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Assess an Ongoing Parish Major Gifts Program

“People give emotionally, not cerebrally; they also do not give to causes – they give to people with causes.”

Priests usually need three main ingredients to enable a dream to come true: 1) a vision of the future; 2) meaningful lay partnership; and 3) funding. So often priests lament that they have plans, programs, projects, ministries, and services that they believe will in some way transform some aspect of parish life but that they lack the funding to put these plans into play. The budget can’t support it and the parish council is complacent.

An ongoing major gifts program is the simplest solution to this dilemma and the most readily available resource for the funding requirements of new parish initiatives. Major gifts can also make the major difference in a budget surplus and a budget deficit. Very large major gifts, together with good planning, solid leadership and management, sometimes have the transformational capability of casting the foundations of parish life on an entirely new level of service.

If there was one practical skill that priests could master, this one perhaps holds the greatest potential for significant parish development and mission fulfillment.


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