Fundraising programs under review

Published October 1, 2005

General Synod has asked a leader in the area of gift planning and annual giving in Canada to conduct an independent audit of the Anglican Church of Canada’s annual fundraising programs to look at ways of improving the way Canadian Anglicans are approached for donations.

Lorna Somers, vice president of McMaster University Foundation and McMaster University’s director of development, has been asked to conduct a review/assessment of the fundraising efforts of the Anglican Journal, the Primate’s World Relief and Development Fund (PWRDF), the Anglican Foundation and the Anglican Appeal. Results of the audit, which will contain recommendations on how best to enhance these appeals, are expected this month.

“Our belief is that there are ways of improving what we do,” said Canon Geoff Jackson, senior financial development officer in charge of the national church’s Letting Down the Nets stewardship and gift planning initiative. He said the audit is also expected to help improve the appeals’ database recording and overall system.

The audit comes at a time when donations to some appeals have showed a steady decline in recent years. The drop in donations has been attributed by some General Synod officials to the controversy surrounding the same-sex blessings issue and year-end payments by dioceses to the residential schools settlement fund. All dioceses are contributing to a $25 million fund that will compensate natives who attended Anglican boarding schools and can prove they suffered physical and sexual abuse.

“The recommendations may be challenging for us, but we have to sit and review them,” said Mr. Jackson, adding that, “we need to understand why donors may assist in one (appeal) and not another.”

Ms. Somers has been involved in gift planning in Canada since 1989. In 2003, her team was responsible for securing the largest single cash gift in Canadian history – $105 million from Canadian businessman and philanthropist Michael G. DeGroote, which benefited the university’s medical school.

Meanwhile, Mr. Jackson said dioceses eligible for the Letting Down the Nets pilot projects will be chosen soon. The initiative, approved by General Synod in 2004, is a plan that seeks to “educate and empower church leaders to improve their financial capacity and resources for ministry and mission at all levels of the church,” said Mr. Jackson.

Each pilot project is expected to run for three years at a cost of $125,000. “We hope it will be a partnership agreement when possible,” said Mr. Jackson. Dioceses are expected to provide both human and financial resources, but majority of the funds will come from Letting Down the Nets. “The money isn’t there yet. We’re still raising funds; the target is to raise $3 million over a four-year period,” he added. Letting Down the Nets has so far raised $500,000.

“We’re looking for dioceses with a clear sense of vision for the next five to 10 years, a willingness to make stewardship education a priority for the next three years, and a local leadership willing to support parishes in their effort,” said Mr. Jackson. Dioceses not chosen to be a pilot project will still receive assistance in such areas as program planning.


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