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Author Topic: $1,000,000 Stewardship Question  (Read 10735 times) Average Rating: 0
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« on: November 18, 2008, 04:41:13 PM »

Does your Church collect $1,000,000 in Stewardship Contributions in a Calendar Year?

Yes or no answers will suffice although explanations are welcome.   Smiley
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« Reply #1 on: November 18, 2008, 05:02:37 PM »

No way.  Our parish has an above-average pledge amount per family compared to the rest of the GOA, but no where close to 1,000,000.  Of course, our parish has 500-ish families, not 1,000+ (like some of the mega-parishes).
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« Reply #2 on: November 18, 2008, 05:03:34 PM »

Does your Church collect $1,000,000 in Stewardship Contributions in a Calendar Year?

Yes or no answers will suffice although explanations are welcome.   Smiley
This is an interesting question.  Why do you want to know?
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« Reply #3 on: November 18, 2008, 05:07:32 PM »

The annual budget is roughly $100,000.
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« Reply #4 on: November 18, 2008, 05:14:04 PM »

Ours is a little under $500,000 but then we only have 50 families.
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« Reply #5 on: November 18, 2008, 05:26:31 PM »

Ours is a little under $500,000 but then we only have 50 families.

Really?  50 families give $500,000?  That's awesome!
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« Reply #6 on: November 18, 2008, 05:34:42 PM »

Ours is a little under $500,000 but then we only have 50 families.

This is amazing.  I would really LOVE to know more about your stewardship drives, if you have them.  If not, how is it that your parish accomplishes this?  I would appreciate knowing what you all do that is so successful.  Our parish has well over 1,000 families, but (not knowing details) I would daresay there are very few who give so generously.  Any tips you could give from experience would be greatly appreciated (we're coming up on our budget and stewardship drive for next year).

Thanks!
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« Reply #7 on: November 18, 2008, 05:36:30 PM »

All donations are completely anonymous and our priest never asks for money, neither does he preach sermons on it.
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« Reply #8 on: November 18, 2008, 05:40:00 PM »

That is awesome. The Lord be praised!
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« Reply #9 on: November 18, 2008, 07:16:33 PM »

Does your Church collect $1,000,000 in Stewardship Contributions in a Calendar Year?

Yes or no answers will suffice although explanations are welcome.   Smiley
Wow. We have about twenty families who make up the core of our parish, and an average Liturgy attendance of about 50 people. We're lucky to get $40,000 per year. We supplement with an annual Greek festival, and we bring in some through the bookstore, mainly candles. Most of our icons and books are sold at cost.
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« Reply #10 on: November 18, 2008, 08:28:12 PM »

I think our annual budget is about 120K.  About 120-150 on an average Sunday. 
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« Reply #11 on: November 19, 2008, 12:56:43 AM »

This is an interesting question.  Why do you want to know?

Thank you to everyone who answered.   Smiley

PtA, here's the background.  In 2008 and for 2009, my Church has set a Stewardship Goal of $1,000,000.

Through 2008, the Church has collected nearly $450,000 in Stewardship.  Since 35% of Stewardship monies arrive in December, the total amount from Stewardship would be around $650-700K which falls short of the goal unless a wealthy parishioner or 2 puts a 6 figure check in the offering tray.

At the recent Parish Assembly, I argued for $800,000 Stewardship given the economic downturn.  Arguments fell on deaf ears and the $1,000,000 goal was overwhelmingly passed for 2009's budget year.  Originally, I argued for $650,000 Stewardship and someone replied that I wanted to "close the doors of the Church."

Community placed a Capital Development Fundraising Plan (goal was $15 Million) on the back burner due to the economic downturn.  Fundraising consultant collected $125,000 in fees, which were to be paid from restricted funds, but were apparently paid from operating funds.  Usual contributions to Archdiocese and other community organizations have not been paid due to shortage of operating funds.

Given the provided background, I wanted to know if other Orthodox Churches collect $1,000,000 in Stewardship because I think such a figure is unreasobable, unattainable and reflects desperation by the Church's leaders who are unable to rein in spending rather than optimism or even Faith in God that better days are ahead.

My Priests have always been like Mark Hanna's Priests in not preaching about money from the Pulpit.  A lot of people have left my Church and return only for funerals, weddings and baptisms.  A perception exists in the Community that wealthy parishioners are keeping the Church afloat which is absolutely false.  Many families have not made contributions in years and continue to attend on a somewhat irregular basis.  In these times of desperation, the Priest may have to preach about money from the Pulpit.
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« Reply #12 on: November 19, 2008, 01:54:19 AM »

Ours is a little under $500,000 but then we only have 50 families.

