|At last, a Pope who believes in annual giving...|
Annual gifts managers are celebrating along with the world’s 1 billion Catholics over the selection of Jorge Mario Bergoglio of Buenos Aires as the new Pope.
Pope Francis, a conservative on fundraising matters, has been a strong advocate for annual giving. He has spoken out many times against major gifts, as well as female priests and same-sex marriage.
“The selection of Pope Francis signals a clear shift towards giving on a regular basis as opposed to big gifts once in a while. Annual giving is the clear winner here,” said fundraising expert Carlo Snidelino, author of Popes and their fundraising philosophies.
The Pope’s selection was a surprise to many because of the predominance of major gifts supporters among the rumoured contenders for the position, including Italian Cardinal Angelo Scola and Brazilian Cardinal Odilo Scherer.
“All the money was on a major gifts Pope. That’s what most people expected. The cardinals have all been crazy about capital campaigns with big single gifts. This was totally unexpected,” said Major Gifts Magazine editor Dibble Brewer.
Vatican experts says the resignation of Benedict XVI was a major watershed in fundraising ideology. Benedict was a strong advocate for major giving, taking steps to advocate like-minded priests within the Curia. When he stepped down, many questioned the theological wisdom of asking a small number of donors for increasingly outlandish super-donations.
Pope Francis was rumoured to be the runner-up in the last conclave that selected Benedict. Experts like Snidelino say most people thought that had settled the thorny issue of whether annual giving or major gifts would be ascendant in fundraising theocracy.
“Certainly, this was a surprise,” said Dino Scalapini, the author of the New York Times best-seller, The Annual Giving Diet. “Not many Cardinals or development leaders have had the intellectual fortitude to embrace the true faith about annual giving. I had given up on the Church changing its dogma on fundraising teachings. I was totally floored when they picked Bergoglio.”
When Pope Francis appeared on the balcony of St. Peter's Basilica a number of TV commentators were left speechless, including noted major gifts fundraising Turner Bigpays from ZNN. Bigpays had been predicting a clear major gifts pope.
“I can’t believe it. They went with the guy who still believes in direct mail. What a schmuck,” he was heard to say.
Events fundraisers say they were disappointed that their favourite, Cardinal Peter Erdo, was not selected either.
“We knew that having an events man like Erdo was a longshot, but that’s ok,” said Event Now Magazine editor Tony Banquet. “We share a lot in common with the annual giving people. We both think the major gifts people are stuck up.”