More junk mail…this time, a letter from our Bishop asking for money in the annual Bishop’s Appeal.
During this last appeal, my high level of annoyance surprised me. I certainly don’t mind donating money to the church, and I’m old enough to understand that the Catholic Church needs money to keep the lights on and run overseas missions. But every year when the Bishop does his annual appeal, it just bugs me.
This week I finally realized why. It’s Cub Scout popcorn time, and my son and I were walking around so he could sell popcorn to the neighbors. We’re in a large neighborhood, so we don’t know everyone. At one home, the lady asked my son where he lived, and when he said that he lives up the street, she brightened up. “I love supporting my neighbors,” I heard her say.
And then a thought struck me: I couldn’t pick my Bishop out from a lineup of people (apparently it’s this guy). With the exception of the video we have to watch in church and Confirmation, I never see the Bishop. To me, he’s just some guy working at the cathedral. When my priest asks for money, I know him, but the Bishop, not so much.
I’m guessing the Diocese is struggling to gather money, because I get plenty of follow-up letters asking for more. I don’t think this is going to be effective long term, certainly not with the younger generation. The Diocese needs to understand that future generations are growing up donating to people. Websites like GoFundMe derive success from telling a good story that compels people to open their hearts and wallets. In stark contrast, the Bishop’s annual appeal lacks a good story, disrupts a Mass, comes once a year and from a person you don’t really know. Not a formula for success.
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