This is amazing.  I would really LOVE to know more about your stewardship drives, if you have them.  If not, how is it that your parish accomplishes this?  I would appreciate knowing what you all do that is so successful.  Our parish has well over 1,000 families, but (not knowing details) I would daresay there are very few who give so generously.  Any tips you could give from experience would be greatly appreciated (we're coming up on our budget and stewardship drive for next year).

Thanks!
Presbytera Mari

It's the love of Christ.  Our parishoners are moved by the Spirit to give back to God for that which they have received freely.  Our priest, Fr. Athansius Iskander, is dovoted to our spiritual nourishment and sets an example by his unyielding devotion to the church and God's service.  He has been returned many evils for his good deeds and those who know him (really know him) are moved with generosity to ensure this ministry not fade.  Glory be to God forever and ever.  Amen.

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« Reply #13 on: November 19, 2008, 08:04:30 AM »

Community placed a Capital Development Fundraising Plan (goal was $15 Million) on the back burner due to the economic downturn.  Fundraising consultant collected $125,000 in fees, which were to be paid from restricted funds, but were apparently paid from operating funds.  Usual contributions to Archdiocese and other community organizations have not been paid due to shortage of operating funds.
Wow. Why did the community feel that much money for a consultant was justified?
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« Reply #14 on: November 19, 2008, 08:27:56 AM »

This is an interesting question.  Why do you want to know?

Thank you to everyone who answered.   Smiley

PtA, here's the background.  In 2008 and for 2009, my Church has set a Stewardship Goal of $1,000,000.

Through 2008, the Church has collected nearly $450,000 in Stewardship.  Since 35% of Stewardship monies arrive in December, the total amount from Stewardship would be around $650-700K which falls short of the goal unless a wealthy parishioner or 2 puts a 6 figure check in the offering tray.

At the recent Parish Assembly, I argued for $800,000 Stewardship given the economic downturn.  Arguments fell on deaf ears and the $1,000,000 goal was overwhelmingly passed for 2009's budget year.  Originally, I argued for $650,000 Stewardship and someone replied that I wanted to "close the doors of the Church."

Community placed a Capital Development Fundraising Plan (goal was $15 Million) on the back burner due to the economic downturn.  Fundraising consultant collected $125,000 in fees, which were to be paid from restricted funds, but were apparently paid from operating funds.  Usual contributions to Archdiocese and other community organizations have not been paid due to shortage of operating funds.

Given the provided background, I wanted to know if other Orthodox Churches collect $1,000,000 in Stewardship because I think such a figure is unreasobable, unattainable and reflects desperation by the Church's leaders who are unable to rein in spending rather than optimism or even Faith in God that better days are ahead.

My Priests have always been like Mark Hanna's Priests in not preaching about money from the Pulpit.  A lot of people have left my Church and return only for funerals, weddings and baptisms.  A perception exists in the Community that wealthy parishioners are keeping the Church afloat which is absolutely false.  Many families have not made contributions in years and continue to attend on a somewhat irregular basis.  In these times of desperation, the Priest may have to preach about money from the Pulpit.

Hmmm.  Your parish sounds quite large (you don't attend the church in Baltimore, do you?); if this is indeed the case, then the 1 million number should not be out of reach - if all families are paying stewards.  However, the largest Greek parishes in this country suffer from the "old country" effect - i.e. many people don't support the Church, but instead just attend the Church, have their sacraments done there, and send their kids to school.

In the grand scheme of things, a $1,000 average pledge per family isn't really a high goal, when one considers that even for low-income families (under $30,000 combined/year) that isn't 10%; however, many parishes have a hard time coming up with $1,000/family.  It's sad.
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« Reply #15 on: November 19, 2008, 01:37:28 PM »

Hmmm.  Your parish sounds quite large (you don't attend the church in Baltimore, do you?);

Yes, you're on the money there.   Wink

if this is indeed the case, then the 1 million number should not be out of reach - if all families are paying stewards.  However, the largest Greek parishes in this country suffer from the "old country" effect - i.e. many people don't support the Church, but instead just attend the Church, have their sacraments done there, and send their kids to school.

There have also been 18 funerals in the 3 weeks ending on November 17.

