On COVID-19 and CatholicCulture.org: Help needed!
By Dr. Jeff Mirus ( bio - articles - email ) | Nov 20, 2020
CatholicCulture.org’s two-year plan to catch up financially to its expansion into podcasting was dealt a significant blow by the COVID-19 Pandemic. Whether you regard the furor over the Pandemic as exaggerated by the powers that be or not, between the disease and the economic lockdown designed to prevent its spread, there has been a financial impact on CatholicCulture.org—because of the financial impact on those who support our mission.
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We had a barely balanced budget in 2018, though with our typically minimal and part-time salaries, when we began expanding into podcasting. We lost money in 2019 as expected, but continued the expansion with the plan of achieving a balanced budget again by 2021. There has been evidence of an expanding audience due to the impact of our podcasts, which have been produced without diminishing our commitment to written resources. The growth of our registered mailing list has been steady during this period. We now have 50,000 registered users, whereas we were not much over 40,000 two years ago.
But the Pandemic crimped the income of a great many people, while also increasing the general level of financial insecurity. The impact on CatholicCulture.org was immediate. Between March of 2020 and now, our pledge income has dropped by about 23%. Our non-pledged Summer income also dropped roughly 35% compared with 2019.
So far our Fall Campaign is running about the same, but that’s a problem in itself because the Challenge Grant is much larger. At this time last year, we had raised $30,000 toward our goal; this year we have raised $34,000 so far. But last year the target was $65,000, and this year the more critical Pandemic era target is $100,000. In other words, we are way, way behind.
The members of our Boosters group along with other key donors joined forces to establish the $100,000 Challenge Grant we are attempting to win. If other donors contribute $100,000 during our Fall Campaign, the pledges that make up the Challenge Grant will be paid in. In other words, every gift will be matched, and CatholicCulture.org will have made sufficient financial progress this year to continue its operations in 2021.
But last year at this time we had $35,000 left to raise to win our Challenge Grant, and this year we have $66,000 (in round figures), with just 18 days to go, days which include our American Thanksgiving observance—essentially a four to five day period during which family time increases wonderfully…and donations plummet. Of course it has not helped that it has been a Presidential election year in the United States, which always diverts a significant amount of charitable giving toward political purposes.
The phrase “Now is the time for all good men to come to the aid of their party” may not, as many believe, have originated with the American patriot Patrick Henry. But in the late nineteenth century this line and its variant (“…come to the aid of their country”) became a standard drill for teaching people how to type. It probably isn’t used now, so as to avoid the least hint of sexism. But it is never the wrong time for good men and women to come to the aid of their Church, and the Catholic Church needs as many serious members striving for authentic renewal as she can muster.
All around us we see people abusing the Catholic name by drawing from a distorted faith only those ideas useful for supporting the favorite causes of today’s dominant secular culture. There are others who, by way of reaction, abuse the Catholic name through over-simplification of complex problems, misidentification of particular traditions with Tradition, and rash judgments. In other words, the Barque of Peter carries a crew eager to pound holes in her hull, so that all might drown together in a sea of confusion. In the midst of all this, CatholicCulture.org seeks to foster good, seamanlike habits, providing the information and formation needed to live the Faith wisely and confidently, while contributing significantly to authentic renewal for individuals, families and the Church as a whole.
If you believe our Catholic news, commentary, podcasts and spiritual resources—including our inspiring presentation of each day of the liturgical year—have been helpful and should be extended to as many as possible throughout the world, I hope you will make a sacrifice to meet our costs this year, so that we can continue on into 2021. And whether you can make a contribution now or not, I hope you will pray for our Catholic mission, and for the renewal our beloved Church.
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