By Christopher Luke
JACKSON – For the third year in a row, the Catholic Diocese of Jackson is joining several dioceses around the country to host #iGiveCatholic on #GivingTuesday, the week after Thanksgiving. Participating parishes, schools, and Catholic non-profit organizations will have the opportunity to raise funds online for their own local needs. The Catholic Foundation has funded this program again this year by paying fees so local participants can concentrate on creative ways to appeal to donors.
#iGiveCatholic is a 24-hour online crowdfunding effort that is celebrated annually on Tuesday following Thanksgiving. The day was originally meant to counter the consumerism of Black Friday and Cyber Monday and was called a global day to make a difference. This day is known as Giving Tuesday around the nation. This program has been declared “the most successful Catholic crowdfunding event to date” by the National Catholic Register. This year, on November 27, more than two dozen dioceses will join together for the day. #iGiveCatholic isn’t just a fundraiser. It is also an opportunity for the Catholic community to affirm their faith as disciples of Jesus Christ and showcase all the good work the church and its parishes, schools and institutions does for the community at large.
In 2017, the campaign raised more than $3.6 million for the more than 600 participating parishes, schools, and nonprofits representing 17 dioceses across the country. At the close of the 24-hour giving period, the number of online contributions totaled more than 13,000 gifts from 29 states and six countries, including Afghanistan, Great Britain, Philippines, Puerto Rico, Honduras and Canada.
The goal last year was $3.5 million in gifts. A total of 37 Jackson Diocese organizations participated last year. The 14 churches, seven organizations, and 14 schools raised $91,999 dollars online from 651 donors during the 24-hour giving period. A total of $14,173 offline gifs was raised by 83 donors. Overall, the diocese raised $106,172 dollars.
This project allows Catholics to collectively help parishes, schools, and organizations achieve their goals, reach new donors, and have fun during the 24-hour giving period. Each participant identifies a specific project to which they will direct the money. Parishioners or students can make videos, share photos or do any crazy thing they want to tell their story and inspire donors.
Projects have ranged from repairs to church windows, repaving parking lots and building outdoor classrooms to longer-term projects that needed a boost. Many organizations post encouraging videos and graphics on their websites and social media pages in the days before the event to get out the message about the big day.
This year, #iGiveCatholic is partnering with the International Catholic Stewardship Council and Our Sunday Visitor to bring the campaign nationwide. “Also new this year, #iGiveCatholic is on a new platform, GiveGab, which offers improved customer service and an abundance of resources for organizations to be successful on giving day,” said Laurie Bariola, development director at Greenville St. Joseph School. Donors will now have the option to cover credit card and platform processing fees at the time they make their gifts. Donors can also offer gifts in advance of the campaign day from November 12 through 26.
In 2018, many newdioceses have signed up to join #iGiveCatholic including Boise, Idaho; Cincinatti, Cleveland and Columbus, Ohio; Juneau, Alaska; Marquette, Michigan; Salina, Kansas; San Diego, California; San Angelo, Texas; Sante Fe, New Mexico and the Archdiocese of Military Services. Returning from last year, New Orleans, Baton Rouge and Houma-Thibodaux, in Louisiana, both Mississippi dioceses; Austin and Lubbock Texas; Atlanta, Georgia; Kansas City, Kansas; Mobile, Alabama; Helena, Montana; Knoxville and Memphis, Tennessee; Lexington, Kentucky and Paterson, New Jersey.
#iGiveCatholic works through an online platform at www.IGiveCatholic.org. From November 12-26, donors can schedule gifts to their favorite ministry via an advanced giving day option. If a donor wants to participate in the race on the day of the event, they can wait and visit the site on Nov. 27. They can also contact their charity of choice and make an offline donation, but should indicate that they want it counted in the #iGiveCatholic total.
Donors can find their charity by searching the #iGIveCatholic.org site. Each participant has its own page on the site. Donors can track how their parish, school, or ministry is doing throughout the giving day via the website leaderboards. The minimum donation is $25.00 and there is no maximum donation.
Let’s Give Catholic on November 27th.
(Christopher Luke is the Coordinator for Stewardship for the Diocese of Jackson.)