I commented that the Orthodox Church is seeing many people entering the door while watching others leave the door.  In Engineering terms, the rate of change of stewards is negative.  Some of the above people attend Churches which are not "fundamental" and are open to all.  With the shortage of Clergy who understood the "old country" effect, I never heard such doom and gloom in the Orthodox Church in my life.   Cry

In the grand scheme of things, a $1,000 average pledge per family isn't really a high goal, when one considers that even for low-income families (under $30,000 combined/year) that isn't 10%; however, many parishes have a hard time coming up with $1,000/family.  It's sad.

$1,000 a year is $83.33 a month and at least every person (except me) has a cell phone, High speed Internet, cable/satellite service which costs that much per month.

I'm almost inclined to think that the Stewardship model, as implemented in the USA, is broken.   Sad
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« Reply #16 on: November 19, 2008, 01:57:33 PM »

I'm almost inclined to think that the Stewardship model, as implemented in the USA, is broken.   Sad

I don't agree on this one; the Stewardship model accounts for all possibilities: the widow who can't afford to give much, and the Industrial Titan who can give the GDP of Zambia.  The only things that a successful Stewardship program depends on are (a) a willingness to give, and (b) a willingness to give according to one's ability.
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« Reply #17 on: November 19, 2008, 02:33:58 PM »

I'm almost inclined to think that the Stewardship model, as implemented in the USA, is broken.   Sad

I don't agree on this one; the Stewardship model accounts for all possibilities: the widow who can't afford to give much, and the Industrial Titan who can give the GDP of Zambia.  The only things that a successful Stewardship program depends on are (a) a willingness to give, and (b) a willingness to give according to one's ability.

Does that thousand include membership fee's?
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« Reply #18 on: November 19, 2008, 02:42:42 PM »

Does that thousand include membership fee's?

In a Stewardship parish, there are no membership fees.  In our parish, you don't have to give any more than you want to, even if that's only $1.  I know of parishes that don't even say that you need to give a dollar; all you have to do is sign the card.
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« Reply #19 on: November 19, 2008, 03:05:02 PM »

Does that thousand include membership fee's?

In a Stewardship parish, there are no membership fees.  In our parish, you don't have to give any more than you want to, even if that's only $1.  I know of parishes that don't even say that you need to give a dollar; all you have to do is sign the card.
Our parish is like that. We don't want anyone to think that they are buying their membership in the Church. Despite this practice, nearly everyone gives, even if it's just a small amount.
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« Reply #20 on: November 19, 2008, 03:13:30 PM »

Does that thousand include membership fee's?

In a Stewardship parish, there are no membership fees.  In our parish, you don't have to give any more than you want to, even if that's only $1.  I know of parishes that don't even say that you need to give a dollar; all you have to do is sign the card.

I think that if all GOA parishes were like yours. More people would step up and give more. Our parish has a menu like the local dinners.  Wink
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« Reply #21 on: November 19, 2008, 03:50:43 PM »

I think that if all GOA parishes were like yours. More people would step up and give more. Our parish has a menu like the local dinners.  Wink

Well, our parish has its own imperfections, too.  But the model is sound - if people buy into the concept of supporting their Church, not only to pay the bills, but so the Church can be a source of charity and life in its local community.
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« Reply #22 on: November 19, 2008, 04:12:46 PM »

Ours is a little under $500,000 but then we only have 50 families.

This is amazing.  I would really LOVE to know more about your stewardship drives, if you have them.  If not, how is it that your parish accomplishes this?  I would appreciate knowing what you all do that is so successful.  Our parish has well over 1,000 families, but (not knowing details) I would daresay there are very few who give so generously.  Any tips you could give from experience would be greatly appreciated (we're coming up on our budget and stewardship drive for next year).

Thanks!
Presbytera Mari

It's the love of Christ.  Our parishoners are moved by the Spirit to give back to God for that which they have received freely.  Our priest, Fr. Athansius Iskander, is dovoted to our spiritual nourishment and sets an example by his unyielding devotion to the church and God's service.  He has been returned many evils for his good deeds and those who know him (really know him) are moved with generosity to ensure this ministry not fade.  Glory be to God forever and ever.  Amen.

Feel free to visit our website and read Fr. Athanasius' many works under "publications":  http://www.stmaryscopticorthodox.ca/index.html

If you want to be on the free mailing list for our publication "Parousia," send me a PM and I'll make sure you get on the list.

God bless

I think it's also cultural... Copts often give a full 10%, many others do not.

