Diocesan Annual Appeal announces changes to goal calculations
By KATIE LEFEBVRE, Globe staff reporter
The 2014 DAA campaign will kick off the weekend of Sept. 13-14 and parishioners will receive the DAA mailing in their homes the following week. This year’s goal will remain the same at $1.65 million.
“We thought this was a good reflection in that we are all separate parishes, but we make up the ‘Church’ of the Diocese of Sioux City,” said Heather Marreel, assistant director of stewardship and marketing.
She said the goal is always to improve the overall participation rate, which last year was about 43 percent, and the amount raised with this annual appeal.
“We would like to get that up to 45 or 50 percent of all the households in the diocese participating,” said Marreel.
There are different letters sent to parishioners – one to those who have given to DAA before and another to those who have never given before.
“We had 568 first-time donors last year who contributed more than $48,000,” said Marreel.
This year, instead of calculating parish goals by the number of households, the goals will be calculated based on the parish’s ordinary income.
“We found the number of people going to Mass has declined over the years,” said Marreel. “Therefore, calculating the goals based on ordinary income was a better representation for the parishes.”
Diane Donnelly, director of finance, explained the goals and diocesan support for DAA were calculated with the individual parish’s ordinary income using a three-year rolling average.
Ten diocesan priests were invited to be part of a committee to assist with discussing DAA – Msgr. Kevin McCoy, Fathers Roger Linnan, Tom Hart, Brian Hughes, Gary Snyder, Richard Ball, David Hemann, Tim Friedrichsen, David Esquiliano and Paul Kelly.
“It was important to include some of the pastors with this DAA process because they are the ones out there promoting DAA and can explain it better than anyone what the benefits of DAA are and why their own parishioners should support it,” said Kristie Arlt, diocesan director of stewardship and development. “I couldn’t have been happier with the feedback, the thoughtfulness and the consideration this group of retired and active priests gave to this committee.”
Given varying schedules, not all priests were able to be present for all meetings, but diocesan staff (development and finance) were present to provide statistical data as well as to offer suggestions, noted Msgr. McCoy.
“The methodology for setting DAA goals was discussed at length,” he said. “I don’t know that anyone in particular had the original formula dating from the first DAA (then DDP, Diocesan Development Program) for establishing parish goals, but the methodology for solicitation has changed substantially over the years.”
In the early days, Msgr. McCoy said team captains and workers went door-to-door “not unlike a capital campaign process. This produced good results because the solicitation was face-to-face by people known to you.”
When the diocese went to the current method of mail appeal, the priest said it was more cost effective to do postage, printing and everything from one location.
“As the solicitation became ‘centralized,’ there became a greater discrepancy between parish rosters and the official diocesan roster,” said Msgr. McCoy. “Since DAA goals had come to be calculated on the basis the number of households, parishes attempted to avoid listing non-contributing households (to parish offertory).”
The priests looked at the provided reports and looked at what options would be best for all parishes, noted Arlt.
Arlt added the work of the priest committee “isn’t done. We will bring them together a couple times a year because we are always trying to make sure we are running the most effective campaign. We plan on keeping them engaged and asking for their feedback often on DAA.”
Parish ordinary income
Msgr. McCoy pointed out while various formulae were discussed “the bottom line comes back to the fact that even with these more ‘complex’ formulae, any shortfall has to be made up from parish ordinary income.”
“There probably should be a correlation of number of households and a parish’s ability to pay, but that cannot be guaranteed, and as a result the resulting ‘tax or assessment’ stemming from DAA household computation probably placed a greater burden on some parishes’ ordinary income resources than was reasonable,” said Msgr. McCoy. “Hence, if one begins with ordinary income as defined by the committee, then the relevant DAA goal (tax or assessment) comes to be based upon a standard that is applicable across all diocesan entities.”
The parish ordinary income amounts are determined by the Diocesan Parish Accounting Office based on the annual reports the parishes submit each year, noted Donnelly. Julie Mahaney, director of parish accounting, along with the assistance of Linda Topf, perform extensive analytical procedures to assure accurate classifications of revenue and expenses items.
For many years we have been calculating net parish ordinary income for determining cathedraticum, a tax,” she said. “Beginning in the fall, net parish ordinary income will also be used for the DAA goals and diocesan support calculations. However, a three-year rolling average will be used for the appeal rather than a single year.”
“The most significant deduction in the net ordinary income formula is the school expenses including the parish investments in schools,” said Donnelly. “The previous-assigned school support levels have been eliminated.”
There are two separate calculations for the appeal.
“Parish goals are determined by allocating $1,650,000 based on the net parish ordinary income using a three-year rolling average,” Donnelly said. “A second allocation is performed to determine the amount of parish receipts that will be retained for support of diocesan ministries.”
According to the director of finance, this calculation apportions the total diocesan support of $938,000 over the 111 diocesan parishes, again using the net parish ordinary income three-year rolling average.
“The Presbyteral Council adopted the use of phase in parameters, as recommended by the committee to enable a smooth transition and limit the severity of fluctuations from year to year,” said Donnelly. “Depending on the parish’s level of school support, parishes are limited to decreases of 7.5 percent. Furthermore, increases are limited to 7.5 percent if the new formula results in an increase in goal or diocesan support.”
The parishes will continue to receive paybacks for everything above their diocesan support level.
“Ultimately, this just seems to be a more equitable means of assessing support for diocesan offices across the Catholics served within the 24 counties of Northwest Iowa,” said Msgr. McCoy.
Donnelly agreed the new calculation is “much more equitable for all of the parishes. Using the net ordinary parish income, we are following standards that are applicable to all parishes.”
“The DAA committee did an excellent job,” she said. “I strongly support the recommendation they made to the Presbyteral Council.”
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