Photo:Leigh Anne Williams
The Council of General Synod (CoGS), which met in Mississauga, Ont. this past weekend, approved several resolutions for a nationwide diocesan-based fundraising initiative. One resolution designated $200,000 in funding for it.
If that sounds familiar, it is because a nationwide initiative has been a part of the department of Philanthropy’s plan and work in 2010. However, following the resignation of executive director Holland Hendrix in the spring, the initiative now has new oversight and a new focus.
“This is a new committee that has a new interim director, a new chair, and we’re bringing a new proposal,” said Archdeacon Michael Thompson, CoGS representative on the committee. Vianney Carriere, a member of General Synod’s management team, is interim director and Monica Patten is the chair of the committee.
Suzanne Lawson, a former executive director of program for General Synod, has been brought in as a consultant. “What is being envisioned is a number of campaigns in dioceses collaboratively pulled together by a centralized staff at General Synod,” she explained to CoGS members. “The attempt here is to turn around the financial future of the whole church, to give parishes and dioceses and General Synod and many of the incorporated bodies of General Synod a whole sense of vigor and greater surety as we move forward.”
Archdeacon Thompson said the committee is working on a national case for support, as requested by General Synod.
The campaigns will focus on the church’s mission and specific initiatives, not institutional survival, Lawson emphasized. “Please give us your extra money because we’d like to last 10 more years doesn’t cut it.” She added that the plan is to roll out the campaigns in three waves. “Dioceses across this country are in very different stages in their capacity to move into such an initiative or campaign,” she said. “So we’re seeing a group starting soon into feasibility [studies], a second group a year or year and half after that and a third group a year or year and a half after that.”
CoGS approved four resolutions related to the initiative:
1. That the Philanthropy department be authorized to initiate and facilitate a nation-wide diocesan-centred fundraising initiative to benefit parishes, dioceses and General Synod.
2. That dioceses not involved in a similar campaign be encouraged to engage in this initiative, with the understanding that the “case for support” will include aspects of the case for [support of] General Synod.
3. That a feasibility study for this initiative be conducted in up to 10 dioceses. The results will be shared with the participating dioceses and the CoGS.
4. That the Council of General Synod approve $200,000 to invest in the nationwide fundraising initiative being undertaken by the Philanthropy department.
Lawson underlined that dioceses will be encouraged to participate but no diocese will be “steamrollered.” She also acknowledged that there may be dioceses for which such a campaign isn’t appropriate.
In the 2010 budget, $350,000 was directed to Philanthropy for use in producing three initiatives: a gift catalogue; a bequest identification program; and a nationwide fundraising initiative. The projected cost associated with production and distribution of the gift guide, which was available in print in the spring and will now be available online, is $87,850. The projected cost of the bequest identification program is $86,700. Some $7,700 had been spent on the nation-wide fundraising initiative, still in the planning stage. That left $167,750 for use in 2011.
For 2011, the bequest initiative has been suspended and the gift guide program will continue as originally planned. The focus now will be on the nationwide fundraising initiative. With CoGS approval of the additional $200,000 for the initiative, its budget for the year is $360,000.
Some members of CoGS cautioned the committee to be wary of too many campaigns and donor fatigue. Archdeacon Thompson offered assurances that the proposed initiative would not divert funding from one ministry to another. He cited committee chair Monica Patten’s confidence that “there are pools of generosity in the life of our church that have not yet been fully tapped.” He said that the proposal is not meant to divert funding but to source “new water that we didn’t know about before.”