February 23, 2015

Re: "United appeal for Church charities achieves success" (WCR, Jan. 26).

As a registered and supporting member of the Canadian Catholic Organization for Development and Peace, I have always been and still am a strong advocate of its mission, wonderful work and witness to the cause of social justice.

My Lenten donation will be sent directly to Development and Peace. These are my reasons:

  1. Control of where funds went in the former Share Lent collection was in the hands of the donor. With Together We Serve control is given to the archdiocese.
  2. Seventeen per cent of the Together We Serve budget (2014) was designated to D&P. Under the former Share Lent collection, 100 per cent of the funds collected during Lent went to D&P.
  3. Many of the Lenten 2015 educational and religious materials, specially ordered by the Edmonton parishes, have been emblazoned with the Together We Serve logo. This overshadows the D&P logo and visual presence.
  4. In the mini-magazine, I believe the photo and national voice of Archbishop Durocher should have been respected. D&P is a democratically constituted national organization.
  5. One of the main educational brochures for 2015 eliminates all reference to direct online giving to D&P along with other information specific to D&P. It's all about Together We Serve.
  6. Together We Serve was supposedly instituted to address the problem of "donor fatigue." How does replacing eight parish collection envelopes for specific charities by 12 envelopes for Together We Serve reduce this fatigue?
Wilf Borgstede
St. Albert

Together We Serve responds:

The writer raises some good questions. But supporters of Development & Peace should understand a few facts.

  1. Actually, together we are stronger. Through Together We Serve in 2014, a total of $275,000 was forwarded to Development & Peace, compared with $222,600 through the Share Lent collection in 2013.
  2. In fact, the amount raised in 2014 was also more than each Share Lent collection dating back to 2010.
  3. Since this is a proven successful way to raise money for D&P, why would we not want to highlight the fact that D&P is part of Together We Serve? All materials that have been branded with Together We Serve are specifically for use in parishes.
  4. D&P is free to use unbranded materials for any other fundraising initiatives outside of parishes.
  5. We worked collaboratively with D&P to brand these materials for use in our parishes just as materials are rebranded for the other Canadian dioceses that include D&P in their annual appeals.
  6. Archbishop Smith was invited by D&P to submit a message for their mini-magazine, and he was happy to demonstrate his support for D&P in this way.
  7. Supporters of any member charity, including D&P, are still free to donate separately and directly if they wish.
  8. Not everyone can afford to make a lump sum donation to Together We Serve; that is why monthly donation envelopes are included. But parishioners are only "asked" once a year - and that is during Lent, when we traditionally focus on almsgiving.
Connie Lunde
Director of Development

Letter to the Editor – 03/23/15