We just finished visiting a series of parishes and diocesan organizations in the south and east. I always am enriched by these visits; I'm enriched by the amazing people we have working in parish and diocesan organizations, by visits to beautiful chapels and sanctuaries, and by learning about the steps we are taking to advance our Faith.
As part of our conversations we talked about setting an annual plan for offertory and communications. Part of the discussion inevitably turns to online giving and also to web sites. These are two areas that deserve continued focus to increase our impact to our communities and ultimately the world.
Now is the time to set your plan for your offering envelopes and Online Giving. Make them work together to support your key themes for 2012. (As an aside, we learned recently that terminology is important. One of the dioceses we visited stated that they were emphasizing "direct deposit". It was not clear that OSVs Online Giving capability does include function for direct deposit and makes it easy for both the parishioner and the parish to manage.) You should definitely offer online giving. And keep the envelopes so people can use them at Mass. This is simple, cost effective and keeps change to a minimum.
Another staff person asked how we get younger people to participate. The first place our teens and young adults will look is on the web. They will look for information about the church, and about the faith including answers to questions about the faith. Is your website ready? Take a look at www.sacredheartquincy.org for a great example of a parish website. This site follows the best practices based on research from Villanova University and from the Archdiocese of Boston.
So in 2012, plan to make it easy for parishioners to give to your parish. While you are at it, make it easy for parishioners and others to find you. And step up your efforts to be where people are searching.
What are your plans? Let us know!