By Christopher Luke
JACKSON – Most parishes have a ‘honey-do’ list. Maybe there is a need for more ministry space, perhaps the parking lot could be repaved or a school could use new lab equipment. The diocesan Office of Stewardship and Development is offering a chance for parishes to tackle the fund-raising for those needs through #iGiveCatholic.
#iGiveCatholic is a 24-hour online crowdfunding effort held on the Tuesday after Thanksgiving. This day is known as Giving Tuesday around the nation. On November 28th, the Catholic Diocese of Jackson will be participating in its second year with #iGiveCatholic. The national version of this campaign involves 16 total arch/dioceses and has a goal to raise $3.5 million.
#iGiveCatholic isn’t just a fund-raiser. It is an opportunity for the Catholic community to affirm its faith, share the gifts they have been given and inspire Catholics to come together as faithful stewards. It offers a chance to proclaim faith through financial and social media support.
In 2016, the campaign included the Archdiocese of New Orleans, the Dioceses of Baton Rouge, Houma-Thibodaux, Biloxi and Austin.
This year it has extended to the Archdioceses of Atlanta, Kansas City and Mobile, as well as the Dioceses of Helena, Mont.; Knoxville/Memphis, Lexington/Owensboro, Ken.; Lubbock, Tex.; and Paterson, NJ.
The goal for the Catholic Diocese of Jackson is $150,000.00. Last year, the national goal was to raise $1.5 million from the participating dioceses, but by the end of giving day 2016, donors had exceeded that by $307,311 with a total of 6,826 gifts. Participants from the Catholic Diocese of Jackson raised $96,460 online and $36,276 offline, with a total of $132,736 given by 1,019 donors.
Many of the 47 participating parishes, organizations and schools around the diocese had great results last year Twenty-two churches, 11 non profit organizations, and 14 schools were a part of #iGiveCatholic in 2016.
They found many ways to advertise their needs. The sisters at Carmelite Monastery, who created an online video to gain support, used their donations to pay for building upgrades and renovations.
Clarksdale Saint Elizabeth Parish needed a parking lot and used photos with captions, called memes, to explain their need. Father Scott Thomas even staged a fake bicycle crash in a pothole to add some humor to the effort.
Jackson Sister Thea Bowman School raised money for STEAM (science, technology, engineering, art, and math) lab equipment and an interactive smart board. Their cheerleaders posted a video on social media to gain support from current parents and alumni.
Clarksdale Saint Elizabeth School’s students shared all the reasons they give Catholic in their promotion. Columbus Annunciation Catholic School and Greenville Saint Joseph School both promoted giving Catholic by making videos of students frozen in place to play off of a national trend called the mannequin challenge.
Here is how #iGive Catholic works: donors visit iGiveCatholic.org, and search for their parishes, schools, ministries and nonprofit organizations. From November 10-26, donors can schedule gifts to their favorite ministry via an advanced giving option.
Donors may also donate on the actual giving day, Tuesday November 28. The website administrators will update leaderboards all day so people can see how close each organization is to its goal. The minimum donation is $25. There is no maximum donation. The site offers users a chance to post messages on social media inviting others to give as well.
Chris Luke can answer any questions by phone at 601-960-8481 or email at firstname.lastname@example.org.
(Christopher Luke is the coordinator for the Office of Stewardship.)
By Christopher Luke