BCI made a mistake in our post last week on the 2012 financial results for the Boston Archdiocese that we need to correct.
We reported that the Catholic Appeal raised $13.6M in the 2012 year, missing their goal ($14M) and raising $100K less than the year before, with a bigger staff than the prior year. Although the 2012 Annual Report showed a contribution of $13.6M from the Catholic Appeal to the Central Fund income, and it is correct they have a bigger staff then the prior year; we were wrong in saying they missed their fundraising goal of $14M.
The timing of the Catholic Appeal fundraising “year” (March to the following January) is different from the fiscal year (July 1 to June 30), so what is reported in the Annual Report for contribution of the Catholic Appeal to operating income never aligns identically with the fundraising cycle. In addition, numbers from the Catholic Appeal are described in any of a variety of ways:
- Fundraising pledges: When the archdiocese announces a fundraising goal and then actually releases the result, the fundraising folks count whatever they can and want to in pledges for this year, even if all of the money does not come in right away, and some may not come in at all. For example, there could be a big gift pledged this year while the cash will arrive over subsequent years. There is provision for bad debt. So, the accountants adjust reporting on the books to allow for bad debts and the time value of pledges before they come in. Or the total amount raised by the Catholic Appeal could include pledges made to the Catholic Appeal but designated for use by related entities such as St. Johns Seminary or Catholic TV.
This brings up a point often made by BCI readers–is the Boston Archdiocese actually giving all Catholic Appeal contributions designated for a related entity (e.g. St. Johns Seminary) to the related entity, or is some being kept by the archdiocese? The fundraising and accounting folks have assured various donors that they absolutely pass along donations to the designated entity; however, several readers report that in past years they have contacted the seminary to confirm their seminary-designated Catholic Appeal donation got to seminary, and they have been told that never happened. Somehow, an error was mysteriously made and the check was cashed, but the donation was misplaced en route from the RCAB to the Seminary.
- Budgeted contribution from the Catholic Appeal to Central Operations: this is the amount in the operating budget plan for the fiscal year that the archdiocese expects the appeal will contribute to operating revenue. One would think this budget for July 1-June 30 would be published at the beginning of the fiscal year in July, but they usually publish it only in January, mid-way through the year, after BCI nags them publicly for a few months.
- Actual income from the Catholic Appeal to Central Operations: this is the actual amount of Catholic Appeal-generated funds used for revenue in the fiscal year July 1-June 30 published in the Annual Report
In summary, BCI erred in saying the appeal missed their $14M goal for the most recent cycle–in fact that result has not yet been announced. As of late June 2012, the archdiocese announced the appeal was “going strong” and “rapidly approaching their fiscal 2012 goal of $14M” so when they announce the results in about a month or so, it’s likely they will announce they met their goal. BCI apologizes for the error and any confusion caused by the error. We have removed that passage from our last post.