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Catholic Voice
July 15, 2013   •   VOL. 51, NO. 13   •   Oakland, CA
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Diocesan fundraising operations reorganized

A new department has been created that is consolidating various Diocese of Oakland fundraising efforts into a single, more coordinated structure.

The expectation is that the diocese and its entities will be able to bring in more revenue at a lower cost and without a confusing overlap of fundraising efforts. The diocese has also been studying the feasibility of conducting a major capital campaign to assist with social service and education programs and address financial issues.

New unit staffs up

Ken Hokenson, executive director for Mission Advancement of the Oakland diocese, announced that Chris Good, executive director of FACE — Family Aid Catholic Education — will become associate director for FACE, which merged into the Office for Mission Advancement on July 1.

Other hires and their positions include Terrye Howze, administrative assistant; Jessica Smith, administrative assistant/coordinator for Program Services; Erik Lehto, associate director, Donor and Prospect Research; Lisa Lee, associate director for Data Management; Silvia Avalos, administrative assistant/coordinator for Donor Relations. Lee and Avalos were already working for the diocese.

The new diocesan department, the Office for Mission Advancement, will bring disparate elements such as second collections, the Annual Bishop's Appeal and Family Aid Catholic Education (FACE) school fundraising, under one umbrella.

"Over the last 24 months, two studies were conducted to assess the fundraising and development activities of the diocese and certain diocesan entities," explained Bishop Michael C. Barber, SJ, bishop of Oakland. "It was determined through these studies and recommended to the Bishop's Administrative Council and then-Bishop Cordelione, that a restructuring and consolidation of such efforts occur.

"The goal of this consolidation was to increase the effectiveness of fundraising/development activities and reduce the cost for the dollars being raised. Though the process was initiated before I became bishop, it was strongly supported by then-Bishop Cordelione, and Archbishop Brunett, the apostolic administrator. I wish to add my support for this restructuring and consolidation of the development efforts."

A new position to lead and coordinate these efforts was approved, and after an extensive national search, Ken Hokenson was named executive director for Mission Advancement effective Jan. 1.

Hokenson brings a solid background in nonprofit fundraising to the diocese. His career has included top fundraising jobs in the archdioceses of Boston and Hartford, the dioceses of Springfield and Providence, at Spring Hill College in Alabama, and United Community & Family Services in Connecticut. Early in his career he worked at the Archdiocese of San Francisco.

During his 10 years in the Archdiocese of Boston, he helped plan, develop and lead a $300 million capital campaign.

Bishop Barber outlined Hokenson's tasks:

• Consolidate fundraising efforts of The Cathedral of Christ the Light, FACE, the Annual Bishop's Appeal, Stewardship, SPRED and others.

• Improve collaboration and coordination of all fund development activities in the diocese, including Catholic Charities of the East Bay Inc. and non-diocesan Catholic colleges and high schools. This will "ensure that all significant gift requests from diocesan and Catholic entities in the diocese are in keeping with the mission of the Diocese of Oakland, and are not competing with one another for financial support from the same corporations, foundations and/or individuals."

• Create a "common calendar" for major fund raising events conducted by diocesan entities to minimize them conflicting when other major fundraising activities are going on to reduce duplicative and competing requests.

• Review the number of second collections being conducted.

• Consolidate various fundraising databases.

Research done last year by the International Catholic Stewardship Council and the firm, Guidance in Giving Inc., indicates the Oakland diocese lags significantly behind comparable dioceses in fund raising and that it was operating with twice as many staff members as needed. The diocese has shed much of its former fundraising staff through attrition.

The Oakland diocese was spending about 26 cents of each dollar raised on development costs; Guidance in Giving estimates it should be spending 15 cents per dollar raised.

While every diocese has unique qualities, Hokenson said, it is possible to compare Oakland to other dioceses and ask: Why?

Interestingly the size and demographics of the Oakland diocese compare favorably with Sacramento and Providence, where Hokenson has worked.

"We as a church and a faith-filled community must do a better job of educating our brothers and sisters in Christ about Stewardship. Stewardship teaches us that all the gifts we have come from God, and that He wishes us to share these gifts with those in need, those seeking a quality Catholic education and those seeking pastoral and spiritual care. By sharing our time, talent and treasure, we can bring Jesus Christ to all our brothers and sisters, uphold human dignity, protect life and renew the wider community," stated Hokenson.

The bishop has made it clear he wants to see more collaboration and "that we're not competing with each other," Hokenson said.

Some organizations will maintain separate operations. "Catholic Charities has its own operation, and it will still have a separate operation, but there will be more collaboration," he said.

Other operations, such as FACE, will merge into the Office for Mission Advancement.

Local schools and parishes will coordinate their efforts to avoid duplication. Any request to major donors — foundations, business or individuals — for more than $50,000 must be approved by the bishop's office.

"It is important that we listen to the concerns of our generous donors, that we improve collaboration and coordination to reduce duplication and the cost of raising funds, and that I or my appropriate designee be aware of such requests for support," wrote Bishop Barber. "This process will aid everyone: our ministries, parishes, programs, schools and our generous donors."

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