The Diocese of Rochester raised $4.95 million through its 2006-07 Catholic Ministries Appeal, which was launched in October 2006 and concluded May 31.
The campaign fell short of its goal of $5.3 million, but organizers were still pleased with the appeal’s results, according to Dave Kelly, Catholic Ministries Appeal coordinator and associate director of the diocesan Office of Stewardship, Development and Communications.
“It was a wonderful year. It is the best we’ve done in a number of years,” Kelly said.
The 2005-06 appeal, which also had a goal of $5.3 million, raised only $4.5 million, he noted.
“Obviously we went up $450,000 and people were very generous this year. We’re just so thrilled that people are so willing to support their local church,” Kelly said. “We were pleasantly surprised that in the face of all the uncertainty today, the people have chosen to continue and even increase their support.”
Slightly more than 37,000 people contributed to the 2005-06 appeal, while 37,510 people donated money to the 2006-07 appeal, Kelly said. Individual donations ranged from $5 to $20,000, and the average donation size for this year’s appeal was $132, a 10-percent increase over the average donation size for the 2005-06 appeal, he added.
Kelly said he’s not exactly sure why this year’s appeal was more successful than the 2005-06 campaign, but the appeal’s success may be at least partly due to two new strategies. Appeal organizers this year focused on asking Catholics to make moderate increases in the sizes of their donations, and they also focused on finding more large-scale donors, he said.
The 2006-07 appeal was the Diocese of Rochester’s 27th-annual fundraising drive, although this was the first year it was called the Catholic Ministries Appeal. It had formerly been known as the Thanks Giving Appeal, or TGA, and the Diocesan Ministries Appeal, but Bishop Matthew H. Clark has said the appeal’s name was changed to help parishioners better understand what their donations are used for.
Proceeds from the appeal supply about half of the diocesan operating budget, Bishop Clark explained at a Sept. 25, 2006, press conference held before the appeal’s launch. The Catholic Ministries Appeal funds a wide variety of ministries, departments, programs and services offered by both the diocese in general as well as the nearly 200 parishes and faith communities in the diocese’s 12 counties, Kelly said.
“Some of it goes to Catholic Charities. Some is used for helping faith-formation programs and programs with our youth. Some of it goes to Catholic schools,” he said.
The 2006-07 campaign brochure noted that 31,556 children in parish religious-education programs benefitted from the 2005-06 appeal, as did 6,767 students at diocesan Catholic schools; 250,00 needy people aided by Catholic Charities agencies; 1,419 people preparing for marriage; 1,725 youths attending diocesan events; and 557 people from 89 parishes who were welcomed into the church through the Rite of Christian Initiation of Adults. Hundreds of other Catholics also reaped the appeal’s benefits when they took advantage of other services, ministries and opportunities offered by the diocese and their own faith communities.
Appeal organizers said they have already started preparing for the 2007-08 Catholic Ministries Appeal, which also will have a goal of $5.3 million.