More Endowments. Less Emergency Fundraising.
Endowments lessen the stress of fundraising by providing a predictable source of income for a youth program, the salary of your priest, your general operating budget, or the inevitableâ€”and expensiveâ€”building repairs.
To ensure that future generations will not have to watch a beloved sanctuary or parish hall deteriorate, you can create an endowment dedicated to maintenance costs. The ideal time to do this is during a capital campaign. Anticipate how much it will cost each year to maintain and repair your parish, and include this amount in your campaign goal.
Remember, if your parish leaders are not constantly in a fund-raising mode, they can turn their attention to increasing membership and to developing programs that enhance parish life.
Starting Small, Making a Big Difference
â€œIn lieu of flowersâ€ can become a lasting legacy.
Several parishes have built substantial endowments through many individually named legacies created to honor loved ones â€œin lieu of flowers.â€ In one case, a parishioner asked family and friends to make a donation instead of sending flowers to her loved oneâ€™s funeral and so created a legacy in honor of that person in perpetuity.
Others followed the example, and over the years, with more such gifts and investment returns, the endowment has grown to $1 million.
Many people mistakenly believe that endowments can be created only with a large donation. This parish will create a named endowment with just $2,000, and it gives parishioners two full years to raise that amount.
Slow and steady wins the race
What would happen if everyone in a parish added a little extra every month to their pledge, specifically to go to the parish endowment? Letâ€™s say the parish has $100,000 in its endowment fund already. There are 100 members and every member agrees to make a small monthly contribution, using a credit card deduction. On average the gift is $10.
The parish adds $12,000 to its endowment every year. Look at the impact that will have. (See chart.)
The red line shows what a difference that makes, assuming a 7% return on investment. The endowment would grow to approximately $1.0 million in 40 years and would also generate an average of $23,000 in annual distributions. Of course, none of us can predict what the returns are going to be. But we can predict that whatever they are, the parish that keeps on giving to its endowment fund will be in far better shape in year 40.