I'm curious, in the Coptic church it is taught that 10% is the minimum, and with the freedom of the New Testament we are free to give more than that if possible, and should give as much as we can without neglecting responsibilities (thought not necessarily to the church, charities, those in need etc., are also ok).  We're also supposed to give first fruites (eg first pay cheque for new job, or after raise, etc.).  Is this the common teaching in other jurisdictions, or is the thought more along the lines of the freedom of the New Testament meaning we're free to give less than 10%?
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« Reply #23 on: November 19, 2008, 05:02:07 PM »

I commented that the Orthodox Church is seeing many people entering the door while watching others leave the door.  In Engineering terms, the rate of change of stewards is negative.  Some of the above people attend Churches which are not "fundamental" and are open to all.  With the shortage of Clergy who understood the "old country" effect, I never heard such doom and gloom in the Orthodox Church in my life.   Cry

"Fundamental"?  "Old country effect"?  Could you define some of these terms, please?

I'm almost inclined to think that the Stewardship model, as implemented in the USA, is broken.   Sad

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« Reply #24 on: November 19, 2008, 05:26:37 PM »



I think it's also cultural... Copts often give a full 10%, many others do not.

I'm curious, in the Coptic church it is taught that 10% is the minimum, and with the freedom of the New Testament we are free to give more than that if possible, and should give as much as we can without neglecting responsibilities (thought not necessarily to the church, charities, those in need etc., are also ok).  We're also supposed to give first fruites (eg first pay cheque for new job, or after raise, etc.).  Is this the common teaching in other jurisdictions, or is the thought more along the lines of the freedom of the New Testament meaning we're free to give less than 10%?

It may be, but on the other hand most Coptic congregations aren't as disproportionately generous as ours. 

I think many churches mingle the concepts of tithes, offerings and alms.
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« Reply #25 on: November 19, 2008, 11:00:03 PM »

I commented that the Orthodox Church is seeing many people entering the door while watching others leave the door.  In Engineering terms, the rate of change of stewards is negative.  Some of the above people attend Churches which are not "fundamental" and are open to all.  With the shortage of Clergy who understood the "old country" effect, I never heard such doom and gloom in the Orthodox Church in my life.   Cry

"Fundamental"?  "Old country effect"?  Could you define some of these terms, please?

Defining those terms is not part of the thread although I believe that the term "fundamental" is an euphenism for Protestant Churches and/or Ministries.  "Old Country effect" is related to how Priests, who understood old country immigrant mentalities, could convince parishioners to step up to the plate when the chips were down.  With the converts entering from one door and the cradle exiting from another door (sadly in caskets as well as by choice), the American mentality has taken over.  How do Joel Osteen, Robert Schiller, Joyce Meyer and others have multi million dollar ministries with 20,000+ attendees week in and week out while a 1,000 member Orthodox Church can't raise $1,000,000 to make ends meet?

Tithe.  Tithe, tithe, tithe.

Simple.  Lips Sealed

Convince someone driving a luxury SUV or having a six digit or more income to give 10% of their income to the Church.  If they don't feel like giving, they won't give which is the power of Stewardship.  In fact, Stewardship is really about the left hand not knowing what the right hand is doing.
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« Reply #26 on: November 20, 2008, 07:59:37 AM »

I commented that the Orthodox Church is seeing many people entering the door while watching others leave the door.  In Engineering terms, the rate of change of stewards is negative.  Some of the above people attend Churches which are not "fundamental" and are open to all.  With the shortage of Clergy who understood the "old country" effect, I never heard such doom and gloom in the Orthodox Church in my life.   Cry

"Fundamental"?  "Old country effect"?  Could you define some of these terms, please?

Defining those terms is not part of the thread
Could you have been more rude? If you use terms with which others are unfamiliar, it is your responsibility to define them.

although I believe that the term "fundamental" is an euphenism for Protestant Churches and/or Ministries. 
In which case, none of those churches are "fundamental" as they are all Orthodox. What did you mean by "fundamental"?

"Old Country effect" is related to how Priests, who understood old country immigrant mentalities, could convince parishioners to step up to the plate when the chips were down.  With the converts entering from one door and the cradle exiting from another door (sadly in caskets as well as by choice), the American mentality has taken over.
And what exactly is this singular American mentality of which you speak?

How do Joel Osteen, Robert Schiller, Joyce Meyer and others have multi million dollar ministries with 20,000+ attendees week in and week out while a 1,000 member Orthodox Church can't raise $1,000,000 to make ends meet?
By stealing money from the sick and the old. Something we should be loathe to copy.
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« Reply #27 on: November 21, 2008, 12:11:26 AM »

Could you have been more rude?

