Catholic Free Press

Catholic Free Press Digital Edition

  • Jul
  • 12

Website successful in reaching new donors

Posted By July 12, 2012 | 12:58 pm | Lead Story #2
By Patricia O’Connell CFP Correspondent WORCESTER – Some surprises have occurred during this year’s Partners in Charity drive. There’s been a surge of new donors. To date, a total of 1,543 people have given for the first time. Unexpectedly, nearly half of them did this through the online website – www.partners-charity.net. “We’ve never experienced such an increase in new don

By Patricia O’Connell
CFP Correspondent

WORCESTER – Some surprises have occurred during this year’s Partners in Charity drive.
There’s been a surge of new donors. To date, a total of 1,543 people have given for the first time. Unexpectedly, nearly half of them did this through the online website – www.partners-charity.net.
“We’ve never experienced such an increase in new donors,” said Michael Gillespie, director of the diocesan Office for Stewardship and Development, which oversees the campaign.
In addition, approximately $200,000 was collected over the Internet, according to Mr. Gillespie, who said this amount is unusually high.
He said online giving is not confined to one geographic area, so it doesn’t appear as if certain parishes encourage use of computers more than others.
“It’s all the way from East Templeton to Webster, to Southbridge, South Barre and Milford,” he noted.
Online gifts have ranged from $20 up to $5,000.
Mr. Gillespie wasn’t sure if online donors, as a group, are younger than those who drop their Partners in Charity envelopes in the collection basket, hand them to their pastor or mail them to the Chancery. Figures aren’t kept on the age of donors.
However, he’s seen some first-time donations in memory of loved ones, because the deceased faithfully supported diocesan ministries.
“It’s really impressive to see so many people giving from the heart,” said Mr. Gillespie, adding there’s a realization that the older generation has been supporting Partners in Charity for decades.
In fact, because of this, said Mr. Gillespie, recruiting new families is a top priority.
“It’s vitally important the next generation – the generation now – are all invited to give,” he said.
Recently, Mr. Gillespie said this year’s $5 million goal had hit the 90 percent mark. Also, there was a daily average of $10,000 in new pledges.
He was optimistic. But cognizant of the fact that 4,000 past donors didn’t give this year, he hopes many will do so before the 2012 campaign closes on Aug. 31.
“Now it’s really up to every parish to invite people to come on board,” he said.
He said he wants to reach younger Catholics by meeting them where they’re at. The revamped Partners in Charity website makes it easy to access information on ways to give. The donation section includes details on matching corporate donations that some companies offer employees.
Visitors can also learn about the 28 different ministries funded by Partners in Charity by clicking on individual links that explain how these recipients are helped.
Mr. Gillespie plans to increase the campaign’s presence on social media. “We’re on Facebook too,” he said. “We’re really doing different things. We’d like to get into Twitter eventually.”

Appeal continues to Aug. 31
The annual Partners  in Charity Appeal has received $4,510,889 in gifts and pledges, leaving $489,111 to be collected to reach the $5 million goal, according to Michael P. Gillespie, director of the diocesan Office of Stewardship and Development.
The St. Paul Society, whose members pledge a minimum of $5,000, has raised $724,650 so far, he said. Thirty-seven parishes have reached or exceeded their goals.
The Appeal will continue until Aug. 31, the end of the fiscal year.