Fundraising Norms (Canon 1262) for the US Church

June 8, 2007


Canon Law delegates the right to make specific fundraising norms to the Bishops’ Conferences across the world. Here in the United States, the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops promulgated norms for all Church fundraising appeals on June 8, 2007.

Decree of Promulgation

Canon 1262


On November 13, 2002, the members of the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops legitimately approved complementary legislation for the implementation of canon 1262 of the Code of Canon Law for the dioceses of the United States. The action was granted recognitio by the Congregation for Bishops in accord with article 82 of the Apostolic Constitution Pastor Bonus and issued by Decree N. 778/2005 of the Congregation for Bishops signed by His Eminence Giovanni Battista Cardinal Re, Prefect, and His Excellency Most Reverend Francesco Monterisi, Secretary, and dated May 2, 2007.

Wherefore, and in accord with the prescripts of canon 1262, the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops decrees that the following norms shall govern fund-raising appeals to the faithful for Church support:


1.  Fund-raising appeals are to be truthful and forthright, theologically sound, and should strive to motivate the faithful to a greater love of God and neighbor.

2.  Fund-raising efforts are to be for defined needs.

3.  The relationship of trust between donor and fund-raiser requires that

a.  funds collected be used for their intended purposes.

b.  funds collected are not absorbed by excessive fund-raising costs.

4.  Donors are to be informed regarding the use of donated funds and assured that any restrictions on the use of the funds by the donor will be honored.

Competent Ecclesiastical Authority

5.  Institutes of consecrated life and societies of apostolic life require approval of the respective competent major superiors and the diocesan bishop to solicit funds; diocesan entities require approval of the diocesan bishop to solicit funds; other Catholic entities and organizations require the approval of the diocesan bishop to solicit funds.

6.  Approval for fund-raising by the competent authority is to be given in writing with reference to the purpose for which the funds are being raised, the time frame, and the methods to be used in raising them.

7.  Oversight of fund-raising programs is to be maintained by competent authority through periodic review and, where necessary, appropriate sanction.

8.  Competent major superiors of institutes of consecrated life and societies of apostolic life are to submit to the diocesan bishop of the place where the fund-raising originates periodic reports on the fund-raising programs and the apostolic activities they support.


9.  Fund-raisers are to provide regular reports to competent authority on the extent to which promises expressed or implied in the solicitation of funds have been fulfilled.

10.  Fund-raising reports are to be prepared in scope and design to meet the particular concerns of those to whom the reports are due:

a.  the governing body and membership of the fund-raising organization;

b.  the competent authorities who approved and monitor the fund-raising effort;

c.  the donors to the organization;

d.  the beneficiaries of the funds raised.

11.  Annual fund-raising reports are to provide both financial information and a review of the apostolic work for which the funds were raised. They are to set forth, at the least, the amount of money collected, the cost of conducting the fund-raising effort, and the amount and use of the funds disbursed.


12.  Funds beyond operating expenses are not to be accumulated or invested by a fund-raising office, but are to be turned over to the appropriate office for allocation and investment.

13.  Special care is to be taken to see that ethical business relationships are maintained by fund-raisers with suppliers of goods and services.

14.  Contracts between a religious fund-raiser and commercial suppliers and consultants are to insure that control over materials, designs, money and general operations remain in the hands of the religious fund-raiser.

15.  Agreements are not to be made which directly or indirectly base payment either to the commercial firm or to the religious fund-raiser on a percentage basis.


16.  Competent authority is to ensure that fund-raising organizations:

a.  make available fund-raising reports to benefactors on a regular basis or upon reasonable request:

b. provide their governing bodies with an annual financial statement prepared in accordance with generally accepted accounting principles and, where size warrants, by a certified public accountant.

17.  In response to formal complaints, competent authority is to promptly investigate charges, remedy abuses and, when necessary, terminate the fund-raising program.

As President of the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops, I hereby decree that the effective date of this decree for all the dioceses of the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops will be August 15, 2007. Given at the offices of the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops in the city of Washington, the District of Columbia, on the 8th day of June, in the year of our Lord 2007.

Most Reverend William S. Skylstad
Bishop of Spokane
President, USCCB

Reverend Monsignor David J. Malloy
General Secretary, USCCB


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