I apologize if I came across that way although that wasn't my intent.   angel

If you use terms with which others are unfamiliar, it is your responsibility to define them.

I believe I defined them in the proper context.  The thread is about raising money and those terms were defined in context with raising money.

In which case, none of those churches are "fundamental" as they are all Orthodox. What did you mean by "fundamental"?

Fundamental has its own definitions.  If Joel Osteen and the Orthodox Church both believe in God and Jesus, that is a fundamental tenet held by both entities.

And what exactly is this singular American mentality of which you speak?

You and I were born in America; My parents came from Greece; I don't know where your parents came from and I bet both were born in America.  You and I are also Orthodox Christians; You converted while I'm cradle.  Now, we know that 1st generation Orthodox immigrants established the Orthodox faith we know today and built many of the Orthodox Churches which require large investments in upkeep each year.  2nd generation Orthodox have started leaving Orthodoxy for greener pastures, whatever they may be.  Meanwhile, American born people have found Orthodoxy and converted from other faiths based on what Christ told His Disciples to preach the Gospel to all nations.  However, we're still Americans; I don't call myself Greek-American.  In fact, when I wore a button saying "Proud to be Greek American" as a teen-ager, I was asked to remove it.

How do Joel Osteen, Robert Schiller, Joyce Meyer and others have multi million dollar ministries with 20,000+ attendees week in and week out while a 1,000 member Orthodox Church can't raise $1,000,000 to make ends meet?
By stealing money from the sick and the old. Something we should be loathe to copy.

I agree with you and what is it about Joel Osteen and Joyce Meyer that is so attractive compared to the Orthodox Church?
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« Reply #28 on: November 21, 2008, 07:52:24 AM »

Could you have been more rude?

I apologize if I came across that way although that wasn't my intent.   angel
Apology accepted.

If you use terms with which others are unfamiliar, it is your responsibility to define them.

I believe I defined them in the proper context.  The thread is about raising money and those terms were defined in context with raising money.

In which case, none of those churches are "fundamental" as they are all Orthodox. What did you mean by "fundamental"?

Fundamental has its own definitions.  If Joel Osteen and the Orthodox Church both believe in God and Jesus, that is a fundamental tenet held by both entities.
Nothing has its own definition. All words are spoken with an intended meaning. Where that intended meaning is the same for speaker and hearer, communication takes place. Where the meaning is not the same or is unclear, miscommunication takes place. I'm still not sure what you mean by "fundamental" as I do not perceive the above definition to be adequate within the context of "Some of the above people attend Churches which are not 'fundamental' and are open to all." Within that context, and that context alone, what is the intended meaning of your word "fundamental"?

And what exactly is this singular American mentality of which you speak?

You and I were born in America; My parents came from Greece; I don't know where your parents came from and I bet both were born in America.  You and I are also Orthodox Christians; You converted while I'm cradle.  Now, we know that 1st generation Orthodox immigrants established the Orthodox faith we know today and built many of the Orthodox Churches which require large investments in upkeep each year.  2nd generation Orthodox have started leaving Orthodoxy for greener pastures, whatever they may be.  Meanwhile, American born people have found Orthodoxy and converted from other faiths based on what Christ told His Disciples to preach the Gospel to all nations.  However, we're still Americans; I don't call myself Greek-American.  In fact, when I wore a button saying "Proud to be Greek American" as a teen-ager, I was asked to remove it.
And this scenario produces what singular American mentality?

How do Joel Osteen, Robert Schiller, Joyce Meyer and others have multi million dollar ministries with 20,000+ attendees week in and week out while a 1,000 member Orthodox Church can't raise $1,000,000 to make ends meet?
By stealing money from the sick and the old. Something we should be loathe to copy.

I agree with you and what is it about Joel Osteen and Joyce Meyer that is so attractive compared to the Orthodox Church?
Their message makes people feel good about themselves. Why go to a church where you have to admit you're a sinner and do something to correct it when you can hear about salvation via paying a preacher lots of money?


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« Reply #29 on: November 21, 2008, 10:28:50 AM »



 I don't call myself Greek-American.  In fact, when I wore a button saying "Proud to be Greek American" as a teen-ager, I was asked to remove it.

Who asked you to remove it? And what do you call yourself?



Quote
I agree with you and what is it about Joel Osteen and Joyce Meyer that is so attractive compared to the Orthodox Church?


