Stewardship & Development

Please reference two reports published by the University of Notre Name Institute for Church Life entitled "Unleashing Catholic Generosity" and "Steps in the Journey to Becoming a More Generous Person". These report explain the Catholic giving gap in the United States.

Using data from a nationally represtative survey of 1,997 US adults in 2010, the first study finds that American Catholics are less likely than the rest of the population to report giving 10 percent or more of their income to good causes. The Report shows that Catholic parishioners, compared with members of other American faiths, currently report a lack of communication regarding the mission and vision of their parish. In comparison to other faith communities, Catholics also report lower levels of involvement in and "ownership" of their parishes.

The report suggests that altering parish cultures is crutial for unleasing Catholic generosity.  

The Second Report finds two decisive factors that promote financial generosity among American Catholics: purposively deciding to give away more money and adopting habitual, systematic practices of giving. American Catholics who made a prior conscious decision to give more money away (at some point in their lives) donated three times as much money to religious and non-religious causes in the previous 12 months as Catholics who said that their financial giving “just happened.” Further, American Catholics who relied on systems or routines in their financial giving gave away two times as much money as those who relied instead on spontaneous or situational giving.

View the reports by clicking on the document's tab to the left.


Stewardship Planning

Do you have a Stewardship plan? It is rare that we can accomplish something really special or great without a plan. No parish would even think of building a new church without a plan. Yet, we somehow think we can build a vibrant parish community without much of a plan at all.


If Stewardship is going to take root and grow in parish communities, we need to develop a plan and follow it. The twelve critical elements of a good and successful stewardship plan are:

  1. Stewardship Committee Formation.  Not only does every parish need a good stewardship committee to carry out the plan, but we also need to make sure committee members are continually being formed into good leaders through stewardship training, reflection and research.
  2. Leadership Involvement. All Parish Council members, parish staff, and organization leaders must understand and support the parish stewardship plan.
  3. Promotion of a Vision.  Stewardship is most successful when the committee is working to fulfill a vision for the future of the parish, that all members of the parish community were involved in determining.
  4. Accountability.  We must be accountable to our parishioners for how the gifts they have already given have made a difference before we can ask them to give more.
  5. Welcoming. If we do not warmly welcome every parishioner, we cannot expect those who feel unwelcomed to commit to any stewardship effort.
  6. Lay Witness Presentations. Research continues to show that parishioners are most inspired to embrace a life of stewardship when they hear fellow parishioners share the witness of their own stewardship journey.
  7. Commitment to Prayer. A good steward must know and follow God’s plan. Yet, we cannot know God’s plan for our lives if we are not in communication with God through regular Mass attendance, the Sacrament of Reconciliation, Eucharistic adoration, spiritual reading and prayer.
  8. Commitment to Participation. We must invite people to participate more fully in the work of our parish by introducing them to our many ministries and asking them to sign up for at least one of those ministries.
  9. Commitment to Generosity. Our Lord taught us, “Ask and you shall receive,” –Luke 11:9  If we are not willing to ask our parishioners to commit to generous giving in our parishes, chances are they will give more generously to another organization or cause that is not afraid to ask.
  10. Appreciation.  Quite simply, no one wants to give us more, if we have not done a good job of thanking them for what they have already given.
  11. Communications. Today parishioners hear an endless barrage of messages telling them they need to acquire more stuff. If they are going to resist these temptations, they need to hear  messages from their parish reaffirming the importance and value of their giving rather than their “acquiring.”
  12. Parish-Wide Education. A good stewardship plan should involve educational outreach to all members of the community, including children in the school and/or RE program, RCIA candidates, couples in marriage prep programs and families in sacramental preparation program.

In addition to ongoing stewardship in the parishes, the Office of Stewardship and Development at the Archdiocese is here to assist Parish Stewardship, Legacy or Capital Committees to develop strong advancement plans. We have educational resources and some of the “best practices” ideas that are being used in parishes all over the United States.