Catholic Culture Overview
Catholic Culture Overview

We need prayers, commitments for our Easter Challenge!

By Dr. Jeff Mirus ( bio - articles - email ) | Apr 11, 2022

It hasn’t quite started yet, but we really must get our Easter Challenge Campaign going next week, immediately following the Triduum and Easter Sunday. Last year a group of key donors pledged a combined $50,000 to create this Challenge. This year, challenge funds are lagging. With just a few days to go, our grant size is still under $40,000.

For the last few years I’ve been taking measured steps toward retirement, replacing myself in key areas such as customer service, fundraising, technical oversight, programming and overall management so that the next generation—younger people who are still raising families—can take Trinity Communications and CatholicCulture.org into a future which does not promise to make Catholic renewal any less valuable than it is now. But new staff cost more than I do. I stopped taking a reasonable salary after my children grew up and left home. Aging founders do that sort of thing sometimes; but younger families do not have that luxury.

I turned 74 in February, and I am currently training the last people we need to replace me in the critical areas I can no longer expect to keep up with. While I hope to continue to play a role, and especially continue to write, for some years (as God permits), we need about two more years of modest revenue growth for CatholicCulture.org to no longer depend on my health and energy to keep going. This means we need to push forward this year and next year, as we have over the past three to four years, in order to complete what is an extremely important transition.

Our primary form of fundraising

The income model that has worked best for us has been to concentrate our fundraising primarily into two annual campaigns, one in the Spring and an even larger one in the Fall. These campaigns take the form of “Challenges”. We rely on a group of what we call “key donors” to combine their Spring and Fall commitments to create a Spring Challenge Grant and a Fall Challenge Grant. These donors promise to pay in their pledges if (and only if) the combined Challenge amount in each case is matched by all of our other donors during the period of each of these two campaigns.

In other words, a little over a hundred key donors (some in the Spring, some in the Fall, and some for both campaigns) join forces to create these “challenge grants”, and then over 2,000 other individual donors respond by offering smaller gifts to “meet the challenge”. If and when each challenge is met, the original key donors then pay in their pledges.

That’s how our $50,000 Challenge last Spring contributed $100,000 to our budget, and how our $100,000 Challenge last Fall contributed $200,000. Monthly pledges and other occasional donations throughout the year accounted for the rest of our income in 2021, with final income and expenditures breaking even at $446,000. We need to get to about $500,000 for all of my major duties to be offloaded. (By the way, that is a remarkably low budget for an apostolate as resource-productive, far-reaching and available around the world as CatholicCulture.org. Few if any organizations can match our low cost per person served.)

All of this means that we need a little over 10% more revenue growth this year and next year. And that means we cannot afford to go backwards in our Spring and Fall Campaigns.

Can you become a key donor?

I’m confident that we can meet the goals in larger challenge campaigns if we can find enough “key donors” to create the challenge grants. And a key donor is simply a donor who can pledge $500 or more toward the creation of either our Spring or Fall challenge grant (or both). Right now, we need a few more key donors to launch a successful Spring Campaign. Given its timing this year, of course, this is more specifically an Easter Campaign.

James Majewski, the host and voice actor for Catholic Culture Audiobooks and the co-host of Criteria: The Catholic Film Podcast, took over customer service and fund-raising responsibilities from me last year, and he’s been doing an extraordinarily good job. James is married, with one child up and running and one on the way. He’s an example of the serious Catholic commitment we have in our “younger generation”. And he’s been prospecting for key donors to bring our Easter Challenge to a total of $50,000 or more. With just a few days to go before launch, the total stands at a little under $40,000 now.

Asking favors

So please do me one or more of the following very great favors:

  1. If you have already been asked to be a key donor by making a pledge to create the challenge amount for our Easter Challenge, but you have not yet responded, please reply to James’ email by indicating the amount you can pledge—to be paid in June, if the Easter Challenge is met. Email [email protected].
  2. If you have not been asked but you are in a position to become a key donor by pledging $500 or more to help create our Easter Challenge grant, please send James a note to indicate how much you’d like to commit. Email [email protected].
  3. If you cannot serve as a key donor, please keep an eye on CatholicCulture.org for the announcement of our Easter Challenge, and contribute whatever you can at that time to help us win the grant, whatever its final amount.
  4. Finally, whether you can or cannot serve as a key donor, please say a prayer now, or during the Sacred Triduum, or on Easter itself, for the success of CatholicCulture.org’s 2022 Easter Campaign.

Those who appreciate what we offer at CatholicCulture.org are alike in one key respect: They pray. There are, of course, many things to pray for. But only two are absolutely necessary. We must all pray for the light to know God’s will and the courage to do it. Whatever Our Lord prompts you to do, may you respond generously!

At CatholicCulture.org, we pray regularly also for all who are touched by our Catholic mission, and all who support it so generously. May God bless each one who reads this appeal for just a little more help!

Jeffrey Mirus holds a Ph.D. in intellectual history from Princeton University. A co-founder of Christendom College, he also pioneered Catholic Internet services. He is the founder of Trinity Communications and CatholicCulture.org. See full bio.

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