campain logo 2013Anita Draper
Catholic Herald Staff

SUPERIOR — With the active phase of the Faith in Our Future capital campaign concluded, the presbyteral council, the Diocese of Superior’s advisory board of priests, included a final presentation Feb. 18 from Guidance in Giving, the firm that conducted the campaign.

Michael Goodwin, president of Guidance in Giving’s diocesan division, spoke about  “what can only be considered a very successful campaign.”

Goodwin and Thomas Dorsz, who directed Faith in Our Future for the Diocese of Superior, flew in from Newark, N.J., where the former is running a campaign for the Archdiocese of Newark, to deliver their report.

Faith in Our Future’s $16 million goal may have seemed unreachable to some, Goodwin acknowledged. The Guidance in Giving team, too, was initially apprehensive about the large number of seasonal parishes in the second block, he said. Unnecessarily, as it turns out.

“Our second block was a tremendous success,” he said.
It was a tough campaign from the start, according to Goodwin. The goal was aggressive  — 110 percent of offertory — and the diocese was in a “downward trajectory” when they started. Reduction in diocesan personnel and other adjustments hadn’t been enough to meet long-term financial obligations.

“It had to be a foundational thing,” he said.
It’s been five or six years since the days when 80 percent of parishes could meet their goals, Goodwin added. Since the recession, few diocesan campaigns have garnered the same level of support and participation as Faith in Our Future. Goodwin could think of only one other diocese — Marquette, Mich. — with comparable numbers.

About 4,400 people turned out for 140 Faith in Our Future receptions held around the diocese, Goodwin said, and Bishop Peter Christensen attended more than 80 of them. For that, the bishop was applauded by Goodwin, Dorsz and the members of the presbyteral council.

“It’s a refreshing thing to get out among the people,” Goodwin said, adding he didn’t want to underestimate the importance of parish leadership and cooperation in bringing the campaign to a successful conclusion.
“Just because a parish didn’t meet goal doesn’t mean the parish didn’t do everything they could have done,” he commented. “Not all parishes were going to be able to hit financial goals — for a number of reasons.”

Bishop Christensen said he was impressed by the skill and dedication of parish committee members and leaders.

“It’s got everything to do with the local leadership,” Goodwin agreed. “That’s an ingredient that’s required in any campaign.”

Overall, Goodwin finds “there’s a much greater sense of ownership” in smaller dioceses. He’s hoping for 17 percent participation in Newark, around half of the rate of the Superior diocese.

“Thirty-one percent participation across the entire diocese is an excellent, excellent number,” he said.
The average gift was $1,500, according to Goodwin.
“That’s what people were sacrificing,” he said.

Twenty-eight parishes met or exceeded their goals, and two parishes running concurrent campaigns — St. Patrick, Hudson, and the Cathedral of Christ the King, Superior — raised a combined $2.5 million for their infrastructure needs. Many other churches and schools will also see a significant influx of capital as a result.

As the campaign exits its active phase, attention is turning to payments on pledges. The Superior Diocese is “right where they should be,” Goodwin said. “You’re definitely ahead of schedule with the cash in.”
“It’s one thing to get a pledge; it’s another thing to get them redeemed,” he added.

Because Guidance in Giving isn’t “heavy-handed” about fundraising, Goodwind said, they tend to have a 92-95 percent redemption on pledges. He emphasized that communicating with parishioners — via newsletters, endowment reports, financial statistics and individual success stories — is “essential.”

“It’s not just about the money raised, it’s about the people,” added Goodwin.

“Use money wisely,” he advised, “but this communication part is essential to keeping it all going. People need to see an impact from what they give.”

Goodwin, who is now running the capital campaign for the Archdiocese of Newark, promised to stay in touch. Guidance in Giving will continue compiling redemption reports and serving the diocese in a consulting capacity, he said.