BCI is on a lighter blogging schedule in March due to other pressing responsibilities.
Last weekend, Boston Catholics were treated to the sales pitch during Masses for the launch of the 2012 Catholic Appeal. Here are a few aspects about the appeal that BCI thought faithful Catholics should know and Vicar General Msgr. Deeley might want to dig into a little more, for the sake of the future of the archdiocese.
- The 2011 Catholic Appeal raised $13.7M, against their goal announced in April 2011 of $14M. Unfortunately, they missed their goal in 2011 for the second year in a row. No explanation was provided and nothing was stated about what the fundraisers and archdiocese will do differently in the future so as to avoid missing again.
- The 2010 Catholic Appeal raised $13M. That was down 14% or $2M from 2009, when the appeal raised $15M.
- Regarding the 2012 appeal, the Boston Pilot reported , “The archdiocese has not announced a goal for the 2012 appeal campaign.”
- The Boston Archdiocese has also never announced the fund-raising results for the Campaign for Catholic Schools 2010 initiative that had a goal of raising $70M by the end of 2010.
- When Boston Catholic Development Services was formed and announced in November 2010, the Boston Archdiocese said:
“The newly established 501(c) (3) organization will ensure donors of independence and accountability…BCDS will also be accountable to the respective boards representing the entities they serve such as the Archdiocese, the Clergy Fund and Campaign for Catholic Schools.”
The concept behind BCDS as pitched was to try and create a centralized more streamlined, efficient fundraising operation across several different entities, with the end goal of raising even more money at a lower overall cost per $ raised. A lot of well-intentioned people are working in that effort. Now that the archdiocese is 18 months into this experiment with two annual appeals under their belts, the Vicar General might want to dig in and see how well the costly experiment is really working.
A reasonable person might ask if the $2.3M budgeted expense in 2012 to pay fundraising staff and promotional programs is paying off as expected. Also, how can a fundraising organization be considered ‘accountable’ when they do not announce their fundraising goals and compare results against those goals?
Is the fundraising problem still being attributed internally just to “the economy”? Even if that remains a factor, could part of the fundraising problem also be that Catholics have had it with the excessive six-figure salaries and bloated Pastoral Center payroll of nearly $3.5M in $150K+ salaries alone–and more people have stopped giving to the appeal? As we know from the new Catholic Appeal website, the Catholic Appeal funds 50% of the RCAB budget.
That being the case, then one might assume that the Catholic Appeal funds 50% of the $10M in administrative expenses below–either directly or indirectly via service fees charged back to the departments whose programs are funded by the appeal).
And one might also assume that the appeal helps fund about 50% of the $3.5M in $150K+ salaries we have discussed many times before.
It is good that the archdiocese is transparent in sharing where the money comes from and where the money goes to. But at some point, when will they take serious action to reduce the excessive six-figure salaries and reduce administrative expenses, so that more of the limited donor contributions will go to ministry programs that accomplish the saving mission of the Catholic Church instead of paying overhead?
At whatever point meaningful action is taken towards that end, hopefully people will feel more comfortable giving to the appeal again. In the meantime, withholding contributions from the appeal still appears to be the only way of trying to deliver a “wake-up call” to the archdiocese that they need to tighten their belts on the expense line. Instead, we suggest people give to their local parish and designate the contribution to pay a specific bill (e.g. heating, maintenance). If some of the big donors in the Cardinal’s Leadership Circle would tell the fundraisers they are withholding contributions until the salary problem is addressed, we can only hope and pray that the folks at 66 Brooks will notice.
BCI hopes the Vicar General is able to address these issues, for the future of the archdiocese and ability to accomplish the saving mission of Jesus Christ in Boston in years ahead.