Just because someone is on TV, doesn't necessarily mean anything. They are the next fad. 5 years from now it will be someone else. The Orthodox Church owns real estate and has a real foundation. With the cornerstone being Christ himself. Once these people are taken off the air, it's by by.
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« Reply #30 on: November 21, 2008, 10:31:09 AM »

Fundraising consultant collected $125,000 in fees, which were to be paid from restricted funds, but were apparently paid from operating funds. 

I work for a fundraising consultant.  Over what period of time where those fees collected?  If it were a 3 year period, that would not be too out of line for a $15M campaign over a 3-5 year pledge period.

It's a shame that the campaign was put on the back burner.  Do you know how much of the $15M was pledged?  To stop a campaign midstream makes it more difficult to jump start it again.

The fact that the fees were paid out of a restricted fund is a no-no, unless the donors were asked before hand if their donations could be used for that purpose, thus changing the reason 'why' the monies were donated to the restricted fund in the first place.  According to the Association for Fundraising Professionals, that is considered unethical use of donated funds.  This will also have a negative impact on the campaign when it is revitalized.



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« Reply #31 on: November 21, 2008, 01:56:19 PM »

Fundraising consultant collected $125,000 in fees, which were to be paid from restricted funds, but were apparently paid from operating funds. 

I work for a fundraising consultant.

I will try not to offend in case you work for the consultant employed by my Church.   Wink

Over what period of time where those fees collected?

Roughly over a 12 month period.  

If it were a 3 year period, that would not be too out of line for a $15M campaign over a 3-5 year pledge period.

The campaign was in the "silent" phase and it was implied that no funds were raised towards the campaign.

It's a shame that the campaign was put on the back burner.  Do you know how much of the $15M was pledged?  To stop a campaign midstream makes it more difficult to jump start it again.

Some things aren't ultimately meant to be.

The fact that the fees were paid out of a restricted fund is a no-no,

Apparently, they weren't paid from restricted funds but from operating funds.

unless the donors were asked before hand if their donations could be used for that purpose, thus changing the reason 'why' the monies were donated to the restricted fund in the first place.  According to the Association for Fundraising Professionals, that is considered unethical use of donated funds.  This will also have a negative impact on the campaign when it is revitalized.

A much smaller campaign is planned - for expansion of the cemetery.
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« Reply #32 on: November 21, 2008, 02:09:19 PM »

I don't call myself Greek-American.  In fact, when I wore a button saying "Proud to be Greek American" as a teen-ager, I was asked to remove it.

Who asked you to remove it? And what do you call yourself?

1.  My family.
2.  An American who is 100% ethnically Greek.

Just because someone is on TV, doesn't necessarily mean anything. They are the next fad. 5 years from now it will be someone else. The Orthodox Church owns real estate and has a real foundation. With the cornerstone being Christ himself. Once these people are taken off the air, it's by by.

Ownership of real estate is the only good thing about Orthodoxy?
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« Reply #33 on: November 21, 2008, 02:22:05 PM »

Apology accepted.

Thank you.   Smiley

Nothing has its own definition. All words are spoken with an intended meaning. Where that intended meaning is the same for speaker and hearer, communication takes place. Where the meaning is not the same or is unclear, miscommunication takes place. I'm still not sure what you mean by "fundamental" as I do not perceive the above definition to be adequate within the context of "Some of the above people attend Churches which are not 'fundamental' and are open to all." Within that context, and that context alone, what is the intended meaning of your word "fundamental"?

Ultimately, what I say may not agree with what you intend for I say that "fundamental" equates to "conservative" and the Orthodox Church has a lot of "conservative" views which some people see as "fundamentalist."  As a consequence, these people attend other Churches where "fundamentalism" doesn't exist because all are welcome.

Unitarian Universalists welcome all and are not "fundamentalist" based on the above definition.

Their message makes people feel good about themselves. Why go to a church where you have to admit you're a sinner and do something to correct it when you can hear about salvation via paying a preacher lots of money?

The Orthodox Church is not designed to make people feel good about themselves and people withhold their donations to the Orthodox Church because they want to hear about salvation without acknowledging the costs, which are discipleship and suffering.

Joel Osteen doesn't promise life everlasting.  There is no praxis in the teachings of Osteen.
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« Reply #34 on: November 21, 2008, 03:44:21 PM »

I don't call myself Greek-American.  In fact, when I wore a button saying "Proud to be Greek American" as a teen-ager, I was asked to remove it.

Who asked you to remove it? And what do you call yourself?

