Diocese Reports on Increased Offertory Campaign
31% increase in regular giving worth over $5.9 million per year
February 10, 2011, WORCESTER, MA -- The Diocese of Worcester has announced the results of the increased offertory program known as
Sharing Our Blessings, which was conducted in Catholic parishes throughout Worcester County in 2010. In summary, the parishes have seen an overall increase of 31% in their weekly collections, exceeding the goal of a 25% increase established at the outset of the program. That increased percentage would mean an additional $5,961,446 in offertory giving over the coming year. 13,000 parishioners committed to increases in their regular support of their parishes. Most Rev. Robert J. McManus, Bishop of Worcester, made a report on Feb. 4 to all the pastors detailing the results of the program. Those results are available online at www.worcesterdiocese.org.
In his report, Bishop McManus noted that
Sharing Our Blessings was the first diocesan-wide offertory campaign in the history of the diocese. 96 parishes and four missions participated in the program. The remaining 12 parishes, which did not participate, had either conducted a recent offertory campaign or were involved currently in capital campaigns in their parish.
The Diocese of Worcester hired Community Counseling Services (CCS), a nationwide fundraising company, to assist the parishes with
Sharing Our Blessings. The associated costs were shared by the diocese and the parishes. The program consisted of informing parishioners of their parish needs and how the weekly offertory is used. It then recruited local parishioners to assist in contacting parishioners and answering any questions they may have had about the parish and its programs. 2,800 lay volunteers supported these efforts. Finally, parishioners were asked to prayerfully consider if they were in a position to increase their regular financial support of the parish and commit to that amount for the next year. Responses and results were tracked over a period of weeks to determine consistency.
Sharing Our Blessings also recommends annual commitment renewal weekends to build on the program’s initial success.
Although each parish had unique needs which it presented, the bishop noted in his report that there were some common themes. “Many parishes have committed themselves to better address their fiscal challenges and/or indebtedness,” he wrote. “Others were to use funds to secure additional support staff. Still others indicated the need to make capital improvements to their church or other facilities.”
In many of the parishes, the results were significant. 65 of the parishes saw consistent increases in giving ranging from 25% to over 50%. Only seven parishes saw cumulative increases of less than 10%. The top ten parishes in each category posted in the report, including percentage increase, number of parishioners participating, and the number of inactive parishioners committing to giving, reflected a range from urban to suburban to rural parishes, indicating that the program was equally effective in a variety of demographics.
Another outcome of the program was the introduction of Electronic Giving for those parishioners who now use electronic banking rather than a traditional checkbook. 1,400 families have committed to this method of giving to date thanks to
Sharing Our Blessings.
Bishop McManus ended his report to the pastors stressing that the heart of this successful program was “the generosity of the Catholics in the Diocese of Worcester. They have demonstrated once more their willingness to support their parishes and have done so in the finest spirit of discipleship and stewardship.”