Joan Harrison and Connie Lunde are pleased with the results of the first archdiocesan Together We Serve campaign.

January 26, 2015

Catholics responded well to the first consolidated charitable appeal in the Edmonton Archdiocese.

More than 80 parishes took part in the Together We Serve appeal, raising $1.721 million. That's $121,000 more than the original goal of $1.6 million.

"It went really well," says director of development Connie Lunde. "We are very, very pleased because, of course, a first year can be a little bit scary. It's hard for people to change something that they are very used to."

Together We Serve replaced nine special collections previously taken in all parishes at various times throughout the year. The appeal began at Easter and ran until the end of December.

Archbishop Richard Smith has said one reason for the joint appeal is to overcome "donor fatigue" which is the result of "multiple asks" for different organizations.


To familiarize people with the new fundraising system, "we sent out lots of information and people responded very, very well," Lunde said. "We are very happy."

Out of 84 parishes that took part in the appeal, 82 per cent met or exceeded their goal.

"A few fell short but we are going to work with them, encouraging them to use our communication plan," Lunde explained. Parishes that used the communication package provided had no problem reaching their goal.

Lunde and campaign coordinator Joan Harrison said they are grateful to the parish coordinators, staff members and pastors "who were all very supportive in leading their parishes through this big change."

"They are the ones who really should be thanked for making this a success," Harrison said. "I'm grateful that parishioners have responded as well as they have."


The money raised will support the Needs of the Canadian Church, the Pope's pastoral works, the Evangelization of Nations, Development and Peace's Share Lent campaign, the needs of the Church in the Holy Land, St. Joseph's College, the Foundation of St. Joseph's College and Newman Theological College, and the St. Joseph Priest Foundation of Edmonton.

"Every one of these charities is receiving 100 per cent of what we promised them right from this very first year," Lunde said. The largest recipient is The Foundation of St. Joseph's Seminary and Newman Theological College at $300,000, followed by Development & Peace at $275,000.


Catholic Social Services' Sign of Hope campaign will become part of Together We Serve this year.

The $1.6 million goal for 2014 was based on the average that people have given to their parishes over the past five years.

About 82 per cent of the parishes went over their target and so the archdiocese will send 60 per cent of the excess back to them, Lunde said. They can use that portion in whatever way they want, from supporting St. Vincent de Paul in their parish to fixing a leaky roof in their church.

Next year parishes will get 75 per cent back of their overage. "In the future we would like them to get 100 per cent (of the overage) back."

The 40 per cent of the overage that the archdiocese kept was used to cover the amount that some parishes didn't make.

The goal for this year's Together We Serve appeal will be $340,000 higher to include Catholic Social Services.

Doing an annual appeal such as Together We Serve is common in dioceses across the U.S. and Canada.

"They do it for various reasons but ours is all charitable money," Lunde observed. "They all say that once you get started you are off and away, and so we are really optimistic."

Letter to the Editor - 02/23/15