Successful Grand Annual Practices (Overview)

September 4, 2009

Best Practices, Grand Annuals

Scot Landry and Tim Regele from the Catholic Foundation recently conducted 9 interviews with pastors in the Archdiocese of Boston that run some of the largest and/or fast-growing grand annual campaigns.  We are grateful for the willingness of these 9 pastors to share how they implement their Grand Annual campaigns and explain why they think they have been successful.

Grand Annuals are critical to the funding of the mission of a majority of the parishes in the Archdiocese of Boston.  In most parishes, they are “campaigns” instead of “collections.”  While there are a lot of different approaches, the largest grand annuals in the RCAB (and those that are fastest growing) all involve a letter to all registered households following the release of a parish annual report.

The following 10 practices are recommended by pastors and other fundraising consultants as key to Grand Annual success.

  1. Send a personalized letter to all families.
  2. Personalize the requested gift amount based on their previous support.
  3. Publish an annual report about one month prior to the grand annual.
  4. Send follow-up letters out 1 and 2 months after the campaign launch to parishioners who have yet to give.
  5. State the GA need and goal clearly and show visually how previous grand annuals have improved the parish.
  6. Allow people to pledge and then make multiple payments.
  7. Thanks parishioners immediately and frequently for their grand annual gifts.
  8. Employ the services of a third-party firm to execute the grand annual.
  9. Communicate the parish’s overall goals/priorities and demonstrate aspiration for excellence.
  10. Reinforce the campaign with frequent in-church and bulletin mentions.

Expanding on these 10 practices, there are 2 documents:

Also, on ParishFundraisingBlog.org, we have posted transcripts of each of these pastor interviews.  We recommend you read the transcripts in their entirety to see whether one of these varying approaches will work best for your parish.

We have also provided 2 PDFs below of Grand Annual (and annual report) materials for your reference. 

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