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Horizon Capital Campaign
Enviromental Design and web
2019

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From its founding in 1997, St. Anthony of Padua has been known as a trailblazing parish. The pioneers leading St. Anthony’s have consistently been at the forefront of evangelization. In just over 22 years, St. Anthony of Padua ballooned from 300 families to 7,500 families — an increase of 2,400 percent! That growth has not slowed down, which means St Anthony’s facilities are at max capacity and are often strained by the many fruitful programs and ministries of the community. They needed a new giving campaign, but the timing was not ideal.




Project Goals




  1. Inviting young families and new leaders to take ownership of the future of the parish through a tone of hopeful invitation, not Catholic guilt.
  2. Completely throwing out the “business as usual” playbook on Catholic capital campaigns and reinventing giving from the ground up.
Up to this point, the majority of contributions typically came from a handful of older donors, and the simple fact was: they were tired and they were hitting retirement age meaning they were in a new season of life financially. They are the people who built the parish into what it is, but for the parish to thrive, it was time to invite new leaders and families to give and forge the path forward. We knew we needed to abandon the well-trodden path of guilt-driven fundraising drives and instead build a campaign driven by hope, inviting every parishioner to join the St. Anthony’s legacy of setting out into the unknown to create a home for every person at every moment.




Crafting Our Compass



We started by writing a campaign “Why” statement to keep our efforts set on true north and to give us a central metaphor that would unify the campaign design and language.


“We invite this generation of pioneers to blaze new trails for our parish so that we can raise up new spaces for encounters with Christ.”


We named the campaign “Horizon,” because the horizon is the distant place towards which the pioneer strikes out, and it is also the meeting place of heaven and earth. We hoped it would resonate with the parish due to their historic language around “the pioneer generation” who built the parish from the ground up. We branded the campaign with symbols and imagery that would reflect the themes of cultivation, growth, and community.



We also built a campaign website that doesn’t just talk about buildings and financial goals, but tells the story of the parish and its legacy, helping visitors to see their place in St. Anthony’s history, present, and future. To that end, instead of featuring architectural designs and listing the costs, we highlighted the specific people the new buildings would serve — the elderly, teenagers, young families, and more — to help give the community a greater clarity on what they are truly investing in when they pledge.



We Journey Together


To set the foundations of the campaign, we worked with the St. Anthony’s leadership team  to create a three-week buildup to the final giving weekend.

Rather than simply trying to prepare people to give money, we focused on celebrating the parish, the incredible work being done by the people of St. Anthony’s, the joy of the community, and the incredible home St. Anthony’s has become for so many people. This began with “Pioneer Mixers”, where people were able to gather, eat, pray, reflect, and laugh with each other. 

The pastoral leadership used the first Sunday Mass to highlight God’s generous love for each of us. The homilies, parish announcements, and weekly congregation-wide email explored this theme. The next Sunday went further, focusing on how each person can respond to God’s generosity by actively participating in their faith and growth.  This all led up to the launch weekend and an epic parish festival that invited parishioners across generations, backgrounds, and ethnicities to generously take their place in St. Anthony’s history, present, and future by being part of the Horizon campaign.

 

The Case Statement





The Results


From after the first campaign launch Mass until 9pm, the courtyard of St. Anthony’s was full. Over the course of the day, five food trucks ran out of food and an emergency call out had to be made to bring in additional catering support. Parishioners of all ages ate, laughed, and lingered together. Friends who were parishioners but had fallen out of contact with each other reconnected. The torch of the new pioneers was lit.

Pledges started flowing in with remarkable passion. One family pledged $100k on Monday night with no personal phone call or outreach. Teary-eyed parishioners pressed checks into the hands of staff members. One young boy went home and emptied his piggy bank, offering his own dearly saved $5.

All of the results aren’t in yet, but based on some early numbers, we’re confident that this campaign is going to be a game-changer — not just for the community of St. Anthony’s, but for the Church at large.  Here is what we’ve seen since the launch date:
  • $5.1 million in pledges 

  • Almost 50% of parish households are giving to some cause in the parish

  • Average pledges increased almost $1500 over previous campaigns


And that is just the beginning. With this campaign, St. Anthony is continuing to blaze new trails and show us all what it looks like to do the impossible. We don’t know exactly where the journey will lead, but one thing is sure: big things are on the horizon for the St. Anthony community.
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