Amid the challenges posed by the coronavirus pandemic, the Archdiocese of Baltimore is launching an ambitious virtual campaign on February 23 to strengthen its annual appeal for Catholic ministries.
Giving Tuesday will highlight digital giving, which has become even more critical as church attendance has been limited by the pandemic.
The Annual Appeal for Catholic Ministries is a year-long effort to support a wide variety of local charities and causes, including our daily hot bread meal program, Hispanic ministries, evangelism and the help with tuition fees. Unlike weekly offerings, which primarily benefit individual parishes, the Annual Appeal has a broader scope and mission.
Terry Brashears, senior director of development for the stewardship and administration of the Archdiocese of Baltimore, said the limits on church attendance presented the Archdiocese with a huge challenge. In-person donations have been a major driver of fundraising over the past years.
“We knew it would be difficult this year. So we’re thinking outside the box about how we’ve been handling a lot of things since COVID, ”Brashears said of the Giving Tuesday campaign, which will be highlighted on the Archdiocese’s social media platforms this week. “The pandemic has given us different opportunities where we can try new things. “
Parishioners and friends of the Archdiocese are encouraged to share posts on Giving Tuesday with their social media networks, Brashears said.
Taking into account the advice of public health officials, the Archdiocese limited attendance at Mass to one-third of the normal capacity of the church, in most cases. Meanwhile, some parishioners have chosen to attend Mass via live internet broadcasts and television broadcasts.
“In-person donations represent up to a third of all the gifts and pledges we receive here for the appeal each year,” said Brashears. “Last year we raised a total of $ 9 million. Right before we had to quit due to COVID, we had raised up to $ 2.5 million through this process in parishes. “
Brashears said this year’s target is $ 8.5 million, a more practical benchmark given the conditions. While Brashears said the ability to donate digitally predated COVIDs, it is more important than ever to educate parishioners that parishioners can support the call just by using their cell phones.
“We feel that people want to give. And the more they understand how this money is used and where it is going, the more successful we will be, ”she said. “It is therefore up to us to continually share what these ministries are, what they do and what they mean for the archdiocese and the parishes.
While many parishioners associate the appeal with nonprofit organizations such as Catholic Charities of Baltimore, 40 percent of funds raised will go to individual parishes. Last spring, when churches were closed for months, appeal funds helped keep some parishes afloat.
“Many parishes were able to use the appeal funds as a safety net,” Brashears said.
Meanwhile, the pandemic and its economic fallout have actually increased demand for services supported by the appeal, Brashears said.
The Archdiocesan Office of Hispanic Ministry has rallied around the Hispanic community in Baltimore, which has been disproportionately affected by COVID-19.
The department has created information services such as Spanish helplines to answer questions about how to fight infections and where to get free tests.
“These call funds made a difference during COVID. And we expect the same to continue next year, ”Brashears said.
For more information on the use of funds from the Annual Appeal for Catholic Ministries, click on here.
You can donate to the Annual Appeal for Catholic Ministries by clicking on here. To donate by mail, please make your check payable to Annual Appeal and send it to the Archdiocese of Baltimore, 320 Cathedral Street, 4th Floor, Baltimore, MD 21201
Email Tim Swift at [email protected]
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