|| Give with a joyful heart.
HOW TO ASSESS READINESS, PREPARE,
AND PROMOTE PARTICIPATION
FOUR STEP PLAN
Parish Stewardship Plan. These pages that follow will lead you through a step-by-step process to hold a parish stewardship program. It has four parts.
- Pray: Prepare for a stewardship program with prayer.
- Plan: Create a plan that fits your needs.
- Publicize: Build awareness of what stewardship is, why someone should give, how much they should give, and when.
- Participate: Making a gift.
A parish prepares for a stewardship program by praying as a community. Several prayers of thanksgiving and gratitude are provided on the resources TOOLKIT/Pray page. If we are honest with ourselves most of us can say God’s abundance has graced our lives. Make this a theme throughout the year in prayers during Mass, at parish meetings and other gatherings.
Identify the best time your parish can focus on stewardship. The Archdiocese will be supporting a focus on stewardship each year during the fall with articles in The Leaven, timely bulletin announcements and website updates to support parish giving. See the Stewardship Calendar on the TOOLKIT/Plan page (we will have a 6 week schedule of what to do).
Next, set your goals. It is important to know your current levels of giving, current trends, and the realistic potential for growth. Good resources on planning are available. See the Stewardship: Best Practices on the TOOLKIT/Plan page. (We will have 5 best practices plus the Archdiocesan process of updating data).
Getting the word out is essential. Using personal testimonials from your parish are the most persuasive. Promoting the idea of parish stewardship can happen through these important channels:
- Homily Helps
- Ministry Fair presentations
- Children’s Offertory
- The parish bulletin
- Parish council and school board presentation
- The parish and school website
There are sample articles for parish and school websites; bulletin messages (that can double as school newsletter blurbs); and a PowerPoint presentation for use at parish council and school board presentations (runtime: 15 minutes). Each of these should include personal witness stories from your parish. Help is provided on how to do this. TOOLKIT/Publicize
It is essential to till the soil if growth is going to happen. Prayer, planning and publicizing stewardship will make the ground rich and the harvest more abundant.
Praying, planning, and publicizing leads to asking. Now you are ready to draw people closer to the mission of your parish. Asking for time, talent, and treasure happens both directly and indirectly.
Homilies, bulletin announcements, events and web postings are indirect and necessary ways to ask. The “ask” should be made in simple, understandable, and concrete messages, always making sure people feel invited. It is important to link messages about the parish mission to the mission of the larger Church in the Archdiocese. TOOLKIT/Participate
Personal letters, small groups, and one-on-one meetings are direct ways to ask. These should be carefully planned and orchestrated. TOOLKIT/Participate Having up-to-date data on giving habits, family history (number of children, names, school families, etc.) are important ways to personalize the “ask.” TOOLKIT/Plan
The Parish Toolkit includes information on creating your stewardship plan. Topics included are: Goals and Timeline, Best Practices, Leadership Training, Events, Tools, and Other Resources.