Although every parish in the Archdiocese of Brisbane is different, here are 10 best practices that might be relevant to you…
1. Pray first, plan second
Pray together first, and take the time to immerse yourself in scriptural reading about stewardship and generosity. Then together assess your parish situation and develop a plan (and put it down on paper) that will allow you to evaluate your efforts regularly.
2. Conduct a Planned Giving Campaign every year
Holding a planned giving campaign every year will help to develop a culture of generosity and support for the parish. Having a brief campaign at the same time each year will allow parishioners to reconsider or renew their commitment and it will also ensure that the planned giving message is not overdone throughout the year.
3. Engage volunteers who have a range of skills for a Campaign
A Planned Giving program is a multi-faceted project which has proven most successful when undertaken by an enthusiastic team. Offering time and sharing talents to the parish is an act of stewardship in itself so this is a great chance to engage others in the parish. Consider parishioners that are able to do data-entry, make phone calls, help conduct the in-pew solicitation, as well as those with professional expertise in photography, graphic design, website creation, or printing.
4. Encourage leadership from young parents
Try to identify and approach new leaders within the parish community who will champion the campaign – consider parishioners that have great people skills, are good role models in the faith, and those that are already steady financial supporters of the parish or who would be open to this commitment.
5. Engage volunteers from diverse backgrounds that represent your parish community
Engage volunteers from within the parish that represent the diversity in age and ethnicity in the community.
6. Use the PACS (Parish and Administration Communication System) database
With the amalgamation of parishes in the Archdiocese fewer priests now serve more parishes. Making use of the PACS database is the most effective way to allow greater communication to parishioners.
Older databases, such as vPDS (visual Parish Database System) are not recommended as they no longer update their software or have staff support to help troubleshoot technological problems.
7. Train more than one parish staff/volunteer in the PACS
Maintaining a database isn’t easy. Having a small team of people who can competently use the PACS database will be a great asset to your parish. And while data entry might sound boring, more often than not you will find that there are many computer-savvy people in your parish who would like experience using data-software – this is an excellent skill to have on your CV.
8. Keep your database up to date
Out-of-date data will cost your parish time and money. Keeping information current ensures that people are not contacted when they have moved to a new place, or passed away. Access to online instructions about maintaining your database are available here for the parishes within the Archdiocese of Brisbane.
9. Ensure the confidentiality of your volunteers
All volunteers working on the parish database must sign a Confidentiality Agreement. Click here Volunteer form.
10. Contact the Catholic Foundation
Catholic Foundation staff are available to meet with you and discuss best practices and give expert advice on how to proceed with a Planned Giving Campaign in your parish. Call 07 3324 3200 for more information.