Money follows mission

Mission, not money, should be the primary focus of any Catholic institution that aims for ongoing development and growth.

That theme was repeated throughout the Diocese of Peoria’s Development Conference last Thursday at the Cornerstone Building near downtown Peoria.

John Gibson, diocesan director of development and stewardship, welcomed the largest crowd yet to the annual event. Fifty-seven people came to the first conference in 2006, and 81 came last year, he said. Attendance this year was 130.

“As we continue along the road of a stewardship diocese, let us never forget that as Catholics we are called to the mission of the church,” said Bishop Daniel R. Jenky, CSC, during a noon address to the assembly of pastors and development directors from parishes, schools and diocesan institutions.

“Therefore we must also be ‘mission driven’ in our development activities, since we know money will follow mission,” the bishop said. “Let’s never hesitate to proclaim the Good News as we plan and execute our development activities.”

Placing fundraising efforts in their proper perspective, “we must remember that donors are people, and fellow Catholics in most cases, not objects,” said Bishop Jenky. “We need to build a relationship of mutual trust and respect. The grant seeker and grant maker should work together for the benefit of others and the church’s mission.”

In his conference address, Bishop Jenky emphasized several principles that had been discussed during a morning presentation, “A Practical Guide to Operating a Successful Development Office,” by Calvin Stoney and Jason McNeal.

Stoney is a partner with the consulting firm of Gonser Gerber Tinker Stuhr, LLC, and McNeal is a consultant in the same firm.

“For organizations to be effective, they must have a mission and a vision,” Stoney said as he began his talk.

The danger, he added, is to emphasize fundraising and neglect mission and vision, forgetting that “money is not the end, but just the means to the end.”

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