Strengthening Parish Sustainability – Annual Giving Program

by Lisa Di Veto

Over the past year, many Anglican parishes in Niagara Diocese have shared their experience of declining revenues and increasing expenses, which often include significant costs to maintain aging facilities. The situation is difficult, as the majority of our parishes rely almost exclusively on donations from parishioners whose numbers are declining.

Parishes wishing to address this situation may begin by developing an effective annual giving program.

We are well positioned for this as we have ongoing, one to one relationships with our donors; many who have experienced important life events such as weddings, baptisms and funerals within the church. Parishioners and their families also share the year’s most meaningful celebrations with their parish family at Easter and Christmas and are present for Sunday services on a regular basis, help with special events and participate in church governance and social committees.

In short, we have an inherent advantage over charities that hope to connect with their supporters through direct mail, telemarketing and occasional events. Our churches are blessed with knowing their donors and their families well. A large number of them have been members for a lifetime. Parishes also have a physical presence in the community, many with beautiful landmark buildings, gardens and cemeteries that are used by local residents.

This is not the case for charities that have little personal contact with community members and seldom have the benefit of serving others for decades or, in some cases, centuries as our parishes have.

Familiarity with their members makes our parishes perfectly suited to initiate or strengthen their donor cultivation and recognition practices. We are well positioned to recognize our donors, express heartfelt thanks for their support and ask them to increase their givings as appropriate.

These first steps, as well as clearly defining the parish’s mission in the community, are vital to strengthening sustainability.

If your parish needs assistance with developing or enhancing its annual giving plan, please don’t hesitate to contact me.

Lisa Di Veto is the Consultant for Stewardship, Legacy Giving and Fund Development for Niagara Diocese.


Lisa will lead a Grant Workshop to help parishes obtain financial assistance, at St. John’s Church, 2464 Dundas Street, Burlington on Wednesday, October 26, 7:00–9:00 p.m. Open to all parish leaders, you will learn how to find and apply for grants from local, provincial and national foundations, as well as government agencies.

Seating is limited, so respond early to ensure your place and to receive a binder of important grant application resources.