Division A - Public Relations Programs
Category 6 - Internal
Our Catholic Appeal - Diocese of Orlando
John White, Marta Sweeney, Marty Csercsevits

Judges' Award

Research/Situation Analysis: The annual fundraising campaign for the Diocese of Orlando is called “Our Catholic Appeal”. For the 2007 campaign, the project began with a planning and brainstorming session, which included account services, print management and the creative team from the public relations firm “Fresh Communications”, the Diocese of Orlando Communications Director and staff members of the Office of Stewardship and Development.
With knowledge of past Appeal campaigns, Fresh Communications identified some elements to address in the initial brainstorming and development of the campaign. Research showed that in 2005 the goal for fundraising was 8.5 million dollars; in 2006 the goal was 9.2 million.

Objectives: There were three objectives for “Our Catholic Appeal” campaign.
1) Increase the number of parishes where 100% of registered parishioners pledge contributions over the previous year.
2) Raise 10 million dollars to carry out the ministries and operations of the Diocese of Orlando.
3) Communicate with 155,000 registered Catholic in the nine counties of the Diocese of Orlando using direct mail, video, bulletin inserts, posters and our website.

Implementation: A theme was developed using the more than twenty-five year brand of “Based on Love” (because Our Catholic Appeal traditionally falls around St. Valentine’s Day, February 14), in addition to a new concept that incorporated “Faces”. Everything has a face -- people, buildings, situations. And everything has a story. Therefore, every face tells a story.
Our Catholic Appeal showcased faces that were positively affected by stewardship. This concept has a strong human, biographical element and used striking black and white photography and moving language to tell each faces’ story. The photography concentrated on a person and these up close and personal views proved to be highly compelling and motivated the reader or viewer to contribute because a connection was made.
A multi-faceted campaign was produced using the Faces concept previously described. A poster, brochure, DVD and bulletin inserts were distributed to parishes at the Diocese of Orlando’s 80 churches and 10 missions. The brochures and bulletin inserts were distributed at Mass and the DVD was shown in place of a regular Sunday homily. Also, Bishop Thomas Wenski’s homily was available to read or view on the Diocese of Orlando website.

Evaluation: The goal for Our Catholic Appeal in 2007 was to raise $10 million dollars. However, the fundraising campaign was so effective, the goal was exceeded and the total amount raised was over 11 million dollars. “Our Catholic Appeal” brochures were sent to 155,000 registered households in our Diocese. All 90 parishes received a DVD or VHS in English or Spanish and pastors were asked to use one or the other during the Sunday Mass homily. In 2007, 71% of parishes had 100% participation of parishioners, compared to 60% from 2006, which represents an 11% growth year to year.

Budget: The Budget for Our Catholic Appeal campaign was approximately $40,000 to hire PR assistance and pay for copywriting, design and printing services, excluding existing staff time. Also, Joe and Carol Bert served as volunteer chairs of the campaign. They devoted over 50 hours planning, writing letters and attending donor functions.