For the first time ever, readers’ donations to the Anglican Journal Appeal topped half a million dollars in 2001, beating the previous year’s record by more than $60,000. At press time, donations totalled $504,802.
More than 16,000 readers responded to the national newspaper’s appeal for funds, about 1,500 more than last year and three times as many as the year before that.
The Journal’s share after expenses is $210,000, an increase of 6.5 per cent and the dioceses’ share is $197,000, an increase of 5 per cent over last year.
Donations in 2001 numbered 16,087, up from 14,265 the previous year.
Before 2000, the largest number of donations was in 1996, with 7,500 gifts. The response rate also leaps from a previous high of four per cent in 1996 to 6.95 per cent in 2000 and 8.3 per cent in 2001. The appeal sent out more direct mail requests than it did last year, which contributed to the higher response rate.
“This is only the second year that we tried direct mail. Last year we sent direct mail to lapsed donors, so this year we not only sent to those people but also to those who did donate last year,” said Larry Gee, the Journal’s business manager.
Proceeds from the Journal’s appeal are split with diocesan newspapers; 26 out of 30 dioceses, the same number as last year, participated in the 2001 appeal.
The positive donor response to the appeal helped increase the size of the paper for 2002.
“It was the key factor that enabled us to persuade the Council of General Synod to increase the size of the newspaper (from 12 to 16 pages),” said Vianney (Sam) Carriere, Journal editor.
“The reader response is a tribute to Journal staff who have worked under trying conditions in the past year and illustrates the importance that Anglicans attach to the newspaper as the church’s principal communications vehicle.”
Meanwhile, the Anglican Appeal, the church’s main appeal to support the work of the national church, was also tracking well ahead of last year toward the end of December. As of Dec. 20 the appeal had received $580,418 from 8,271 donors. On the same date in 2000 $563,211 had been collected from 9,011 donors.
The appeal’s coordinator, Gail Holland, said she was “quite hopeful” that the appeal would reach its gross goal of $700,000 once all the cheques were in and counted between Christmas and New Year’s Eve. Ms. Holland said the appeal receives 70 to 80 per cent of a year’s donations in November and December alone.
“We are getting far fewer questions about where the donations are going,” Ms. Holland said. “There is less worry out there that donations are going to lawyers over the residential schools issue.”
Last year average donations declined and some donors stopped giving, concerned that money was being directed to residential schools litigation costs instead of to work of the national church in the north and overseas. Reassurances that donations do not go toward legal fees seem to be getting through, Ms. Holland said.