everything from creative and writing to design to segmentation to response tracking. I heard it was outsourced so that the Appeal Manager just handles the relationship with the Mailhouse while they (the mailhouse) write it, build strategy etc.

        It was brought 100% in house by Bob Chandler who in my book was the best Cabinet Secretary for Institutional Advancement the place as ever had, loads of experience who knew every minute detail of what was going on under him.

        Most places work collaboratively with a mailhouse to construct and excute the numerouos appeals over the course of the year, it works very well given how much work goes into an individual appeal. This is the way I heard it was managed now.

        However, the Catholic Appeal is basically one Appeal with a couple of reminders, actually a very easy Appeal to run especially when you have a huge staff.

        The only thing it would be too cumbersome to bring in house would probably be the acknowledgement process. It was 55,000-75,000 gifts way back when.

        I was well before Landry, but numberswise it is good to compare the size of the offices, I think we peaked at 22 regular staff plus a consulting firm which brought it up to 35ish.

        We did 17.5 MM on the Appeal in 2000 for a comparison to todays numbers.

  3. qclou says:

    I really missed out on $$ in my career path I can see now.

    who was to know the income opportunities related to my cradle catholic life ??

  4. One Who was there says:

    You said” This sounds like the person will help shake-down wealthy donors, often older Catholics, for donations between $10,000 and several hundred thousand dollars. The archdiocese already has one person doing this… ”
    Does one strike and you’re out apply to your comments.
    Aren’t you making an unfounded personal attack on the, “one person doing this” Shake down is an unfair, inflammatory word to describe what a major gift officer does , at RCAB or any where else. This is an unfounded potshot. Don’t misunderstand, I am no fan of the development developments (haha) at RCAB, but this is just muckraking.
    You further said” and it is not without controversy when the people being shaken down are elderly and not always with all of their mental faculties intact.” Any proof of this? This is slanderous. Again, please don’t think I am a fan of what is happening to the fundraising or administration of RCAB, but you seem to be holding yourself to a far lower standard than your commenters. Unless you can provide proof of your accusations/generalizations, you are unfairly tarnishing the reputation of the “one person doing this” whether you name him or not.

    • One Who was there,
      In response to your feedback regarding use of the word “shake-down,” BCI acknowledges the word could be seen as unfair to describe what a typical major gift officer does, and we have changed it in the post to the word “solicit.”

      Regarding your other feedback, BCI will respond with an example. A long-time donor, now elderly and known to have diminished mental faculties, has been solicited by the major gift officer for contributions when the archdiocese and other people are well aware that the donor does not have all of their mental faculties intact. This is objective information, not a baseless accusation. If you would like to write to BCI via email, we would be glad to name the donor. Assuming you are “one who was there” (and BCI is not questioning that), we are rather certain you could probably guess who this donor is. and you will also see BCI has posted nothing slanderous which would unfairly tarnish the reputation of the person.

    • I’ve observed this in action with a prominent Catholic philanthropist, now in his early 70s, not in good health, who has been a big supporter of Boston College, BC High, and the archdiocese. I’ve met and spoken with him at more than one fundraising event in recent years.Sadly, this once astute businessman and faithful Catholic is often no longer able to carry on a lucid conversation but he’s still hit-up for donations. I think what BCI has said is accurate –frankly, it’s shameful to watch this elderly man taken advantage.

    • Objective Observer says:

      The individual I believe BCI alludes to always paid two or three visits per year to an older (but still active) priest to ask for his usual large gift to the Appeal, and sweeteners when the appeal was looking anemic near the end of the reporting year. The priest always helped. He had inherited a large amount of money, and loved to give it away.

      In later years, the priest decided to set a lesser fixed amount that would go to the appeal each year, and identify a significant amount to go to RCAB under his will. It was a classic case of not knowing if he’d need the money for other things before his death.

      Not long after, he lost his mental faculties, had to retire, and was moved into a nursing home some distance from Boston. Within days of the retirement announcement, the individual BCI alludes found out where the priest was, went there and found the priest’s checkbook — then told the priest (who did not recognize some of his own closest friends at the time) to write the check for five figures. The person then pocketed the check and left. The priest never remembered that the individual visited or that he wrote a check.

      The accountant who had the priest’s power of attorney (POA) called me when the check cleared, desirous of notifying the District Attorney’s office of the “larceny,” and wondering if he should do that in the county where the nursing home was located, or where the POA was located. Some days later he decided to let the check go, but he charged the amount as a pre-payment on RCAB’s portion of the priest’s estate. He then closed the checking account, and notified RCAB that they would receive no more funds during the priest’s lifetime, and that the RCAB fundraising person in question was to have no contact of any kind with the priest.

