Frequently Asked Questions about Our Upcoming Capital Campaign
During our recent planning study, several questions about the idea of a capital campaign arose. As we are now going forward with the campaign, over the next several weeks, I will be using this space to address some of the more frequently asked questions.
1. What projects will we address in this campaign?
Based upon feedback received in the planning study, our campaign goals are to reduce or eliminate the parish debt and contribute our assessment to the archdiocesan campaign. Funds received over these goals will be directed toward a building fund for future needs.
2. What are our financial goals?
Success will be recognized at these levels:
- $2.2 million Celebration Goal – At this level, St. Theresa meets its obligation to support the capital campaign for the Archdiocese of Galveston-Houston and eliminates $1 million in debt.
- $3.2 million Challenge Goal – When this goal is achieved, St. Theresa decreases its debt by $2 million
- $5 million Victory Goal – At this milestone, St. Theresa eliminates its debt and establishes a fund for the construction of future campus projects.
3. How does the campaign for the Archdiocese of Galveston-Houston affect our fundraising effort?
As you know, we have a commitment to support the archdiocese and our assessment for that campaign is $1.2 million. This commitment is included in our campaign total, but we will fulfill this obligation first before any funds are applied to our campaign projects.
4. How will funding be applied to reduce our parish debt?
Reducing our debt received the highest support in the planning study. We plan on addressing that by allocating the remaining campaign dollars toward debt until it is eliminated. We look forward to the day when we are debt-free, but please remember the debt is not crippling St. Theresa. The rate on our loan is low and is something we can easily manage.
5. When can I be expected to be asked for a commitment?
We have a lot of work to finish over the coming weeks before we begin fundraising. Our duties during this preparation phase include drafting and printing communication pieces, recruiting leadership and volunteer teams, and training those who will be asking for support. Our appeals will occur in phases with some being asked before others, but please know each family listed as supporters of St. Theresa parish and school will receive a letter from Fr. Manzano asking for support.
6. What about the new building that was in the planning study?
The response in the planning study clearly showed that the first thing we need to do is pay off the debt. That, coupled with the archdiocesan campaign to which we have a commitment, means that we need to put the construction of a new building on hold temporarily.
The truth is we need a building and more space. Space for our children, our parish and our staff. Over the past several years many of our buildings have outlived their lifespan. They are falling apart and the band-aid approach we’ve used to keep them functional is no longer effective. It’s time for us to update and expand our campus with a new structure that will benefit parishioners and students while eliminating the financial drain we face regularly with frequent repairs. We need to take this on as soon as possible, once we eliminate the current debt.
7. How can I help?
We ask that you pray for the success of the campaign. Pray for God to provide direction for our campaign leaders and volunteers. Pray for the courage and willingness to join our effort as a volunteer. Please understand we need your help. Fr. Manzano and a handful of parishioners cannot be expected to carry the weight. Finally, pray for guidance on how you may offer financial support for our campaign. Ask the Lord to assist in defining your sacrificial and meaningful donation. We will need every household to participate in the campaign in some way.
8. How can I participate? Can I pledge over time?
Our campaign offers a wide range of gift opportunities to participate at all levels. You may choose a plan that provides you with flexibility and time to complete the payment of your pledge. Because our needs are urgent, we encourage you to complete your pledge within three years.
9. Is my pledge legally binding? Will it be confidential?
No, a pledge is a gift, one you consider to be meaningful. All we ask is that you do your best and advise us of any financial changes that will impact your pledge. All pledges will be kept as confidential as possible. Only the people responsible for maintaining the records will have access to your pledge.
10. How are pledge requests determined?
We base our gift request amounts on giving history and answers given in the planning study. We ask that you consider a gift above your normal support.
11. Who will be asked to support the campaign?
Every registered household of St. Theresa, along with staff and non-parish school families, will be asked for their consideration of a gift to the campaign.
12. How will our campaign affect parish offertory?
In the short term, offertory giving is expected to remain constant. Through the effort, volunteers will ask parishioners to make pledges above and beyond regular giving. Parishioners are not asked to diminish giving to the parish but, rather, to consider a commitment above their normal tithe. In the long term, similar campaigns have caused increases in parish offertory by raising the sights of parishioners and their commitment to the church.
13. Why emphasize personal visits?
Personal, face-to-face contact remains the single, best way to ask for support. It emphasizes the personal nature of giving, allows for a thorough presentation of the campaign case, gives potential donors the opportunity ask questions and allows volunteers to express their own enthusiasm.
14. Why emphasize pledges?
Pledges allow donors to consider giving more than is possible through one-time gifts. This is important in a campaign of this magnitude.
15. Is a pledge, fulfilled through check or cash payments, the only type of gifts accepted?
While commitments as such are typical to most campaigns, other types of donations, such as gifts of stock, are also options.
16. Can trust and estate gifts be made to the campaign?
Because the needs of the campaign require immediate funding, gifts of cash and securities are generally sought. If a donor offers a planned gift, he or she should be thanked and referred to the campaign office to discuss the options available in making such a gift.
17. To what extent are campaign commitments tax deductible?
Gifts to the campaign are tax deductible to the fullest extent of the law. The application of such laws varies with individual circumstances. Donors with specific questions regarding tax deductibility should contact their attorneys.
18. Can I change my pledge payment time frame?
Yes, all we ask is that you notify the parish business office.
Sincerely yours in Christ,
Father Eurel Manzano