By Jessica Able, Record Staff Writer
In just one month’s time the Catholic Services Appeal has already surpassed the halfway point of its $3.25 million goal.
As of Tuesday afternoon, the total amount of gifts and pledges to the CSA — which supports more than 100 ministries and programs in the Archdiocese of Louisville — was $1,732,552, which represents 53 percent of the campaign.
The 2015 campaign is nearly $250,000 ahead of last year’s total for the same time period, according to Matthew Schuhmann, coordinator of annual giving for the archdiocese’s Office of Mission Advancement.
Fifty of the archdiocese’s 111 parishes have reached 50 percent or more of their goal, he noted. One parish — Emmanual Church in Albany, Ky. — has already completed its goal.
“Last year was the largest appeal ever so we are on pace to have the new largest appeal,” said Schuhmann. He attributes the early success of the campaign to a clear communication strategy developed by CSA leaders and pastors.
“We had a group of pastors help us come up with specific ways to reach individual parishes,” he said. “We wanted to know, ‘What methods work best in your parish?’ ”
Schuhmann also noted that the timing of Pope Francis’ recent trip to the United States benefited the kickoff of the CSA.
He noted a few words Pope Francis shared with the employees of the United Nations: “But today, and everyday, I would ask each of you, whatever your capacity, to care for one another.”
“That’s essentially our message and what CSA dollars do,” he said.
In addition to record amounts being donated in the first weeks of the campaign, donors are also diversifying how they are giving. Schuhmann said many gifts in the past were made through an envelope sent to parishioners’ homes along with a letter from the archbishop. While that’s still true, more and more donations are coming from in-pew donation cards and from the envelopes inserted in The Record, he said.
Even when people are unable to make a gift, some send cards with words of encouragement or the promise of prayers for the CSA, Schuhmann said.
“Getting notes like that lets us know we are really getting the message across,” he said.
Although the CSA is halfway to its goal, Schuhmann cautions against those who may think their donation is not needed.
“We are still only halfway there. Every gift matters and it’s not just about hitting goal,” he said. “Every gift you give supports more people in the community and funds the ministries and services in our church.”
To learn more about the CSA, visit www.archlou.org/CSA.