1.  My family.
2.  An American who is 100% ethnically Greek.

So you are an American Greek than?

Just because someone is on TV, doesn't necessarily mean anything. They are the next fad. 5 years from now it will be someone else. The Orthodox Church owns real estate and has a real foundation. With the cornerstone being Christ himself. Once these people are taken off the air, it's by by.

Quote
Ownership of real estate is the only good thing about Orthodoxy?

If that real estate is attached to your nature, than you bet.
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« Reply #35 on: November 21, 2008, 04:13:16 PM »

So you are an American Greek than?

Ta da....

If that real estate is attached to your nature, than you bet.

Having real estate is nice provided that one can afford the upkeep.

An Orthodox Mission Church has been meeting at a Middle School for 7 years.

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« Reply #36 on: November 21, 2008, 06:44:39 PM »

Nothing has its own definition. All words are spoken with an intended meaning. Where that intended meaning is the same for speaker and hearer, communication takes place. Where the meaning is not the same or is unclear, miscommunication takes place. I'm still not sure what you mean by "fundamental" as I do not perceive the above definition to be adequate within the context of "Some of the above people attend Churches which are not 'fundamental' and are open to all." Within that context, and that context alone, what is the intended meaning of your word "fundamental"?

Ultimately, what I say may not agree with what you intend for I say that "fundamental" equates to "conservative" and the Orthodox Church has a lot of "conservative" views which some people see as "fundamentalist."  As a consequence, these people attend other Churches where "fundamentalism" doesn't exist because all are welcome.

Unitarian Universalists welcome all and are not "fundamentalist" based on the above definition.
Thank you for answering the question.

Their message makes people feel good about themselves. Why go to a church where you have to admit you're a sinner and do something to correct it when you can hear about salvation via paying a preacher lots of money?
Joel Osteen doesn't promise life everlasting.  There is no praxis in the teachings of Osteen.
Which is exactly why so many are attracted to him. Osteen allows people to feel like they're doing the right thing without having to actually do the right thing. They don't care what the end result will be, only about their current emotions.
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« Reply #37 on: November 21, 2008, 06:49:28 PM »

Which is exactly why so many are attracted to him. Osteen allows people to feel like they're doing the right thing without having to actually do the right thing. They don't care what the end result will be, only about their current emotions.

Which is why he's basically a motivational speaker with tax-exempt status.
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« Reply #38 on: November 21, 2008, 06:51:03 PM »

with tax-exempt status.
We can change that.
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« Reply #39 on: November 21, 2008, 08:06:08 PM »

Thank you for answering the question.

I ask for your forgiveness.   Smiley

Which is exactly why so many are attracted to him. Osteen allows people to feel like they're doing the right thing without having to actually do the right thing. They don't care what the end result will be, only about their current emotions.

The Orthodox Church has never dealt with adversaries as financially strong and with simplified theology as Osteen, Meyer, Schiller, Dollar, Robertson and other televangelists.  If lapsed Orthodox stewards follow these televangelists and/or attend non-Orthodox Churches or even listen to the Divine Liturgy over the Internet, these people feel that the Orthodox Church is not relevant to their current emotions especially when it comes to money. 

Case in point, my feelings about lowering the Stewardship goal were equated with my wanting to close the Church.  I'm at the point where I don't want to return and I can find another Orthodox Church where I can feel welcomed without the financial squeeze.   Undecided
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« Reply #40 on: November 21, 2008, 08:07:03 PM »

Which is why he's basically a motivational speaker with tax-exempt status.

Some people in my Community would agree with you on your assessment of Osteen.   Wink
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« Reply #41 on: November 21, 2008, 08:20:50 PM »

Thank you for answering the question.

I ask for your forgiveness.   Smiley
May God forgive us all.

Which is exactly why so many are attracted to him. Osteen allows people to feel like they're doing the right thing without having to actually do the right thing. They don't care what the end result will be, only about their current emotions.

The Orthodox Church has never dealt with adversaries as financially strong and with simplified theology as Osteen, Meyer, Schiller, Dollar, Robertson and other televangelists.  If lapsed Orthodox stewards follow these televangelists and/or attend non-Orthodox Churches or even listen to the Divine Liturgy over the Internet, these people feel that the Orthodox Church is not relevant to their current emotions especially when it comes to money. 
Yes, indeed. St. Paul said of those who preach another gospel: "Even if we or an angel from heaven were to preach to you a gospel other than the gospel of Christ which you received, let him be damned" (Gal. 1:8 ). Pretty strong words, but needful words nonetheless.

