Catholic Pledges and Second Collections: Planning for Success

Generous donations and pledges not only sustain your parish day-to-day but also support the Catholic ministry at large. Special collections, or “second collections” can be hit or miss, though— especially if your parish lacks a plan or purpose for these funds. If your church is struggling to receive collections, don’t worry. Here are some pointers to help you.

Limitations of Catholic Collections

Many people roll their eyes at second collections in the Catholic church. And on average, Catholic members contribute less to parishes than other religious denominations contribute to their churches. Low Catholic giving is a common stressor today. But why?

There are several reasons for low collections:

  • Lack of stewardship and generosity in the community.
  • Low involvement in the parish.
  • Little guidance on parish giving (parishioners are unaware of the importance of giving or how much to give).
  • Negative opinions toward giving.

All these limitations are rooted in either attitudes or the parish environment. While it’s impossible to change someone’s attitude, it is possible to create a more generous parish environment.

The Purpose of Catholic Second Collections

Typically, the first offering collections go toward funding the everyday operations of the church. This includes utility bills, payroll, reading materials, and more.

Second collections are for Catholic causes beyond the parish. This includes mission outreach, Catholic state organizations, and more. Bishops also use these funds to support monthly special collections for charities and national programs that help Catholic ministries in society.

Examples of second collections recipients:

  • United States Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB)
  • Catholic Campaign for Human Development
  • Collection for Church in Latin America
  • Catholic Relief Services
  • Catholic Home Missions Appeal
  • National Religious Retirement Office

Second collections are integral to Catholic relief around the world. Every chance to give a pledge or donation isn’t just an act of spiritual responsibility, it’s a way to support people of the Catholic faith who may be in need.

The Importance of Catholic Pledges

Pledging is a way for people to commit to giving back to God following Precept 5 in the Catholic Catechism: You shall help to provide for the needs of the Church.

When consistent in this commitment, pledges aid the needs of the parish. Catholic pledges also help the clergy estimate annual funds and plan accordingly.

Pledges are important because they work. Pledge commitments encourage financial and spiritual discipline, allowing parishioners to consistently give in order to meet long-term goals. Those who commit to pledges end up giving more to their parish as a whole and tend to contribute more to second collections as well.

Encourage Catholic Giving: Donations, Pledges, and Special Collections

How do you encourage more generosity among your parish or diocese? Here are some recommendations.

Ignite Mission-Driven Stewardship

Teaching the overall message of religious stewardship helps parishioners reflect on their role in the Catholic faith— both at the local, immediate level and big-picture, eternal level.

No matter what denomination, a church community that embodies the message of generosity and gratitude experiences an overflow of contributions. Encourage your parish to live with faithful stewardship in words and actions.

Be Transparent About Collections

One way to make special collections feel less like a “penny pinching” scheme and more of a Catholic privilege is to be transparent with your congregation about where the funds go. If your parish or diocese is silent about everything related to collections except when asking for collections, change the approach.

To encourage your parishioners to be better stewards, start by being a good example. Share your gratitude. Announce the impact donations are having. Reveal where funds are going, who they’re helping.

Many Catholic churches today share a list of parish-supported second collections organizations online or in bulletins. This is one way to remain transparent while helping your parish feel involved with the greater cause.

Personalize Giving

One complaint parishioners have about Catholic collections is that it feels impersonal. Make giving opportunities meaningful by adding a story, lesson, or face to the cause.

Mission trips and relief fundraisers receive larger amounts of donations precisely because there’s a story and a face that givers can connect with. In this instance, the purpose of giving is tangible; relatable. Think of ways to encourage similar heart-to-heart moments during second collections.

Publish a Collections Schedule

Create a chart that lists the specific causes and organizations the special collections go to each week or month. If you have a giving web page or mobile app, share a donation schedule for online donors to view.

If there isn’t a giving schedule at your church yet, this step requires some planning beforehand.

Set Up an Online Giving Option

Consider including second collections in your parish’s online giving platform. If you don’t have an online giving option yet, setting one up is one of the best ways to increase parish funds. It allows parishioners to give anytime from anywhere, and even select which type of offering to contribute to your church.

Solutions for Catholic Giving and Collections

From daily operations to charity funds, digital solutions improve the collections process for Catholic parishes everywhere.

With ParishSOFT, new online giving features were made specifically for Catholic churches. Whether you want to increase overall donations or create a more generous parish environment, these giving tools put solutions in your hands.

To learn about ParishSOFT’s new Catholic giving program to foster more responsible donations, pledges, and collections, reach out to us today.

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