BCI is on a lighter blogging schedule this week due to some other pressing commitments. Today we share with you some details on how the 2011 Catholic Appeal is doing.
As we mentioned in Fundraising Fiefdom earlier this month, aside from 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.
Because the archdiocese said the Boston Catholic Development Services group was aiming for greater accountability in the new organization, BCI thought we would help them out towards achieving their goal of accountability by sharing some more details on their fundraising goals and progress with faithful Catholics.
According to this email sent to parishes in mid-August, the Appeal has raised “nearly $11 million.” 53 parishes have exceeded their goals, and 143 parishes are at 70% or better. Sources tell BCI this comes from about 40,736 donors.
The goal is to raise $14 million in 2011 from about 58,000 donors, an 11% increase over the $13M raised in 2010, which would still be down $1 million from the $15 million raised in 2009.
One might ask, how does this compare vs how the appeal was doing at this point last year? Good question. By means of comparison, in August 2010, there were pledges of $10.6 million from 42,750 contributors.
So, the amount of pledges is about the same in 2011 vs 2010, but the number of contributors is down by about 2,000. That suggests if the pledge rate keeps up at its current pace, they are likely tracking to more like $13 million raised and not the $14 million goal. In addition, it seems to BCI that BCDS should be mighty concerned about the dropping number of donors.
As BCI observed in “Fundraising Fiasco” earlier this year, from published information we know that 48,838 people donated in 2009, and the number of donors had ranged between about 48,000 and 49,000+ over the 2004-2009 period. In 2010, suddenly the number of donors dropped to 46,099–nearly 3,000 fewer people than donated the year before–and the average donation per-person also dropped. Now, if you compare 2010 vs 2011 to date, they have lost another 2,000 donors who had given as of this time last year.
Though the economic climate is no doubt a contributor to the fundraising challenges, BCI suggests once again that ongoing distrust in the financial/administrative leadership of the archdiocese is a factor to not be ignored. Every place that BCI turns, we hear parishioners in the pews saying they are unhappy that so many people in the Pastoral Center are earning six-figure salaries–and even more troubling, the salaries above $200K–the Superintendent of Schools, the General Counsel, the Chancellor, the head of Catholic Media, the Secretary for Institutional Advancement and other people in fundraising. Little seems to have happened with the problems of excessive 6-figure salaries while parishes run in the red, and we continue seeing sham searches, deception, cronyism, conflicts of interest for many “open searches,” broken promises about funding pensions, six weeks of paid vacation for the Chancellor, underqualified lay executives in high-paying positions, and more. We asked this in February and will ask it again: Has it still not occurred to anyone at 66 Brooks Drive that people are sick and tired of all this and are fighting back to regain Catholic values in the archdiocese the only way they know how to–via their checkbooks?
The Commonwealth of Massachusetts is at least saying the right things in their battle against corruption. The Boston Globe today reports:
More than two decades of failed oversight have allowed the state’s special education collaboratives to misspend millions of taxpayer dollars, according to the state auditor’s office, which has found a pattern of excessive salaries, conflicts of interest, and possible pension law violations at six of the 30 publicly funded agencies….
“These common findings are indicative of a system that’s lacking in standards and oversight and is easily manipulated by folks who are not putting the interests of taxpayers and special needs kids first,’’ Auditor Suzanne M. Bump said yesterday….
Yesterday, state Education Commissioner Mitchell D. Chester released a statement saying he welcomed Bump’s findings, adding that they will be reviewed next month by a special committee on collaboratives established earlier this summer.”
In the Boston Archdiocese, no one at 66 Brooks seems willing to acknowledge or do anything about a pattern of excessive salaries, conflicts of interest, and breaches of promises made to lay employees about their pension benefits. A Finance Council Compensation Committee–chaired by a multi-millionaire business executive–was formed to study and review compensation. But BCI sees their effort as problemmatic for reasons cited previously, including the plans for them to spend yet more money to engage a consultant to study the issue; apparent failure to inexpensively survey other dioceses in-house and benchmark against them; the lack of publicly-stated goals, success metrics and accountabilities for these key positions; the lack of any public reporting on the work of the committee; extended timeframe (2012) for any results to be released; and questions of whether they will drive any meaningful changes or just try to justify the status quo.
BCI wants to see the Catholic Church in Boston flourish and continue the saving ministry of Jesus Christ. But the current approach to management still leaves much evidence that the “system” is easily manipulated by folks who are not putting the interests of the ministry and Catholic faithful first.
If the Massachusetts state government can publicly acknowledge their problems and put plans in place to address them, why not the Archdiocese of Boston? Perhaps this is another topic for the new Vicar General to take up after he arrives. What do you think?