      The following week, I was asked to meet with the POA to suggest if there was some other measure he should take to protect the priest from any further shake downs (his words).

      I have been told of other, similar, undue influence exerted by this same individual on elderly donors, priest and lay person alike. I have had firsthand knowledge only of the one I set forth.

      Reading the tea leaves, I’d say they are easing the person out at long last — creating a new position over the target, then eliminating the target’s position. McDonough’s worn holes in that routine.

  5. Mack says:

    So the Cardinal will meet with prospective big donors? This makes me feel a little sick. The shepherd of our diocese spending his time with the wealthy in order to persuade them to give money to RCAB. Well, is that what Jesus would do? I think he would pay more attention to the “little ones.” Jesus didn’t court the wealthy Jews of his day in order to get them to fund his group of disciples. I understand that the archdiocese has financial needs, etc. But given the lack of response from the Cardinal to all the concerns raised by BCI and others, this just makes me feel sick.

  6. David Justen says:

    Jesus met with everyone, wealthy and poor alike. Joseph of Arimathea was a wealthy man if he had a tomb all ready for himself that he was able to give to Jesus. It was both the widows with their mites and the wealthy like Joseph who supported Jesus’ ministry. It isn’t just the poor who need the Gospel and the wealthy need ministering so that their wealth and influence and other blessings are placed in their proper context as originating with God.

    I know the elderly donor that you all speak of and I’ve seen the ways in which the development officer you have made sly comments about has been solicitous and gracious and caring for him, especially in his spiritual needs. I think your characterization is grossly unfair and fails to note that this donor’s spouse and children are involved in these donations as well and certainly have their relative’s best interests at heart.

    I think you need to examine your own motives in what seems like an unfounded and excessive personal attack. You are not just presenting the facts, as you claim, but you are presenting an analysis based on your perceptions. Others have different perceptions and thus conclusions.

    • Carolyn says:

      “I know the elderly donor that you all speak of and I’ve seen the ways in which the development officer you have made sly comments about has been solicitous and gracious and caring for him, especially in his spiritual needs. I think your characterization is grossly unfair and fails to note that this donor’s spouse and children are involved in these donations as well and certainly have their relative’s best interests at heart.”

      Couldn’t be the same person — the elderly person referred to by “One who has” above, might rely on the Appeal guy for a ride home, but spiritual needs would be a HUGE stretch. Maybe you’re talking about two different people.

    • Mack says:

      The point of my comment is that from the facts given, the Cardinal is meeting with these wealthy donors for the express purpose of asking them for money. I rather doubt that Jesus sat down with Joseph of Arimathea one day and said, “Now Joe, when I die I’m going to need a tomb…” Certainly Joseph as a disciple found the generosity in his heart to support the Lord’s ministry.

      And that’s the model that we should be following. I think what is flawed here is that people are apparently being targeted to ask them for money. Instead, if the Church is really doing its job of ministering, people will see that and will be moved by the Holy Spirit to support it. Instead, when we see a lot of money being wasted by bureaucrats, why would faithful Catholics want to support that?

    • David,
      Thank you for your comments. As Carolyn said, perhaps we are talking about two different people. BCI is unaware of any layperson in the Development Office having appropriate background and qualifications to be caring for the spiritual needs of donors. BCI would suggest that caring for the spiritual needs of others be best carried out by a priest or religious, not someone whose main measure of success is hitting a particular fundraising target.

      As for the meetings with wealthy donors, Mack summarized it very well. Sources tell BCI that dinner meetings with the Cardinal and wealthy donors are indeed arranged in order to ask them for contributions.

  7. Lucy says:

    The direction of this site during the past couple of week is VERY interesting. Will you ban me for that comment????

    • Regular readers know that BCI covers a range of different topics, typically tied to the latest happenings in the archdiocese (e.g. the recent moving of the tomb of the late Cardinal O’Connell, the announcement of a new addition to the development team). Nothing about our most recent posts should be interpreted as a “direction of this site.” The recent posts merely pertain to recent events or announcements.

  8. rf5580 says:

    This archdiocese is getting dirtier and more corrupt. The Pastoral Center should be closed. All employees should be laid off. Then allow Msgr Deeley to hire who he wants. With no interference from the Cardinal, Fr. Kickham, Fr. Foley or Fr. Hehir. Let Fr. Parrish go to a parish, also, before they corrupt him, too. Someone was quoted in the Globe last week, saying that the pastoral center finance people couldn’t run the overnight shift at Store 24. If it was just weakness or incompetence, many people would generally be patient. But that place is dirty and corrupt. That’s scandalous. Period. And thank you, Boston Catholic Insider, for not going away.

  9. […] we mentioned in Fundraising Fiefdom earlier this month, aside from expansion of the fundraising fiefdom, the results of the Catholic […]

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