By Julia Williams
JACKSON – Seven years ago (2015), the #iGiveCatholic campaign for #GivingTuesday took off as an initiative of the Archdiocese of New Orleans, raising over a million dollars in a 24-hour period for Catholic parishes, schools and ministries. Subsequently, this campaign spread to other dioceses throughout the nation, with participating dioceses increasing with each year. The 2021 #iGiveCatholic campaign had a great impact, with partnerships including the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops and the National Catholic Educational Association, raising over $15 million for Catholic entities this year.
The Diocese of Jackson joined the #iGiveCatholic campaign in 2016, making this year the sixth year of participation in the nationwide campaign, and generating over $183,000 in gifts to various parishes, schools and ministries within the diocese.
The success of each organization is based on the amount of effort put forth in publicizing their causes, or reason to raise funds, by reaching out to donors via social media (Facebook, Instagram, emails, websites, etc.) and print publications such as bulletins, posters and flyers.
The #iGiveCatholic campaign focuses on electronic giving and includes a specific website provided to the organizations at no cost, in hopes to encourage greater participation and help generate funds. Each year, the diocese receives a generous grant from Catholic Extension to cover half of the online giving platform fees.
Also included in the grant from Catholic Extension was additional money earmarked for training or prizes to aid in a successful campaign and help generate excitement. Six prizes were awarded: Four $250 prizes in random drawings for entities who had online donors during specific time frames; and two $500 grand prizes awarded to one parish and one school or ministry who had the most online donors overall, including the Advanced Giving phase prior to #GivingTuesday. Grand prize winners this year were St. Francis of Assisi Catholic Church in Madison and St. Joseph Catholic School in Madison.
The National Sponsor of #iGiveCatholic this year was Our Sunday Visitor, a Catholic publisher that serves millions of Catholics globally through its publishing and communication services. For the past few years, Our Sunday Visitor has donated offertory envelopes at no cost to participating organizations, to encourage donors, who otherwise would not want to give electronically, helping to increase participation and overall total giving.
Throughout history, Catholics have always been generous people. Our world and our society need to see and experience increased generosity, but more importantly, they need to see the joy Catholics have as we ‘give back’ out of gratitude in return for how we have been blessed.
Each year, we are so grateful to the Catholic Community as they support various ministries as they continue to “Give Thanks – Give Back – Give Catholic.”
By Julia Williams