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MinistryPlatform Builds Trust with Donors

At St. Joseph Church in Shawnee, Kan., MinistryPlatform is helping parish leaders to build trust with donors – and giving them more time to do pastoral ministry.

Through a series of conferences on parish evangelization, parish leaders at St. Joseph had discerned a pressing need to focus on financial stewardship as an act of worship and love. Talking about giving is more difficult than ever in an era when people distrust virtually all institutions, including the Church.

Talking about giving is difficult

“There are basic things that most parishes don’t even talk about because they’re afraid to talk about money,” said Annie Clement, Director of Communications at St. Joseph, who had a key role in convincing the pastor to adopt MinistryPlatform. 

“Or they’ll say, ‘We need something, so we need to raise money for it.’ But we’re looking at stewardship as a way of life. How do you instill that, change the hearts and minds of people so that they want to give to a vision and mission rather than to something specific?”

Along with providing scriptural messaging about giving, the parish needed to show parishioners that everything was in the open and their gifts were used to support Catholic ministry. Parish leaders wanted an online database that parishioners could access at any time, on any device, to see their financial information and edit their personal information. That – and a recommendation from the Rebuilt Parish evangelization initiative – led St. Joseph to MinistryPlatform.

“Any parishioner can access their information, edit their information, look at their finances; we’re not hiding it from them.” – Annie Clement, Director of Communications

Every available channel of communication was used to encourage parishioners to log into their section of MinistryPlatform. Notices ran regularly in the parish bulletin. The parish also held a free pancake breakfast to thank parishioners for their faithfulness and generosity during the pandemic – and encourage them to sign up for online giving.

But giving is just the beginning of what the staff expects to do with the software.

Next Steps

The MinistryPlatform database will become part of many other plans over the next few years at St. Joseph. The platform has so many capabilities that church staff members are proceeding slowly to prevent overload.

The best advice Annie received about implementing MinistryPlatform from mentors at Rebuilt Parish was to take baby steps. This means to pick out two or three projects or ministries each year to focus on and make them really great.

The next project is parish Faith Formation.

St. Joseph had been using the same paper sign-up forms for religious education that the great-grandparents of the current students used. It always took many hours to sort the students into classes – which were paid for by check or cash that also needed to be recorded by hand. That is all online now. MinistryPlatform also allows students to check in online. This creates an instant attendance record for the class, as well as each student.

Ministry Platform saves time

“For our accounting office, something that would take somebody eight hours is now taking them one hour to do.”  Annie Clement, Director of Communications

And time is ministry.

After three months, MinistryPlatform is such a time saver that one administrative assistant’s position has been restructured to part-time so she can also work in the family and marriage ministry.

St. Joseph is looking forward to setting up more ministries in the system.

 “There will be better communication, even within our clergy. You’re not spending all that administrative time just to keep track of things.” – Annie Clement, Director of Communications

To learn more about St. Joseph parish, click here.

To learn more about MinistryPlatform, click here.

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