Case in point, my feelings about lowering the Stewardship goal were equated with my wanting to close the Church.  I'm at the point where I don't want to return and I can find another Orthodox Church where I can feel welcomed without the financial squeeze.   Undecided
I'm sorry to hear you feel that way. Those of us in the world are pressured by worldly affairs on all sides; we should be able to come to church and "lay aside all earthly cares." It's unfortunate when those cares come into the church too.
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« Reply #42 on: November 21, 2008, 08:34:33 PM »

Yes, indeed. St. Paul said of those who preach another gospel: "Even if we or an angel from heaven were to preach to you a gospel other than the gospel of Christ which you received, let him be accursed damned" (Gal. 1:8 ). Pretty strong words, but needful words nonetheless.

I sent Osteen $2 back in 2004 although not because I agreed with his belief system; that was all I had.   Shocked

I'm sorry to hear you feel that way.

Thanks.  I've known my Church my entire life, saving and excepting the 4 years I was in College.  Even when I lived elsewhere, I still considered the Church in Baltimore my "home parish."

Those of us in the world are pressured by worldly affairs on all sides; we should be able to come to church and "lay aside all earthly cares." It's unfortunate when those cares come into the church too.

Unless some fairy Godparent drops a 6 figure Cashier's Check in the Stewardship Tray, I think I'm seeing a worsening spiral especially if they decide to ramp up efforts to solicit parishioners for money.
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« Reply #43 on: November 21, 2008, 10:26:18 PM »

I will try not to offend in case you work for the consultant employed by my Church.   Wink

No worry, it wasn't us.  I'd know you since I'm the one who does the hands on data and analysis of the philanthropic planning studies.  Smiley

Roughly over a 12 month period. 

In that case, the amount you paid is outrageously high I can assure you.  We don't even charge that much for that big a campaign and if the fees were that much it would be over a 3 year period. 

Roughly over a 12 month period.  The campaign was in the "silent" phase and it was implied that no funds were raised towards the campaign.

The silent phase of a campaign can last almost 24 months and is targeted to raise 80% of the campaign goal.  I question whomever implied that no funds were raised.  And if that is in fact true, well that is just the saddest thing I've heard in a long time.  I will not accuse anyone in the consulting firm your church hired of misdoings since I have no proof of anything, but this raises a huge red flag for me.



Apparently, they weren't paid from restricted funds but from operating funds.

Mea culpa, you did write that and I misremembered.  Sorry about that.

I hope the "smaller" campaign for the cemetery goes better.  May I suggest you find a different fundraising consultant or do it on your own?

Lord have mercy and bless your endeavors.
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« Reply #44 on: November 21, 2008, 11:31:46 PM »

No worry, it wasn't us.  I'd know you since I'm the one who does the hands on data and analysis of the philanthropic planning studies.  Smiley

What a relief.  The last things I needed were more issues....   angel

In that case, the amount you paid is outrageously high I can assure you.  We don't even charge that much for that big a campaign and if the fees were that much it would be over a 3 year period.

From my limited understanding of fundraising, I thought 1% was a decent fee for a large campaign.  Had the campaign raised the entire $15 Million, a $150,000 fee would be OK and not to be expected over a short period of time.  From the first appearance of the Capital Campaign, I smelled desperation; However, no one saw the sharp economic downturn - maybe except for the consultant.   Huh

Roughly over a 12 month period.  The campaign was in the "silent" phase and it was implied that no funds were raised towards the campaign.

The silent phase of a campaign can last almost 24 months and is targeted to raise 80% of the campaign goal.  I question whomever implied that no funds were raised.  And if that is in fact true, well that is just the saddest thing I've heard in a long time.  I will not accuse anyone in the consulting firm your church hired of misdoings since I have no proof of anything, but this raises a huge red flag for me.

The "silent" phase lasted 12 months.  If the Church raised millions of dollars, they wouldn't have asked permission to borrow money to meet operating costs.

Mea culpa, you did write that and I misremembered.  Sorry about that.

I hope the "smaller" campaign for the cemetery goes better.  May I suggest you find a different fundraising consultant or do it on your own?

Lord have mercy and bless your endeavors.

Perhaps the Church was able to secure enough donations for the Cemetery, estimated at about $3-4 Million.  The lack of openness by my Community is what bothers me when dealing with large sums of money.  I did briefly meet the Priest who owns the consulting company a few weeks ago....

Thank you for your helpful commentary.   Smiley
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