The Anglican Church of Canada may be facing demographic challenges, but response to fundraising remains strong, said Monica Patten, interim director of Resources for Mission (RfM) in a March 11 presentation to Council of General Synod (CoGS).
“Given the decline in membership, we are holding our own very well,” she said. “I think we have something to be encouraged by and quite proud of.”
Patten reported that RfM had, through its various programs and diocesan partners, brought in an unaudited total of $912,932 in 2015-$2,333 more than was raised in 2014.
“Both of these years [2014 and 2015] resulted in higher numbers than either 2013 or 2012, so we’re going in the right direction,” she said. “I am confident that with the investment we have made and are going to be making in the future, you will continue to see that number rise.”
Patten’s presentation came in response to a review presented to RfM at the 2014 spring session of CoGS calling for a “comprehensive plan” for RfM, including a fundraising plan.
A key part of that fundraising plan, Patten noted, was a 2014 decision to acquire technology for a donor management system. The system, launched in 2015, allows fundraisers to set goals, track progress and better understand their donor base, and it has helped RfM reach out to new donors and gain a better understanding of who is giving and how, she said.
“Our contributor base is an aging one, likely 65 and over…contrary to what you often hear: ‘Boy, we should be getting the younger people to give.’ That doesn’t necessarily follow,” she said, noting that older people are often the most generous donors because they “have less debt…[and] greater capacity to give.”
However, despite the general increase in 2015, Patten noted that not all RfM programs had performed well.
In particular, she noted that the national church’s “Giving with Grace” fundraising campaign had brought in $611,721, as opposed to the $639,303 raised in 2014.
Patten said she was “not 100% sure” why this was the case, but speculated it might be due to the 2015 fundraising letter being sent later than usual, or that the 2014 numbers reflected money that was spent acquiring new donors that was not matched in 2015.
In addition to “Giving with Grace,” RfM also raised $216,931 through “Gifts for Mission” (up from $208,871 in 2014), $30,000 through major gifts (up from nothing in 2014), $16,953 through “Love in Action,” the diocese of Ontario’s ministry appeal (down from $23,435 in 2014), and $37,327 through “Hands Across Niagara” (down from $38,990 in 2014).
Patten, who took over as interim director of RfM in January 2014, will step down in 2016. Archdeacon Michael Thompson, general secretary of the Anglican Church of Canada, said he hopes a new director will be chosen before General Synod 2016 meets in July. Patten said she is willing to stay on until her successor is chosen.